Day in the Life - Flower Farming

Day in the Life of a Flower Farmer {Summer 2021}

I decided back in the spring that I wanted to do a Day in the Life post for each season of flower farming, just so you can get a sense of what the work looks like at different times of the year, and also how it changes. I’m currently just starting the super busy season, as I finally have enough flowers not just to fulfill my weekly CSA bouquet subscriptions, but also to start offering weekly (or bi-weekly) arrangements to the general public.

The majority of mornings involve some kind of harvest nowadays, as well as some sort of flower arranging. Pretty much every day involves marketing on social media and taking care of the business side of things, in addition to the regular farm chores of weeding, watering, and planting. We’re basically almost done planting for the season (just a couple really quick bloomers left to put in), and I’ve already sowed all the plants that we’re going to be overwintering, which will be planted in late August.

Something I’ve definitely learned quick is that as a flower farmer, you always have to be thinking several months ahead!

But without further ado, here’s what flower farm life is looking like now, at the end of July:

Note: There are affiliate links to products mentioned below, which means I may get a small commission on any purchases made through those links at no extra cost to you.

28 July 2021

6:30 a.m. I wake up to my alarm going off (Smashing Pumpkins “1979” this time—my alarm is set to play YouTube Music on shuffle), sit up in bed, notice that my daughter had crawled into bed with us at some point in the night (no recollection of this), and then say my morning prayers.

6:45 a.m. After a quick trip to the bathroom (where I check the flower farm’s Instagram and Facebook feeds to make sure there are no messages to respond to), I go to the kitchen and start cleaning the two white 5-gallon buckets I’m going to use for harvesting. Normally I would do this the night before, but I got distracted when I went to do it last night and then never got around to it. After the buckets are washed, I fill them each with about 4-5″ of cold water, grab my favorite cutting snips (I love this pair), put on my harvesting gloves, and then head out to harvest.

7:00 a.m. I always harvest in the same order and direction so that I make sure not to forget anything that might be in bloom and ready to cut. I start over at my next door neighbor’s, where they have so graciously allowed me to use one of the raised garden beds that they weren’t planting this year. I was nervous about how much shade it gets, but because the beginning of our summer was so unusually hot and even more dry than normal, everything in that bed is actually thriving because it had more protection from the heat. I harvest about two-thirds of what is ready, purposely leaving things in the bed that I normally wouldn’t because I know I’m harvesting again tomorrow morning and need to leave enough for 3 bouquets then.

7:30 a.m. My first bucket is full (with snapdragons, stock, basil, mint, and gladioli), so I take it inside and put it up on the kitchen island and grab the second bucket. I head back out to harvest the rest (amaranth, statice, sunflowers, zinnias, and some other random bits and pieces).

8:00 a.m. Harvesting is done, and I take the second bucket inside and have Matt help me carry them both downstairs to one of our basements (yes, we have two basements, and no, they don’t connect to each other) because it’s about 10 degrees cooler down there. (In case you didn’t know, you should leave recently harvested flowers in a cool room to “condition” for at least a few hours before you work with them. This allows them to hydrate, get the field heat off, and perk up if they’ve become wilty.) Then I sit down to eat the scrambled eggs and toast that Matt made for everyone. The older two kids have finished already and are in the playroom, but Hyrum (our youngest) is still eating and now starts whining until I share my toast with him. Cute little mooch.

8:20 a.m. Breakfast finished, I notice that the snapdragons on our kitchen table are looking a little sad, so I take them over to the sink to give them fresh water and re-snip the ends. Then I head into my bedroom to make the bed and start up the computer.

8:30 a.m. I start drafting up this post.

8:40 a.m. Matt comes in to give me goodbye kisses before he leaves for work, and Hyrum has a minor meltdown when he leaves (he’s in a major Daddy’s boy phase at the moment and wants to be wherever Matt is). I send the kids out in the backyard to play, and only minor crying ensues from Mathias (my 3-year-old) because he wanted to watch a t.v. show instead. Once the kids are established outside (riding their bikes on the deck and playing make-believe), I catch up on this post and check my usual websites (bank, email, business pages, etc.). I try to get Hyrum to go out with the older two, but he’s wanting to stay by me.

