You always go full flower!
Hey all! Yay first blog post! A little bit about ourselves -I’m Kelli and hubs is Farmer Clint. We have an orange and white tomcat named Seeley Booth and about an acre and a half in beautiful Madison County Iowa. As of this year we started Cedar Shake Farm (March to be exact), selling seasonal cut flowers and vegetables. We’re just west of Winterset, and conveniently located down the road (kind of) from Pammel Park Coffee.
Before moving to Winterset, we lived in Clive. Everything and everyone were close together. We decided everything was a bit too easy to obtain so we decided to move closer to our parents (and I really think Clint wanted a bigger garden). We bought our 1912 craftsman-style farmhouse in the fall of 2016. In the spring of 2017, we started a small(although still bigger than the garden in Clive) garden plot for ourselves, since Clint loves to garden and I love to eat. One might wonder how we got into the bigger venture of farmer’s markets and *spoiler alert for 2019 * CSAs.
Clint’s mom always had a large garden (he compares it regularly to the size of a football field). He was a typical farm kid; his dad worked him hard on the farm to make sure the cows were fed and crops were planted and harvested on time. The exception was when his mom had homegrown and homemade sugar covered strawberries and Schwan's vanilla ice cream. All work ceased at that point.
My parents have always had a garden as well, though not quite as big as the Eshelman plot. However, the landscaping was always on point. Perennials, annuals, ripples of colors and textures everywhere you looked. This carried through each house we lived in. The majority of our perennial flowerbeds are transplants from my mom’s beds. On top of that, my grandma was a florist for many, many years and even did the flowers at our wedding. I guess you could say it was meant to be as far as the farm goes. Clint and I were set up to have plants.
During 2017, we wandered through the local farmers market in Winterset (after getting donuts from the bakery and coffee from The Cellar) and got the itch to do the same- sell vegetables that is. We already had such an abundance of veggies we were both pawning them off to people who blinked our way. One day at work I think I gave away twenty full-size watermelon. Clint definitely got the bug before I did to sell vegetables at the next year’s market. Good thing he’s a good salesman, because I hopped on board fairly quick.
In Februrary of 2018, Clint started planting Purple Heirloom & Roma Tomatoes, Green and Mini Bell Pepper and Dill’s Atlantic Giant pumpkin seeds and I lost my kitchen table to the seedling trays and grow lights. We expanded the garden in the spring and that's when things really took off. Zinnias were planted among other things, and volunteer sunflowers came up like weeds. The garden came alive with color as spring blossomed.
We signed up for the Madison County Farmer’s Market and jumped headfirst. We soon realized we didn’t prepare enough in the amount of things we had or even with our table setup (no table cloth, no display, one table). Our mothers helped quite a bit in the way moms do. They supplied us with extra produce and flowers and helped out at the stand. We made friends with customers and other vendors alike. By the end of the season we decided next year it was time to go full throttle. This means hours of planning in the months ahead.
By the end of the farmer’s market in mid October, we added a few more plots and bought over 1,200 spring flower bulbs to plant. Over 1,100 tulip bulbs are in the ground, 118 narcissus, multiple garlic, and 125 allium are all in the ground for spring. Now we’re figuring out our 2019 CSAs, planning a greenhouse so my kitchen table can be for eating, high tunnels for flowers, and whatever else we think of next.
We live by the seeds of our plants.