Spring is in the air!  For many of our members, spring is a time to start the business up again – getting the tools out of the shed and heading back into the fields. Looking back at last year’s successes and failures, you’ve spent the winter months deciding what to do differently this year. Maybe you attended local conferences and meetings, corresponded with other ASCFG members, or pored through the catalogs of your favorite suppliers to help decide what to do differently in 2006.  Soon you’ll be going back to the farmers’ market, visiting your retail florists or maybe discussing your wholesaler customers’ needs for the season. Before you know it, you’ll be back into your summer routine again.  A routine that probably goes something like this: plant –  water – weed – pick – sell -plant -water – weed – pick – sell. . . (repeat for about six months, then rest).            

Then there is the group of ASCFG members, (including  myself) for which spring is just a continuation of a growing season that never ends. Some growers are located where the weather allows year-round growing outdoors, while others have extended their growing season with high tunnels or greenhouses, allowing for year-round cut flower production. We have the same decisions to make of what to do differently each year, we just don’t have “down time” in the winter to focus on these issues.  We make these decisions year round, not just in the spring.  Our schedules may change a little in the winter, but we do the plant – water – weed – pick – sell routine continually.                    

The decision of whether to be a seasonal or year-round grower is one  that can’t be made in an instant.  It requires careful consideration of your market,   your resources, your location and your dedication.  It is a decision that may be revisited in the future as your cut flower business evolves.  I’m sure you have heard that “the only constant is change”. This is very true of this type of business.        

It looks like there is a bumper crop of ASCFG Regional Meetings this year.  Make an effort to attend your Regional Meeting, and maybe even in a neighboring region also. You can get a first-hand look at another growing operation and learn what is and isn’t working for others.  You’ll learn something that will help your cut flower business prosper. I’m planning to attend several Regional Meetings and hope to see many fellow growers I have met through the ASCFG.                                                

The San Jose Conference will be here before you know it. You should already have the date, October 26-29 on your calender and be ready to register when the program arrives later this season.  San Jose is beautiful in the fall.  After working all season, or all year like many of us, you’ll be ready for some time away from the farm.   I’ll see you there!