Sunday, July 29, 2007

The weather is warming up

The long cold "snap" is over, and as we near the end of July there is more warm sunshine, which the Gerberas will love. The plants look pretty shattered really after the cold weather and there is a lot of damage leaf matter to remove, which we are scheduling to start on next weekend.

We ususally do a de leafing arund this time of year, but with the cold weather we've had to wait otherwise we'd stress the plants out too much, and anyway, in the mornings it has been too cold to work in the "hot" houses. Hot - NOT!

There are lots of buds coming up, so we are looking for better production over the next couple of weeks. I'm planning to go to Adelaide on August 9th - just hope the great production arrives after I get back otherwise I will leave lots of work for others to do.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Gerberas and Blogging

What if I could earn more dollars than I really need just by working on the Gerbera Farm and blogging? If only it was that simple. Certainly there is income to be derived from working hard on a Gerbera farm, but as I have explained over recent posts we are subject to disappointments because of weather, disease, and other factors, but if I can combine my love of the beautiful Gerbera flower as well as blogging, what a good life could I have?

In Australia blogging is only relatively new and whilst many do it for fun, more are now learning that you can earn money from your blogging.

It so happens that advertisers will pay people to write articles - about their product or service, or just link to their websites.

There are websites that link bloggers and advertisers. One of these is Smorty, a service that connects advertisers and bloggers. Smorty is a good site, so easy to use, and for a dedicated blogger there is an opportunity to get

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Saturday, July 21, 2007

Almost a disaster

All Gerbera growers in the south east of Queensland are suffering right now - and judging by the number of desperate phone calls we are getting from florists Gerberas are scarce all around right now.

In the southern states many growers heat their hot houses during winter, but as this is the worst winter - such a long cold snap has not been recorded since 1941, we are all unprepared. In any case, we know it is for just a short time generally but this time we've been caught out.

It is so cold, as I've reported, that it is warmer in the cold room!

Fine clear crisp days, but freezing cold night time temperatures are doing the damage and it has been so long, it will be interesting to see if the plants recover well in spring. They are pretty hardy - so we are hoping for a change soon, but the cold is not showing signs of letting up.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

The cold weather causing havoc

The cold continues and reports say that we have not experienced cold in this way in over 30 years!

And don't the plants and the flowers know it! There's just no activity. If gerberas go into hibernation, ours are. It is so embarrassing to tell our florists that we have no flowers and judging by their comments other growers have the same problem. Gerberas love warm weather, and as winter is nearing the end we look forward to some more action in the hot house.

We can't do much of our maintenance, as the plants are already stressed and any culling of unwanted leaf matter must wait until the weather is better.

The other morning MM opened the door of the cold room where we store the freshly cut flowers, and he got a rush of hot air. Initially he though the cold room was malfunctioning, but it wasn't. It was actually warmer in the cold room that it was out site. The cold room temperature is 9 degrees, and it was 0 in the hot house.

We have beautiful clear days but the temperature even during the day is not enough to stimulate much growth or flowering.

Life goes on. We take the good with the bad.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Still no flowers

Our records show how badly the cold has affected the flower growing. We are hardly getting any flowers and have some very disappointed florists. But there's nothing we can do until the weather warms up.

We are getting warm sunshine during the day, but it is so cold overnight and into the mid morning, and again mid afternoon it starts all over. We can at last see some new buds coming, so we feel it will only be a few short weeks before we are back on track again.

Normally we pick three times a week - but we are down to twice a week at the moment.

Our figures show that this has never been so bad in the few years we've had the farm. It is hard to do any deleafing/maintenance until the weather warms up. We don't wish to further stress the plants.

Sad, sorry time for us.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Timesaving to have the tap in the workroom.

When we started Gough Hill Farm we did it on a shoestring budget. Really we did spend a lot of money on the hothouses, the plants, the irrigation system, the water tanks, the cold room, and all the nutrients. And more stuff that I can’t list. At the time we seemed to be buying lots of things.

The menfolk who were quite able to do much of the work that perhaps others would have brought tradesmen in to do, they did themselves. Of course to save further. Some electrical, plumbing, roofing etc. they did themselves.

We housed the workroom as we call it in the stables. The previous property owners had horses, so had some really good stables there were not being used. We just used one of the three stables. We had some guys deliver and put down the cement floor and our guys put in the shelves, and did some of the electrical work. (Supervised by a qualified electrician friend).

But for the first few years we did not have easy access to water. There was a
tap on either end of the stables, and we ran a hose from one of them. We’d fill the buckets from the hose, and run like mad back to the tap to prevent water from being wasted.

Eventually the guys got around to fixing the plumbing, and ran some pipes from the tap into the work room. So now we have a tap in the workroom.

We still laugh about how much time (and water) it has saved us by having the
tap in the appropriate place.

Monday, July 02, 2007

The sun is out!

It has been many days since the sun has been shining all day, like it is today. When we woke this morning and found a blue cloudless sky we were a little buoyed. Perhaps, just perhaps there will be enough sunshine over the next few days to help the flowers bloom again.

It is frustrating and embarrassing that we do not have the flowers to supply our customers. We are of course not the only growers to suffer in this way, so we all long for some warm sunshine, and some growth spurts in the hot house.