News and blog
The first week this month started off very busy with continuing construction with the High Tunnel . This unseasonable weather we are having has helped greatly in the progress moving along with our timetable.
The majority of our seed orders have arrived and working on which varieties and dates ( calender) for sowing.
Valentines Day product ( Red Curly , Purple Heirloom & Japanese Fantail Willows) are being shipped out to Wichita, Kansas and Mid West wholesale florists. Kansas is the furthest west our willows have gone to floral designers to use for the holiday.
We are still making wreaths ( Red Curly and Euonymus ) this month. Illinois Willows will be participating in an event next month and are gearing up with wreaths and fresh cut bunches of willows, dogwood,etc. More on the event to follow.
Later this week , I will be traveling to Raleigh, N.C. to attend a board meeting of the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers. It is our Spring board meeting. This is going to be my first meeting on the board, recently started (January ) as the Mid-West Regional Director.
In January of 2012 , Illinois Willows has started contruction of our first Hoop House ( High Tunnel ). We have chosen a 30' x 72' house. We plan to finish by mid March weather permitting . The first year we plan to grow Celosia, Rosemary, Ageratum, Delphinum , Lisianthus, Ornamental Peppers, Basil to name a few. The first year I will try several varieties to see what produces the best results. It's looking like a definite learning curve this spring.
We are using the Hoop House in a fairly new program with the NRCS, ( Natural Resources Conservation Service ) , its a 3 year program to improve plant health,vigor and production .This program will extend our growing season. What plants and numbers are inside, matching numbers will need to be planted outside for the comparison . The tunnel will provide earlier plantings and a later harvest of flowers than those grown in the field.