csa pick-up: week 9, september 13th

Your flowers came from Jig-bee and Chicory flower farms this week! It was another great morning of harvesting, despite this past weekend’s stifling hot weather. The darker mornings make it a bit harder to crawl out of bed early, but the coolness makes it worth my while. This week is possibly the first week that no new flowers will be introduced.  So, hopefully you’re starting to remember the names and really recognize some of the same flowers that have been showing up in your bouquet week after week!

In your bouquets this week:

Rudbeckia – IMG_6053.jpg

Scabiosa – IMG_6048.jpgScabiosa has an interesting head of compact clusters in the center with soft papery layers of petals on the outer edges.  Scabiosa makes a really great seed pod too! (as seen above its purple flower) The pods are sometimes sold wholesale and at flower markets by themselves to be used in arrangements. People tend to like having them used in small little things like boutonnieres for weddings.

Basil – IMG_6051.jpg

Zinnia – IMG_6058.jpg I really love the zinnias this week. In particular, some of the ones whose petals have cupped downward to make the entire flower perfectly sweet and round (like the orange one on the left above). Some others that made it into your bouquet this week are just satisfyingly huge.

Cosmos – IMG_6040.jpg

Celosia – IMG_6043.jpg

Amaranthus (“love lies bleeding” variety) – IMG_6045.jpg

Strawflower – IMG_6047.jpg

Ammi – IMG_6055.jpg

Gomphrena – IMG_6056.jpgAnother name for gomphrena is globe amaranth. It’s an annual that does well in a lot of different soil and weather conditions. It’s a great cut flower because the stems (when ready to cut) are fairly stiff and hardy.  The flower head makes for a great dried flower too, since it already has very little water held there to begin with. (hence, it’s crunchy texture)

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The awesome zinnias that made it into your bouquets this week got me thinking about how these were the flowers that brought me into the world of growing flowers, cutting them and bringing them inside.  When I moved to the Germantown neighborhood in Philadelphia in 2010, I quickly discovered a sweet community garden plot right down the hill from my house. I met the manager of the entire garden, who was also my neighbor and I bought a garden plot, with aspirations of growing flowers, not veggies.  (Since my friend Amanda had Germantown Kitchen Garden, a veggie farm business right behind my house, I had a good source for vegetables and didn’t need to do any work growing them myself.)

Once I had my plot, I cleaned everything out that had been leftover from the year before and turned over the already-existing soil in the plot.  The soil was fairly loose and easy to work with. I bought a few different types of flower seed.  I don’t think I wrote down what I bought that year and I’m having trouble remembering what I grew besides zinnias and a red hummingbird salvia. Anyways, I planted the zinnia seeds directly in the ground, covering each one up with a little bit of soil. I was pretty diligent about checking in on them in the beginning stages and keeping them watered. Water and soil are the two main ingredients for growing so I tried to stay on top of the water. After about a week, little baby zinnia plants started popping up and pretty soon, they were thigh-high!

I have really fond memories of walking down to my garden plot once the zinnias started blooming, and cutting from them every week. I loved seeing all their bright colors each week, bringing them inside to share with my roommates, and having them to bring with me when I visited friend’s in other neighborhoods. I ended up only growing zinnias that one year because shortly after that, I decided that I wanted to become a flower farmer and was able to pursue that full time for three years.

I guess I bring this up to re-appreciate the zinnia, as it has fallen farther back on my favorite flowers list as I’ve learned about and grown many more types of flowers. It was a fairly easy flower to start growing and prolific when you continuously cut from it. So if you have a little plot of soil on your patio, a small back yard, or even access to a community garden plot, I would encourage you to buy a packet of seeds (zinnias are a good place to start!) and plant them.  Being a part of the process of growing beautiful flowers (or vegetables) is very satisfying and rewarding. It challenges your problem-solving skills, prompts you to be more aware of daily weather conditions and seasonal changes, and allows you to be part of cultivating and caring for life.

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