Flower farm | Cuts of Color |Central Texas Gardener

Posted on

>> HAVE YOU EVER MISSED THE PERFECT MOMENTTO PICK A FLOWER? >> THE STAGE YOU WANT TO PICK IT AT IS JUSTA LITTLE BIT OLDER THAN THIS, BUT IT'S NOT SHEDDING.

YOU DON'T WANT TO PICK IT HERE.

SEE HOW IT SHEDS OFF OF HERE?WE PICK LAST WEEK AND WE NEED A BUNCH FOR A WEDDING THIS WEEK.

LET'S SPRAY THIS WITH HAIR SPRAY AND IT WILL STOP IT FROM SHEDDING.

>> RITA KNOWS THE TRICK FOR CUT FLOWERS, STARTING AT GROUND LEVEL.

FROM HER CUTS OF COLOR FARM IN WEIMER TEXAS, SHE AND HER ASSISTANTS BUNDLE UP PACKETS OFJOY FOR WEDDINGS AND EVERY SPECIAL OCCASION.

>> MY GRANDMOTHER WAS A FLOWER PERSON.

I LOVED GROWING FLOWERS, SO I HEAD HECK, I'M GOING TO CHECK THIS OUT.

>> RITA USED TO GROW TOMATOES YEAR ROUND IN GREENHOUSES, STARTED WITH ONE INHERITED FROMHER GRANDPA DOWN THE ROAD.

EVEN THOUGH SHE STILL PROVIDES HERBS FOR RESTAURANTSLIKE THIS ONE IN HOUSTON, SHE SWITCHED CROPS IN 2004.

SHE HAD SEEN THE GROWING DEMAND FOR LOCALLY GROWN FLOWERS THAT ARRIVE AT THEIR DESTINATIONSOON AFTER CUTTING.

>> TAKE, FOR EXAMPLE, A COUPLE OF WEEKS AGOI DID A WEDDING AND ALL OF MY FLOWERS WERE IN THERE WITH SOME ROSES.

GUESS WHAT DIED FIRST? THE ROSES.

THEY ALL WENT PTFF FIRST.

EVERYTHING ELSE WERE BEAUTIFUL.

THE ROSES WERE DEAD.

>> TO FILL HER CUSTOMER'S ORDERS YEAR ROUND,RITA GROWS IN THE GROUSES AND THE FIELDS.

>> WE SEED THEM IN THERE AND WHEN THEY'REABOUT THAT TALL WE START TRANSPLANTING THEM OUT HERE.

A LOT OF PEOPLE DIRECT SEED THEIR SUN FLOWERS AND WE ARE DOING SOME THIS YEAR TOO, BUT NORMALLYWE TRANSPLANT EVERYTHING WE GROW.

WE GROW IT IN THE GREENHOUSE AND THEN WE PUTIT OUT HERE.

THAT'S ONE WAY WE GET A JUMP ON EVERYTHINGTOO.

>> WE'RE SEEN CONSTANTLY.

PROBABLY EVERY MONTH WE DO MAJOR CROPS LIKE THE ZINNIAS AND THE FILLER ITEMS, BUT WE DOSUN FLOWERS EVERY WEEK, LIKE 1500 EVERY WEEK.

AND WE DO BUY IN A LOT OF PLUGS TOO FOR ALOT OF OUR FALL STUFF THAT STARTED IN THE FALL WE GET IN PLUGS.

>> IT'S ALL ABOUT TIMING, ESPECIALLY FOR WARM WEATHER PLANTS THAT GO INTO THE FIELDS ANDSPRING.

BUT OVERNIGHT NATURE CAN THROW A SPIN INTOCAREFULLY LAID PLANS.

>> WITH HE LOST A BED AND A HALF OF ZINNIASTHAT WE THOUGHT WAS OKAY.

WE PUT IT OUT MARCH 10th AND THOUGHT IT WOULDBE OKAY.

I LOOKED AT THE WEATHER FORECAST AND WE WEREN'TSUPPOSED TO GET A FREEZE, BUT WE DID.

>> EVEN THE GREENHOUSES AREN'T IMMUNE.

WHENA TORNADO CAME THROUGH RITA MET THE CHALLENGE THE WAY HER FAMILY ALWAYS HAS.

>> MY GRANDPA WAS A FARMER, MY DAD WAS A FARMER.

MY SON'S A LANDSCAPER.

IT'S IN OUR BLOOD, I GUESS.

BUT YOU HAVE SO MUCH FREEDOM TO DO WHAT YOUWANT TO DO, PLANT WHAT YOU WANT TO PLANT, TELL TO WHO YOU WANT TO SELL TO.

