Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas

Enthusiasm abounds, fresh from the Vancouver Conference! That is one of the main reasons that I go to the conferences; to get pumped up for the next season. Those of you in our region who have never been, you really need to consider adding this in to your yearly budget. It will pay for itself many times over. I never fail to pick up bits and pieces of useful ideas that I can implement on my farm to make my flower growing easier and more profitable (and not to mention ease my aching back!).
    
One thing that I found very interesting was the Dutch population in British Columbia. I had no idea there were so many there. Those Dutch have really got it going on when it comes to flower growing! It was amazing to me that floriculture was the third largest ag industry in BC.
    
I’ve been wanting to share with ya’ll a couple of very good sources that I’ve come across recently. You all know about my soil saga. Well I’ve found another soil/plant testing lab in Texas that does a really wonderful job. Their name is Texas Plant and Soil Lab and their website is www.txplant-soillab.com. They explain that labs use different procedures when testing soils. They use a “natural” method which uses CO2 to extract the nutrients rather than strong chemicals. They also explained to me that the results from their lab would be more reflective of what was actually available to the plant roots. The test I got from A&M did not do this. They will give very detailed results plus very explicit recommendations, which is what I was in dire need of. I’m a UT grad…I should have known better than to go to A&M! (Sorry Aggies!)

Okay, this is a perfect opening for the only Aggie joke I know. Two guys who just graduated from A&M wanted to grow chickens. So they bought 500 chickens and planted them head first. Well after about a week they noticed that they were all dead. So they went and bought another 500 chickens and planted them feet first, figuring that they got it backwards the first time. Again, after a week, all 500 were dead. The guys decided they would have to go back and talk to their Ag professor. After they told him their story the prof said, “Boys, I can’t believe you graduated from A&M! Didn’t I always teach you to take a soil sample first?!”
    
The other tidbit I wanted to pass along was an extremely useful website. It’s www.dirtdoctor.com and it is great! The man who started it is Howard Garrett, who has a radio gardening show in the Dallas area. The website has a fabulous discussion board. I’ve received lots of help there on several different topics. You don’t have to be from Texas either (although that’s always a plus). They are strong believers in the organic approach and will try to convert you if you are not already there. Admittedly, this could possibly be annoying to some.
    
As a result of my queries to both of these places I came away with the conclusion that I really needed to add more organic matter to my soil. I think that in the past I had not focused on this enough for various reasons. I’m adding at least a yard of compost/bed (100′) and 50lbs of cottonseed meal and a soil inoculant (Medina Plus) to really get those microbes churning! Hopefully I will have good results!

I bet you Colorado readers never knew you lived in a Southern state! Well according to the ASCFG you do. So, a big welcome from the Southern region to all you fellow flower growers in Colorado!
    
I hope everyone gets off to a great start this year. Sorry about the joke, I just couldn’t resist! Feel free to email me anytime; I’d be happy to try and help. My email address is [email protected]

Dianne Cousins

Dianne Cousins, Texas Sown & Grown, Inc. 4018 Skinner Lane Richmond, TX 77469 phone (281) 3424185 fax (281) 3425031 [email protected]