8:55 a.m. After the shortest outside time ever, the kids want to come back inside, so I send them downstairs to get dressed, and I fold a bit of laundry while I find an outfit to dress Hyrum in. I get him dressed, then go and start a load of laundry through in the washing machine.

9:05 a.m. I go to the bathroom and then start putting on makeup and getting ready for the day. I am interrupted after a few minutes by Mathias, who needs help finding clean underwear and then getting dressed. I have to go and pull out the laundry from the dryer to find him what we need (since we had to do some crisis laundry yesterday to have clean clothes because Matt’s been working on putting in our new kitchen floor and the machine has been unplugged). I get him dressed then go back into the bathroom to finish getting ready.

9:30 a.m. As I come out of the bedroom after getting dressed (in one of the two pairs I have of my favorite overalls, which I wear most days, and which are actually on sale now so I’m tempted to get them in literally every color they offer), I can hear Raven (my oldest) yelling, “Next c.d.! Next c.d.!” We got her a c.d. player for her 6th birthday, and one of her favorite ways to spend her downtime is listening to audiobooks. She’s currently listening to the second Harry Potter, so I put in the next c.d. for her and get it going again. (Note: I usually let her change out the c.d.’s herself if it’s one of her own personal audiobooks, but the Harry Potter c.d.’s are mine and Matt’s and I am VERY attached to them and listen to the series on almost a continuous loop throughout the year while I’m driving in the car, so I’m definitely more protective of those.)

9:35 a.m. I grab a cold Diet Dr. Pepper and sit down to update this post some more, then I respond to some comments on my other blog. I also update the document I’ve made that shows what went into each CSA bouquet (mostly just so I know what’s blooming when for future years).

9:55 a.m. Okay, time to tackle laundry hardcore until I have to start making bouquets! I put on some YouTube videos for motivation and get going.

10:15 a.m. After folding and putting away two loads of laundry, I start pulling out all the supplies necessary to make bouquets: brown kraft paper, scissors, stapler, business stickers, ribbon, and my cutting shears again. I also pull out two identical vases and fill them with water, then I go downstairs to retrieve the buckets of flowers from the basement. The way I do my CSA bouquets at this point (because I don’t have enough of any one color or type of flower to do identical bouquets) is that I first divide the focal flowers and bigger blooms evenly between the vases to make sure it’s as fair as possible. Doing this also allows me to play around with the color palettes I’m going to go with for each bouquet before I actually go in and start making one, because once I do start the actual bouquet-making process, there’s really no turning back unless you want to start all over.

10:45 a.m. The flowers are divided and the filler stems are situated in such a way that they’re all easily accessible, so I start the bouquet-making process by starting with a focal flower (in this case it was a ProCut sunflower in each bouquet), then add in some of the spikes and larger blooms and filler as I rotate the bouquet clockwise in my hand. I keep on adding in all the elements until the bouquet “feels” full enough (about the area you get when you touch your middle finger to your thumb, maybe a little wider). I examine it from all sides to see if it looks fairly evenly spaced at all angles, then I take my pruning shears and cut off the ends so that they’re all roughly the same length. I always seem to forget to bring the bag of rubber bands in with me (I use a size 32), so I have to go into the closet still holding the bouquet to fish out some of those, which I use two of around each bouquet to hold it together. After putting that bouquet in water, I repeat the process with the second bouquet.

11:10 a.m. The kids need to eat lunch, so I pause for a minute to make them peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and get them some glasses of milk with a side of grapes, then I return to the bouquets to wrap them up in the brown kraft paper. Once the wrap is stapled together, I choose a ribbon to wrap around it and then put one of my business stickers on.

