It’s Time to Reflect on 2021

Every year as the growing season winds down, I try to collect my thoughts and reflect on the year past. It’s easy to jump into fall chores and let the busy year fade into memory and blur with past seasons. So I encourage you to reflect now, make notes, and use them to improve your business and/or your life.

Over the past seven years as a flower farmer, I have asked myself some very basic questions. These questions and the answers are critical to new and experienced growers alike and should help you plan for next season.

1. What did I/we do well?

2. What surprised me?

3. What were the crop success and failures and why?

4. What are the must grow crops for next year? What do I want to add?

5. Which crops will be dropped?

6. How do I rate my market outlets (financially, cost/benefit, enjoyment, exposure)?

7. Do I want to expand/drop lines of business and/or add new opportunities?

8. Are there farm improvements, techniques, or investments I need to make next season, e.g. farming practices, soil, infrastructure, staff?

9. What do I want/need to learn over the winter and what are the resources available (workshop, online course, books, etc.)?

10. Are there people I need to thank personally for helping me and for supporting our business—customers, workers, volunteers, florists, friends, and family?

11. Am I (and my family) committed to the 2022 season, and, if so, what needs to be done this winter to ensure success?

As farmers, we can only try our best to anticipate, plan, and execute our goals each year. We also need to be flexible and realistic since we are at the mercy of Mother Nature and many other factors out of our control.

For example, on September 27, 2020, my husband had a severe stroke which changed my farming plans significantly in 2021. Taking care of him full-time in addition to farming has been a huge challenge. I had to rely on the kindness and generosity of friends, family, and fellow farmers to have a season at all. So this winter I will be spending a lot of time on item number 10 on this list—thanking so many people for supporting us in innumerable ways. It took a village and for that I am forever grateful. “Keep going, keep growing.”

Susan Rockwood

Arcola Trail Flower FArm

Contact her at [email protected]