September: Starting the Flower Farm

September has certainly felt like a long slog of being eternally busy I wanted to sit down and write this diary entry to give a bit of a glimpse at the current reality, but also just to help get my thoughts in order whilst everything feels a little bit overwhelming. Don't worry, I am LOVING this new life I just wanted to share some more in-depth details of what's been going on. Plus, so many people have asked for the 'story' of the farm, so here goes!

What's happened?

It's been 3 months since I left my stable full-time job to go it alone and 'live my dreams' and it has been an incredible experience. When I left the week of Hampton Court Palace, I'd been so busy I barely had time to make a plan for what I was going to do next, I just had enough work booked in for a couple of months and a small pot of savings to set up the farm and act as a safety net in the worst case scenario. 

Since then, I've been working freelance doing copywriting and PR consultancy, we've got The Mini Gardeners Club into two schools in North Devon after running a trial summer program, I've been doing a few exciting side projects with various brands and I've been back at my old job as the gardener tending to the allotment-style garden I set up before leaving, Oh, and I launched the new podcast season. It has been BUSY but a lot of fun. I've loved being able to manage my own time and work on lots of different things so that I don't ever get the chance to be bored. The question people are always asking is: do I regret it and honestly, I have no regrets, it does feel, for the most part, as if I've living my best life.

Aside from all that, I've been working hard with the support of family and friends to set up The Flower Farm of dreams. I think I said yes to renting the field a few weeks prior to leaving work, an incredible patch within a 56-acre farm that has a shepherds hut and bell tent on (we stayed in these for my sister's hen do and had an incredible time). I'd been looking for land for around a year or so and there just wasn't much available, I had been to see a few options all with their own challenges and when I came to see this one it just felt like 'the one', despite being much further away than I had hoped. The couple who run the farm have been super supportive, I have worked with Emma for years prior at my old job so it's nice to have friendly faces around and to see their vision come to life alongside mine.

We started off building the potting shed, with a lack of tools (from me being poorly prepared) and 0 flat surfaces on the bumpy field, this was a bit of a task that ended up taking 3-4 days over the hottest weekend of the year, but completion day was just the best and I can't wait to get some decor in so that it feels like home (priorities). I'm so pleased with the space, especially now that I've worked out the tray set ups, sown the first of the hardy annuals in the shed and I'm just waiting to get the tea station up and running!

Next, we got started on the no-dig beds after a 10-tonne compost delivery, there are currently 4 of the 10m x 1m stretches and I'm just waiting for the tractor to come and top some more of the grass so that I can continue. I've been scurrying around collecting as much cardboard as possible to get them all setup, but all in all there haven't been any bed dramas. I am however concerned that one side of my body is going to be absolutely stacked as the shovelling is physical on one side of the body - if anyone has any tips on how I can combat this please do let me know.

Most recently, we started to build the polytunnel. In my head, this set-up stage was going to be great fun... I couldn't wait to start seeing the vision come to life but the reality was it was so much harder than expected on both builds. It's certainly taught me a lesson in patience - I turned up on so many days with my brother to defeatedly say 'we're never going to finish this are we' within minutes and a few times we had to go for very early lunches just to keep the strops at bay. That makes it sound like it's all been awful but it's probably only been 50% a hard slog and the rest has been good fun and I learn so much every day. Luckily my brother is very handy with DIY and just knows how to calm a situation, he cracks me up constantly - if I could hire anyone full time right now it would definitely be him. 

What's next?

At the farm, the next few months are focused on getting the no-dig beds set up - I've planned for 30 of them but in reality, it will probably be 20 at most. We'll get the polytunnel staging up and ready for seedlings and a few beds in the tunnel. I've opted not to do tulips this year due to their high and my very limited start up funds, but I might do anemones, that's to be decided. The next big job really is to get a fence in place as there are deer that roam around (very majestic) but for the time being, I'm saving that as a problem for future Shan. Most excitingly of all, our first event at the farm will be in November at with Acai Outdoorwear and I cannot wait! Ladies, you can get your free tickets here if there's any left!

Anyway, that's enough waffle from me this month, I may as well make 'busy' my middle name. We'll see what October brings!

Thank you for your support and if you ever have any questions, feel free to drop me a DM or an email!

Shan - The Lady Gardener x


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