Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming

We returned from our first ASCFG National Conference in Vancouver and of course came back with a renewed sense of purpose in growing flowers and re-energized with new ideas. Our intent at the conference was to be ever so diligent and attend as many sessions as possible.  

We have since surmised that in order to do more meeting and talking with people at the conference we should make all efforts in the future to go on the tours as most members were also ever so diligent in attending sessions.  

Sessions for the most part are not conducive to extensive chatting. As we were filling out our registration, we knew we would be missing out by not attending the tours but didn’t realize that driving to different tour stops gives you time to visit with fellow members and that is an added benefit of the tours. Nonetheless time and finances did not permit attendance of the tours, but we will try to add in tours at our next conference.    
During lunch breaks we headed out to see a bit of Vancouver. We don’t own umbrellas here in Nevada (really), so we did indeed find out they do have a purpose and were happy the ASCFG provided them. Not only was there water from the sky, the land was surrounded by water. Upon crossing a bit of water in a water taxi we discovered Granville Island Market, a hopping place that basically seems like a year-round farmers’ market. Since we grow vegetables and raise animals in addition to our flower growing, we were checking all the places out from the meat markets, produce stands, as well as the flower stands. You just never know where you will find a new idea, and I can’t say as I got any one idea from this market (I may have and just won’t know until a later time); it is just nice to know these kinds of places do exist.

Back at the conference, my mother, Carole Smith, who is the other Smith in Smith & Smith Farms, was busily filling her brain with the talks pertaining to arranging and using new materials. She is the one who generally harvests the flowers and makes all the mixed bouquets we sell.  The bouquets are sold as a part of our 80-member vegetable CSA. Nothing sets off a box of vegetables better than a bouquet of flowers, instant gratification.  I, on the other hand, do most of the growing so I was intent on that aspect of the sessions.
We also both appreciated the trade show, as it seems like ordering gets earlier and earlier each season. Where in the past we tried to have our ordering wrapped up by the first of February, we are now trying to get it done in December. As we grow more and more flowers, we are finding that we have much better success with ordering more transplants than seeds. Our greenhouse for starting plants is quite small and we find the many different varieties of flowers have such different starting requirements that we can’t meet all their needs very well.  But, if we get  well-started transplants, they almost always just take right off when we plant them out. Also, since some of these seeds are so expensive, I don’t like to have germination failure.  
Finally, we finished up the conference with a wonderful (I might go so far as to say as one of the best conference meals I have ever had) meal and shared our table with an East Coast group. We may live in the same country but we live in different worlds! It was great to have a chance to visit with these folks. So the conference indoctrinated us into the ASCFG.

In the next report I will try to focus a bit more on regional news and will begin efforts at developing a regional meeting. I would appreciate anyone contacting me with ideas or news. I am a bit isolated out here in Nevada, not another flower grower around for hundreds of miles. We can make good use of the computers; I have a new laptop computer, so am looking forward to writing my regional reports in the field. During the growing season I do not live in my house as I am sure you all can relate to.  So do email me at [email protected]. Hope your growing season gets off to a good start.

Brenda Smith

Brenda Smith, Smith & Smith Farms P.O. Box 1164 Dayton, NV 89403 (775) 246-0193 fax (775) 246-0194 smithsmithf[email protected]