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Simply Picked: Fall on the Farm

Updated: Oct 30, 2023

October 30, 2023

Spokane, WA

The morning of the first hard frost, I sip my coffee a little more slowly, and do a quiet celebration. My fireplace is on--usually contradicting the air conditioning that hasn't quite been adjusted, and it's warm and cozy inside. The picture outside paints a different picture of blackened flower stems and blooms that were in their full glory yesterday now sit wilted amidst a layer of fog. Though the blooms are done and the morning hustle is slowed, the work is not complete.

Dahlia Field
Dahlias at Simply Picked Flowers. Somewhat spent as it is late in the season, but still shining in the way only dahlias can.

Over the last five years, we have gotten much more motivated to get as much work done prior to the hard frost as we possibly can. Typically, there is somewhat of a warm-up after this frost and we have used that time to hustle. With growing kids and more activities, this time has been hard to come by. This year, I'm happy to say, we did some premature hustling. By mid-September, our flowers start to get tired. Regardless of succession planting, the mornings are a little more chilly, and production starts to slow. Flower subscriptions finish and people are ready to move on to pumpkin spice, flannel, ciders, pumpkin patches and soccer or football filled weekends. I'm right there with you! So before the frost, we took our trusty little tractor and mowed down the rows, lifted any row cover, and cleaned it all up. This process used to take us 2 weekends or more, but our kids have grown and our lives revolve less around nap time and constantly saving the lives of toddlers as they make questionable decisions, and more around teaching our kids how to be helpful and engaged in this family endeavor. The seasons of life change right along with the flowers, don't they? With everyone doing just a little we have this process down to a couple of jam packed afternoons.

Dahlias are another story. They take their own week. Yes, a whole week for our tiny little farm to get these babies ready for winter. They are carefully by one. It is bittersweet to loosen the soil and remove the plants that we spend so much time cultivating. The tuber clumps are washed and carefully divided and stored to the tune of Christmas movies that I have seen multiple times. If it's not summer, then it's basically Christmas, right?!

The evenings of both removing the last tuber clump from the soil and the packaging of the final tuber are evenings to be celebrated. This year the final tuber dig was celebrated with a glass of wine and DoorDash Mackenzie River that I actually ate standing up. It was delish...I think... AND I didn't have to cook after a long day of work. So a celebration, it was.

The official end of the flowers coincides with a slow down of kid activities. Middle school football has ended, fall baseball as well. Soccer is on its way out for the year and we make our way to the warmth of a gym for basketball.

I love all the seasons, but I do think I love fall most of all.


Affiliate Links

Supplies for digging tubers that we find very useful

Helpful with transport and being able to wash tubers at a somewhat elevated level.

The sharper the better for removing tubers.

Wouldn't even attempt to be outside in the cold washing dahlia tubers without these! I actually wear food prep gloves, gardening gloves (my usual combo) and then these over them. Keeps my hands warm! And dry! I despise being cold!

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