IT'S FREEDOM.

NOBODY IS TELLING YOU WHAT TO DO.

AND YES, THERE'S STRESS, BUT IT'S ONLY THE STRESS I CREATE ON MYSELF WHEN I TRY TO DOTOO MUCH.

>> SHE DOES GET HELP, CURRENTLY FROM CAITLINAND AMY.

SHE'S KNOWN THEIR HUSBANDS SINCE THEY WEREBABIES.

IN LATE APRIL THEY WERE CUTTING FLOWERS FORCENTRAL MARKET ALONG WITH WEDDING FLOWERS FOR RITA'S NIECE BRIDGET, WHO IS IS LIKE HERSECOND DAUGHTER.

RITA PLANTED THE BRIDE'S CHOICE OF COLORSAS SHE WILL DO FOR ANY BRIDE.

BRIDGET HAS WORKED ON THE FARM TOO SINCE SHEWAS OLD ENOUGH TO PUT STICKERS ON TOMATOES.

SOME PLANTS THAT CAN GROW OUTSIDE IN WINTERGET GREENHOUSE PROTECTION TO GET THEM PICTURE PERFECT WITH NETTING TO KEEP THEM STRAIGHT.

>> OTHERWISE THEY GO DOWN ON THE GROUND AND THEN THEY USUALLY CAN'T USE THEM BECAUSE THEYGO CURVY AND THEY'RE REALLY HARD TO WORK INTO BOUQUETS.

>> OTHER PLANTS MOVE OUTSIDE IN SPRING UNDER SHADE PROTECTION.

SUN LOVERS GO TO THE FIELDS.

WHEN THE SOIL HAS WARMED UP RITA ALSO SEEDSSUMMER ANNUALS A THOUSAND AT A TIME.

SHE RIGGED UP A WAY TO SAVE HER BACK.

>> PRETEND THIS ROW IS EMPTY, BUT I PUT THE PIKE DOWN ON THE GROUND AND I DROP THE SEEDIN AND IT LAYS ON TOP OF THE GROUND AND I DO ALL THE SEEDS OUT FIRST ON ONE ROW ANDTHEN I COME BACK AND I JUST TAKE THIS EMPTY BROOM HANDLE STICK AND I BARELY PUNCH IT INTHE GROUND AND COVER IT UP A LITTLE BIT.

>> RITA COMPANION PLANTS FOR BOUQUETS IN EVERYSEASON.

>> THESE ARE EARLY TIER DAFFODILS.

WE PLANTED THESE LIKE THREE YEARS AGO AND WE HARVEST OFF OF THEM IN FEBRUARY, MARCH.

THEN WE LET THEM DIE BACK.

AND WE GO AHEAD AND WAIT UNTIL THEY'RE DONE,BROWNED OUT, AND WE MOW THEM OVER AND I MULCH THE BED AND I COME BACK AND PLANT CELOSIAPLANTS ON TOP OF THEM.

AND WE GROW CELOSIA UNTIL THE WINTERTIME UNTILIT FREEZES AND THEN WE PULL OFF THE CELOSIA, CLEAN IT UP AND THEN THE EARLY ONES COME BACKAND WE HAVE ANOTHER CROP.

>> WE GROW LILIES, ABOUT 25 TO A CRATE.

AND WE START PICKING THEM WHEN THEY GET TO BE LIKE THIS, WHEN THESE TWO OF THE BUDS ARECOLORED UP, WE GO AHEAD AND CUT LILIES OFF.

AND WHEN THE BULB IS DONE GROWING WE TURNAROUND AND WE GO AHEAD AND PLANT SALAD GREENS ON TOP OF THEM AND WE START HARVESTING THEMUNTIL LIKE NOW.

BECAUSE NOW THE LILIES ARE STARTING TO COMEBACK FROM YEAR AND WE'LL STOP THE HARVESTING OF THE GREENS AND LET THEM GROW BACK.

>> PATRONS AT HOUSTON RESTAURANTS TUCK INTO HER FRESHLY GROWN FOOD EVERY WEEK.

DILL AND FENNEL WORK FOR RECIPES AND FILLERS.

ANOTHER EASY GROWER IS THIS ONE.

ARTICHOKE LEAVES MAKE DRAMATIC FILLERS STATIS IS A TRADITIONAL FAVORITE.

>> THESE ARE TABLE SCAPES WE'RE GOING TO A LITTLE WEDDING AND WE'RE DOING THEM IN GALVANIZEDTINS AND THEY HAVE DRAINAGE AT THE BOTTOM AND SO DO THE BOXES THAT ARE MADE OUT OF REALLYOLD WOOD FROM HOUSES.

