We're thrilled to announce that we’re extending our garden rose season! Due to many requests we’ve received from our loyal clients, we are in the process of building 3 acres of high tunnels over our rose fields. This means we can continue to grow and harvest roses throughout the winter months, shortening our dormancy period to only 6-8 weeks before our spring bloom!
We’re excited to share this news with you, and are taking comfort in knowing that frost won’t end our season abruptly like last year. We were shocked by a "once-in-a-lifetime” frost that swept through our area on November 1st of last year and devastated our rose fields. We lost over a month of our growing season, which resulted in having to lay off employees and conserve resources in order to manage the financial loss. We feel a deep sense of loyalty to our employees, so we’re very thankful that we'll be able to keep them employed for the entire year. Having to let go of seasonal employees and hope they come back in the spring is something all farmers and seasonal businesses dread. We’ve invested in training our employees to do specific tasks and really love them, so keeping them working all year is very important to us.
You might be wondering how high tunnels work. High tunnels use the sun to heat the area inside the tunnel. They’re a fairly simple structure composed of steel tubing and poly sheeting that covers the area being protected from the elements, however for as simple as they look, high tunnels require a lot of skilled labor to build and maintain daily. It’s going to be tricky to install them over our existing rose fields. Typically, a tractor with an auger attached will very quickly dig holes for the posts, but since our roses are already planted, all the holes will have to be dug by handheld augers - all 800 holes! High tunnels run completely on solar heat, which means no electricity to run ventilation or lighting to mimic summer like a greenhouse, which makes them a sustainable option and we love that! High tunnels in our area get very hot inside, so we will manually vent our tunnels by rolling up the sides. We had a hoop house on our farm several winters ago and the daytime temperature inside the tunnel was 90 degrees when it was 65 degrees outside. At night it kept our roses at a comfortable 50-55 degrees when it was in the low 40’s and even 30’s. We can’t wait to see how our high tunnels protect our roses this winter! Additionally, our high tunnels will provide protection for our roses in the summer heat: we can easily remove the poly sheeting and slip shade cloth on so 100+ degree days don’t fry our roses.
All of this comes at a very steep financial investment. That's the scary part for a farm of our size, but we know our clients will support us in continuing to want our organically grown roses this fall and winter! We've seen our best year ever, and our roses have never been in greater demand, so we take this leap into an extended year with grateful hearts and trust in our community.
Some of the varieties we’ll be growing this winter include Evelyn, The Lady Gardener, Francis Meilland, Princess Charlene of Monaco, Carding Mill, Lichfield Angel, Tranquillity, Bolero, Pure Perfume, Koko Loko, Distant Drums, Munstead Wood, Darcey Bussell and Love Song.
Our tunnels are starting to be erected this week, and we'll be sharing the process over on Instagram, so make sure to tune in! Thank you to everyone who has requested our roses bloom longer throughout the year. This is for you!
P.S. - We might even have roses for Valentine’s Day!