Why is it important to raise flowers naturally? After all, we aren't eating them.
The answer – like the question – is simple: because how we live today shapes our tomorrows. Next month, next year, next century. Time-tested old-fashioned methods are simply better and less wasteful for us, our land, our children, and the future generations who will continue to tend this land.
We grew up in a sustainable family. We grew naturally before organic was “in”. And today we keep my grandfather's teachings alive on our own land. The land is happy with our stewardship and it gives back to us in return.
We avoid the chemicals commonly used by floriculture in many countries, including the U.S., because they are unhealthy.
Instead, we use farming practices geared to ensure that we "do no harm" – to our children and grandchildren, to our land. We use, re-use, and buy pre-owned when at all possible. To keep our soil fertile we rotate our crops and plant cover crops. We compost our own green waste and apply tons of manure each year. Our egg shells provide needed calcium; our excess crops and trimmings become mulch; our wood stove provides ash; our brush becomes biocarb.
We invite beneficial insects to come and stay with us. We allow part of our land to remain untouched to provide shelter and habitat for both beneficial insects and birds, and we provide water during drought times. We hand-pick a lot of harmful bugs such as Japanese beetles and drop them in soapy water. We use beneficial nematodes to help control the grub population and other soil-dwelling pests. When nymphs or true bugs get out of control, we use a hot pepper and garlic spray, insecticidal soap mixture or, as a last resort, organic pesticides. We let our chickens and ducks roam free during the day to happily do their own part to keep the bug population in check. A deer fence and a dog also help protect our most susceptible crops against four-legged critters. And we plant a little extra: “One for the farmer, one for the crow, one to rot and one to grow."
Our flowers are grown to do no harm. Not to us and our land, our world, or the people who brighten the lives of others with cheerful bouquets.
We hope Michigan Flower Farm's flowers bring more than smiles to you. We hope they bring with them an appreciation of what sustainable means. And, of course, all the joy and beauty of flowers.