This is a story about friends and sweet peas. Our dear friends Erin, Aaron, Lennie, Matt, Shanti and Cory came to visit us! Shanti Rade (@whipstonefarm), Lennie Larkin (@b.side.farm.flowers), Erin McMullen (@raindropfarms) and I previously all served together on the board of the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers (@ascfginc). At our recent St. Louis conference, we floated the idea of everyone coming to visit us in Madeira in December and much to our surprise and delight they made it work!
Evidently they heard me moaning about needing to regain control in the garden and get the sweet peas in the ground, and they insisted that we have an afternoon work party. With this All-Star team of farmers, we made quick work of clearing, weeding, tilling and amending the soil, making beds and stringing trellis.
Just an hour before we took everyone to the airport, we managed to get all of the sweet peas transplanted as well! Transplanting 100 days earlier than last year should make all the difference to the plants as they will have the cooler and rainy months with shorter days to establish, preparing them to flower in late winter and early spring.
We grew the peas in prototype “roottrainer” style trays this year as well and we’re very pleased with the results. I should also mention that all three farms will be collaborating with us to grow sweet pea seed in America! With any luck, we will have a good supply of all of the favorite varieties available next autumn.
Thank you all for your visit, for literally getting us out of the weeds, and most of all for your friendship.