11:35 a.m. The bouquets are ready, and I’m noticing that I still have just enough left over to make a mason jar arrangement to post for sale on my farm’s Facebook page. I do have some shorter-stemmed blooms to supplement it with outside, so I grab my snips and head out to harvest some calendula and gomphrena to round out what I’ll need for the arrangement. I come in and try to arrange it, but I’m struggling to make it look how I want it to and I know I need to head out soon, so I decide to just leave it alone for now and come back to it later with fresh eyes.

the two CSA bouquets

11:50 a.m. We need to leave to deliver the two CSA bouquets, so I tell the older two kids to use the bathroom before we leave, and I take Hyrum downstairs to put him in a fresh diaper. Then it’s the mad rush to find shoes and grab stuffed animals for the car before we leave. During this time, I take the bouquets out to the porch to snap some pictures for the farm’s Instagram, and while I’m trying to take a video for an IG story, I hear screaming and crying from inside. Going in, I realize that Mathias is pulling down on the living room curtains trying to get them to move, but he’s about to pull the rod right down, so I frantically yell, “Stop! Stop!” He stops immediately, but then I have to deal with the ramifications of my yelling. I’m not one to yell much, so whenever I do, there always seems to be fallout to deal with after — I have to explain to my daughter (who has started telling me regularly lately how I can improve my parenting skills and how I’m handling things incorrectly) that I’m not being mean and that I was just yelling to get their attention because it was a dangerous situation, and my son is upset because the yelling scared him. I calm everyone down, then get them all into the car and get it started so that the A/C can start working. I then finish up taking some quick pictures of the bouquets sans interruptions, and I give one to Raven to hold for me, and I put the other next to me so I can keep it steady while I drive.

12:10 p.m. We’re finally on our way, and the two deliveries today are actually two towns over, so I turn on the 7th Harry Potter book (which is the one I’ve been listening to for the past several weeks in the car), and we make the 20-minute drive to the first location. After dropping that one off, we then have another 5-minute drive or so to the other house, where I’m invited in for a few minutes to chat and check out some recent painting that had been done.

1:00 p.m. Whenever I’m “in town,” I’ll usually grab a couple $1 drinks from McDonald’s and take one to Matt at work as a little treat, so we do that. (The boys have both been napping in the car for the majority of all this time, btw.) After we drop that off to Matt, we make a quick pit stop at Walmart to grab some milk and bananas.

2:00 p.m. The usual returning-home madness — I have to unload the car, everyone needs to use the bathroom, shoes get left everywhere. Ya know.

2:15 p.m. I realized I haven’t eaten for ages and am starting to feel sick because of it, so I make myself a pb & honey sandwich, pour myself a glass of milk, get a couple snacks for the kids, and we all eat.

2:30 p.m. Raven wants the next Harry Potter c.d. put in and the boys are both happily playing with toys, so I steal onto the computer for awhile to update this blog post.

3:10 p.m. I hear Hyrum crying over something, so I head out of my room to go check on things out there. I help them sort things out, then take a quick bathroom trip.

3:20 p.m. I always get so tired around this time of day — it’s definitely the hour I struggle with the most. Since the kids are still playing fine, I decide to just lie down on my bed while I work on some social media posts of the farm and the bouquets today. I might consider a short power nap on a different day, except for the fact that since Hyrum slept in the car, I don’t even bother to put him down for his regular afternoon nap because I know he won’t take one at this point. Bummer.

3:35 p.m. After the shortest break ever, I’m forced to get up because the kids are also entering their trickiest part of the day, and I can hear the boys fighting over a toy. Once I get up and help everyone calm down, I’m feeling more alert and motivated than I was before, so I decide to tackle the mason jar arrangement again. Having waited so long to look at it has definitely helped—I recognize immediately that it’s not working well because I’m trying to include too many different colors and tones, so I decide to just make two separate arrangements and head down to the basement to get a second mason jar. While I’m down there I take a peek at the seedlings in the grow room, and I make a mental note to myself to come back down later tonight to water everything.

4:00 p.m. I have to go out and harvest a few more things to fit the new color palette, and I’m lucky to have plenty because all the blooms that were too short to use in the CSA bouquets are usually still long enough for me to use in these smaller arrangements. It’s not an ideal time to harvest in the heat of the day, but today’s been overcast and we’ve even got a smattering of rain on and off, so I’m not too worried about it. I take the new material inside, and it’s immediately apparent that this new idea of doing two separate arrangements should go much quicker.

mason jar bouquets near the end of the process, before I went and harvested some final touches

5:15 p.m. The two arrangements are complete, and as Matt is walking in the door, I’m getting ready to take the jars out to photograph them to post them for sale on social media. After I post them to Facebook and study the pictures more, I realize quickly that I’m not quite satisfied with how they look, so I go out yet again to harvest a few final airy elements to add some height. NOW I am finally done, ha ha. I try to edit the Facebook page to replace the old pictures with the new updated ones, but I’m having issues doing it and it’s getting too late in the day to really advertise bouquets anyway, so I delete the post and just plan on putting them up for sale tomorrow morning.