>> SHE KEEPS YOUR TABLE CLOTH IN MIND.

>> YOU CAN TELL HOW HOLD A SUNFLOWER IS BY THE RINGS OF POLLEN INSIDE.

THIS ONE HERE HAS HARDLY ANY FLORETS OF POLLEN HAVE OPENED UP, WHEREAS THIS ONE HERE THERE'SSEVERAL AROUND THAT LITTLE CIRCLE.

>> WE CUT INTO VERY CLEAN BUCKETS.

WE WASH THEM ALL WITH CHLORINE.

WE CUT INTO FRESHWATER.

>> WHAT'S HER ADVICE FOR CUSTOMERS ONCE THEY GET THEM HOME?>> ANY VASE YOU PUT YOUR FLOWERS IN HAS TO BE VERY, VERY CLEAN.

YOU PUT FLOWERS IN A DIRTY VASE AND YOU'RE KILLING THEM.

I ALWAYS TELL THEM TO RECUT THEM JUST A LITTLE BIT AND I GIVE THEM A PACKET OF FLOWER FOODAND I TELL THEM NOT TO USE IT ALL USE IT ALLAT ONE TIME.

I SAY HALF AND THEN IN THREE ON ARE FOUR DAYSRECLIP AND PUT THEM BACK IN WITH FRESHWATER.

AND THE PEOPLE WHO DO THAT THE FLOWERS LAST.

I JUST PUT THEM IN THE VASE AND LEAVE 'EM.

>> WHAT ABOUT ARRANGING YOUR OWN CUT FLOWERS?>> I USED TO GO IN ONE'S, THREE'S, FIVE'S.

I NEVER DO TWO OF ANYTHING.

YOU WON'T PUT TWO SUN FLOWERS IN A BOUQUET, ONE OR THREE OR FIVE, ODD NUMBERS.

AND THEN TEXTURES AND VARIETY.

JUST TRY TO GET DIFFERENT COLORS, DIFFERENTBUT THEN GONE MONOCHROME IS IN TOO BUT YOU CAN DO DIFFERENT FLOWERS IN THE SAME COLOR.

SO IT'S JUST IT'S WHAT YOU LIKE.

THERE'S REALLY NOT A RIGHT AND A WRONG.

AND AS YOU TAKE BEAUTIFUL STUFF AND PUT IT TOGETHER, IT WILL BE BEAUTIFUL.

>> ALONG WITH GROWING SPECIALTY ORDERS AND MAKING ARRANGEMENTS FOR WEDDINGS AND OTHEREVENTS, RITA SELLS DIRECTLY FROM THE FARM, BUT PREFERS A CALL IN ADVANCE.

THEY'RE USUALLY THERE ON WEDNESDAYS, CUTTING AND PACKAGING FLOWERS TO DELIVER TO CENTRALMARKETS IN HOUSTON ON THURSDAY MORNING.

MANY FLOWERS LIKE POPPIES CAN BE CUT AND KEPTIN THE COOLER FOR A FEW DAYS UNLIKE BASE I WILL THAT CAN'T BE REFRIGERATED.

>> IT TURNS BLACK.

YEAH.

IT'S JUST LIKE WHEN YOU'RE GROWING IT IN THE GARDEN, ONCE YOU START GETTING 40 DEGREE TEMPERATURES,IT DOESN'T LIKE IT.

AND WE DON'T PUT OUR ZINNIAS IN THE COOLEREITHER.

WE HAND PACKAGE EVERYTHING HERE, BUT IN THEBIG WHOLESALE PLACES EVERYTHING IS DONE PRETTY MUCH BY MACHINES.

>> ALONG WITH SUPPORTING THE LOCAL ECONOMY AND ITS FAMILIES, RITA IS SATISFYING A HUNGERFOR SIMPLY FRESH BEAUTY.

HER LONG LASTING IMPACT STARTS RIGHT AT HOME.

>> IT'S RITA.

SHE DOES EVERYTHING HANDMADE.

AND MY SOPHOMORE YEAR I TOOK A FLORAL DESIGN CLASS.

SO I GOT TO LEARN ALL THE ASPECTS OF WHAT SHE DOES, AND I'D HAVE TO SAY THAT LEARNINGABOUT IT MAKES US APPRECIATE HER JOB SO MUCH MORE BECAUSE IT IS SO TEDIOUS AND SHE DOESIT FANTASTIC JOB.

Source: Youtube