The unfortunate truth is...not a lot. And what does bloom requires a bit of preparation that I was not ready for in 2019. The list is short: flowering quince, hellebores, and maybe some witch-hazel. Unfortunately, I don't have any of those this year.
Long story short, when we moved into the farmhouse we weren't sure how the subfloor was. Then we found out that part of the house didn't have a subfloor at all. After we had the floor torn up to get a good look at the support joists, we had a pretty awful surprise. There weren't any joists LEFT.
What has once been our support joists on the West Side of the house had sunk right into the mud and were completely rotted. HECK. So we came up with the money and had a brand new cement foundation poured. I won't get into details, but we were less than thrilled with our experience with the company--mostly because they left our home open to the elements for over two and a half months.
But, with the foundation poured, we could at least move in. My husband and I set about putting down the wood floor on our own, to save some money. We used a tongue-and-groove system for the floor. And it actually turned out beautifully. The only issue was that some of the floor still wasn't level. Nevermind that. All we could do was our best.
Now, we're getting ready for a whole new adventure in the Texas Kitchen. After hearing the story, our handiman and renovation advisor said we should take a peek at the subfloor in there before doing anything else. We didn't find ANY spooky bodies or bones in the first section of the house. Maybe we'll find something in this part!
Here's a video compilation of our process.
I may not have found the best way to dry pansies. But, I may have found the worst way.
One of the biggest issues within seasonal flower farming is the winter dead season. After all the equipment gets pulled, cleaned, and stored around the October-November takedown, there isn't much in the way of income until the first bulb plants appear in late March or April. Some farmers try to force bulbs, or look for other floral products to sell during the winter off-season. But, microgreens are another potential off-season crop.
Part Two of the pansy experiments! We received a comment about drying pansies out before candying them in the previous entry, and had actually considered that in the next parts of the experiment. Most of what you see for the next few entries revolves around that drying process.
I love farming simulators. I mean, really, really love farming simulators. My favorites include the Story of Seasons, Harvest Moon, and Stardew Valley games. Although, the most recent HM games leave everything to be desired--but that's a different story. These games might have piqued my original interest in farming--but there is a lot that they get wrong about the industry.
Edible flowers for decoration and garnish seemed like one way to extend my growing season through winter, and create dry goods for winter sales. I decided to experiment with pansies, since they have a reputation for being nearly impossible to kill--and because they were relatively inexpensive.