6:00 p.m. While I’ve been doing all that, Matt got himself and the kids some dinner (I wasn’t hungry, having eaten a later lunch), and then he started to work on laying more of our kitchen floor down. (Not-so-fun fact: We haven’t had a kitchen floor since moving to our new house last November. To say I’m excited that we’re finally getting it put down is the understatement of the year.) Normally we have family dinner together, but on days when flower farming stuff is heavy, we often have to adjust.

6:15 p.m. I’m finally starting to feel a little bit hungry, so I make a smoothie (enough for everyone since I know everyone will want some) and a couple pieces of toast.

6:40 p.m. Dinner eaten, I attempt to update this post, but since the kids are hindering Matt’s progress on the floor, I’m forced to take a break to distract them. We all pile onto our master bed to do some laundry together, and then I take advantage of the kids being eager to help and have us all take the folded clothes downstairs to put them away in their drawers.

7:15 p.m. It’s past Hyrum’s bedtime and close to the other kids’ bedtime too, so I get started on bedtime routine while Matt continues to work on the floor. I read 3 books to the kids (they each get to pick one) and then a scripture story. Matt pauses work to help the kids brush their teeth, and then it’s last potty breaks, diaper changes, and into p.j.’s. Family prayers, hugs, and lights out.

7:45 p.m. For the past couple weeks, I’ve been sitting outside the kids’ bedroom door and doing my scripture study on my phone to make sure that they stay in bed (as Mathias used to have a problem constantly getting out, which has now been more or less fixed since I sit outside their door). So I do my scripture study and come back upstairs when I haven’t heard any noises from their room for awhile.

8:10 p.m. I started working on this post again, but I must have been overconfident about the kids as I heard the basement door open and one of them comes up. It ends up being Raven going to the bathroom again, so I follow her downstairs to make sure Mathias is still in bed (he is, surprisingly, but not asleep yet), and I re-tuck in the kids and say good night. I only stay outside the door for a couple minutes until I’m sure they’re going to still be quiet and stay in, then I head back upstairs.

8:30 p.m. The kitchen is a wreck, and I know I need to at least clear up some of it tonight because I have 3 CSA bouquets to work on in the morning. I go to the front yard to dump the water from the harvest buckets onto some of the dry spots on the front lawn, and I run into Matt who is doing the evening watering. Normally he would have spent an hour and a half tonight manually watering everything in the flower farm, but since we got a decent amount of rain over the past couple days, he’s just watering the containers and window boxes in the front that don’t get hit by much precipitation. He asks if I’ll go collect eggs from the chickens and put them in for the night, so I go do that and also do a quick walkabout to check that I’ll have enough blooms to harvest for tomorrow’s bouquets. While I do that, Matt comes back in and resumes work on the floor.

8:55 p.m. Outside duties done, I come back in to update this post.

9:10 p.m. I remember that the seedlings downstairs need to be watered, so I fill up a pitcher and go get that taken care of.

9:20 p.m. Even though I’m tired, I know I need to tackle the kitchen so that I have a workspace in the morning for bouquets, so while Matt continues to lay the kitchen floor at the opposite end from me, I unload the dishwasher, load it again and start it, and wash all the dishes that need to be done by hand. It’s not perfect, but at least I’ll have a spot to work!

9:45 p.m. I officially give myself the rest of the night off and read a little in the Kindle app (The Lazy Genius Way by Kendra Adachi), then go and watch an episode of Big Bang Theory with Matt.

10:20 p.m. Get ready for bed, read a little bit, say prayers with Matt.

11:00 p.m. Lights out!

And there you have it—a fairly typical day in our life right now. If you missed the spring edition, you can find that HERE.

P. S. If gardening, homesteading, and sustainable living are topics that interest you, there’s a fabulous flash sale going on HERE.

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