Starting my flower farm – Part 2: How did we get here?

In the winter of 2018 the idea of Snobelen Homestead was born with the plan of growing pumpkins, a few summer veggies, and sunflowers. I’ve always loved sunflowers. I mean, that cheery yellow, who doesn’t?!

Our first year, 2018, we grew an impressive number of jack-o-lantern type pumpkins for the number of seeds we planted, some flat white pumpkins, and a couple varieties of sunflowers that left me looking for more! The picture below shows the monster sunflowers that I was SO EXCITED about. It’s funny to look at them now, and see how big they are. But everyone starts somewhere! I mean, even from cutting them and leaving so many leaves on *face palm*, there are things you just don’t know until you try!

In 2019, Blaik was born so time spent on flower production was quite limited, but I did find sunflower varieties meant for cut-flower production- pollenless, single stem beauties. That year we expanded our offering of pumpkins, gourds, squash, and had our first fundraiser porch package offering.

Porch Package pickup day with Chatham-Kent 4H field crop club. September 2019

2020 was my summer at home on maternity leave with two mobile kids. I remember starting to follow flower farmers online that year, and I specifically remember one photo from a grower in PA who grabbed zinnias, dahlias, and sunflowers from her flower rows and bundled for a gift. I thought, that’s it! That’s all I need to get started. So I ordered 75 zinnia seeds, 15 dahlia tubers, and a few hundred sunflowers.

Here I am planting one succession of sunflowers in mid-June 2020.

I was fortunate to have nicely established perennial beds around the farm that I experimented with aswell. Things like coneflower, sedum, hosta, shasta daisy, and ornamental grasses all proved to have great vase life, and made my simple sunflower and zinnia combinations more complete.

2020 was a big learning year! I tried planting many successions of sunflowers, learned about growing on landscape fabric, learned I needed some way to water flowers (especially those dahlia queens), learned many lessons about why things failed, but ultimately learned that this was becoming my PASSION. It’s hard to compare raising flowers to raising kids, but when you focus in and give them lots of love and attention, the rewards are stunning! Not to mention, involving our kids in this Homestead is an amazing thing to watch.

Part 3 of the series, coming next week, will dig into how I scaled production to where I am now! Thanks for being here, friends!