Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Production is up but other troubles are looming.

The flowers are looking wonderful but two major problems are looming for our enterprise. First of all - the water situation. With the drought there has been very strict water restrictions, but we've been able to continue after putting in a water management plan to the Brisbane City Council. But further restrictions are looming and it is expected that the nursery/flower growing industry will be hard hit by the new regulations. We'll have to wait and see.

Also the Australian government regulations regarding some of the nutrients use in the growing of our flowers is causing some concern. Some of the nutrients used in the industry have been linked with illegal explosive manufacture - and while some of the nitrates have been unavailable for this reason. But there are some nitrate products that are essential to growing flowers and other plants, which it appears the government is going to remove from use. If these products are removed - many growers will be in trouble. There is no substitute for this product - it is essential for growers!

We are currently lobbying - along with other growers and industry organisations - for the government to reconsider. In fact it is more likely the bureaucrats that are behind the regulation change - and they have no idea how it will impact on this industry. Watch this space.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Flowers are blooming great!

I hope readers don't think I've messed up my English with the title - it was deliberate. The flowers are doing well - we seem to be over the worst of the bug infestation and the flowers really are blooming well.

The weather has been overcast often, and we've had rain - not a lot, but enough to keep the humidity up high which means the plants do tend to suffer other diseases. Botrytis and mould. We spray often for it, but occasionally see a few infected flowers or leaves.

It's never ending. Perhaps we should have chosen a flower that only flowers a few months of the year - would be easy - we'd have time off.

Oh, well. So much we have learned.

Monday, February 19, 2007

The flowers are coming!

We could have sold twice, no three times as many flowers, as we actually were able to produce. We are getting on top of the bugs, but they are still there. We picked this morning and there's certainly an improvement in the quality and quantity of the flowers today.

Maybe, just maybe we are going to see less of the bugs - but they are still there. It is one of the "joys" of farming - whether it be animals, or crops of one thing or another - nature interferes. Wind, rain, lack of rain, bugs, disease, whatever.

It does help us identify to some small degree with the farmers who are so suffering because of the drought - a small degree. We do rely on the money - but we have options that folk way out in the bush may not have.

I will always treasure the time we had "farming" - even if only a gerbera farm.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Happy Valentines Day

February 14th in Valentine's Day - a big day for florists and flower growers. But this is NOT our best year. With our flower crops damaged by the bugs - the small caterpillar eating the flowers. Whilst we are almost "on top" of them now with regular spraying, they flowers are recovering but not enough to satisfy the florists. We have been unable to supply all.

We saw some of the poor quality flowers that the florists have had to buy from the wholesaler - old, poor quality flowers. Shame, but there is nothing we can do about it. We just don't have them.

Oh, well. Happy Valentine's Day.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Valentines Day

I saw this on the Internet. It is a wonderful photo of yellow gerberas being grown in Israel. It is Valentines Day this week, and we are unable to supply to our florists their needs. In fact the wholesalers are unable to provide all that the florists need. Valentines Day, and Mothers Day are two big periods for florists. We hope ours are back in action by Mothers Day.

Check this photo

Gerberas in the garden

This lovely flower - although nearing it's "use by" date, was in the garden of the house where I have been "sitting." The owners are from South Africa - in fact Zimbabwe, so it is no surprise that they love having these African daisies in their garden.
They are growing in full sun with a few other gerbera plants nearby - the flowers of them were well past their prime - in fact on their last legs, so to speak.
You can read more about my house sitting here.

Gerberas and greeting cards.

Gerbera flowers on cards are becoming quite popular – just as the flowers are one of the most popular cut flowers in the world. As an avid Gerbera lover I collect cards with Gerberas on them, as well as wrapping paper, gift bags, gift cards and fancy paper with Gerbera flowers.

Most of the cards I collect have no writing inside – they are blank which means I can use them for anything – from “get well”, “happy birthday”, "happy anniversary" or other greetings. With most I include a handwritten note, however, I can create something on my computer, print it out and insert it into the card. I need more time to do this – so as I am very busy I find it easier to do the hand written note – though I choose special pens to write the message. I have a collection of fountain pens that I enjoy using, or for special occasions I use gold or silver ink pens.

One of my favourite papers is one with Gerbera flowers – I’m not sure what it is called but it is opaque, with fine gerbera flowers imprinted on the paper – and looks very smart on a hand made card created as a special invitation – e.g. wedding, anniversary party or similar.

The wonderful range of papers that are now available are amazing – so much that I can spend hours and many dollars in a paper shop. Much of the paper I have stored (safely) for future use. You never know what might appear for celebrations of our 40th wedding anniversary!

Wouldn't it be great to make it to a 50th Anniversary (my parent's did), which of curse is the Golden Wedding Anniversary.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Different Gerberas.

I am doing a house sit at the moment - not far from home. The house owners are from South Africa - and of course are very familiar with Gerbera flowers. They have some in their garden - the original variety. One is a pretty double - shall have to take a photo of it.

I think we have at long last killed the bugs in hot house number one, but they still seem to survive well in number two. Another spray yesterday. We must get on top of it.

With Valentine's Day next week our production is down - in fact there seems to be a shortage of flowers all round.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Getting rid of the bugs

We had to get the consultant in again - we seemed to be losing the battle with them and the production had plummeted. We had to do something. With Valentine's Day, and Mother's Day coming up, things were grim.

The consultant was shocked to see the damage - and recommended a very toxic spray. We don't like using such sprays, but it was desperate. As well, we had to clear our a lot of the excess leaf matter. The spray is working - there are far less moths and flower damage. We have to keep out of the hot-houses for 24 hours after spraying to allow the toxins to dissipate. Sadly it also kills our good bugs so we will have to buy in some good bugs again.

We have had 4 inches of rain on the property in just over a week - sadly the rain has not fallen in the catchment areas. In the north of Queensland they are in flood and have been for a week or so, and another cyclone is on it's way to the gulf area, so they will get more rain.