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  • Writer's pictureBetsy Busche

Meet the People that Really Make Spongetta's Garden Work

Updated: Jan 7, 2020

This floating farm exists only because of the generosity, talent and tenacity of many people. Let us take you on tour from years past.

The Gravely rotary plow is seriously the coolest. This guy rips through sod like it was never there. A very important step involved in opening up new ground.

Rob and Ben put the garlic patch to bed with a thick layer of hay mulch.

The hardening off process takes place on our driveway. Since we succession plant from March 1st through August 1st, Rob needs to find an alternate parking place.

We use both metal and plastic fencing to keep the critters out, or Betsy in, depending on the day.

Ben moving the rototilling Gravely back to the barn. We have an arsenal of these machines at all locations to mow, till or lay mulch.

When we are planting or it rains less than an inch a week, we bring the water to the gardens. Gravity helps.

The scarecrows kept the deer at bay until late September when they just knocked them down. Next year we plan to invite six to flank the western border. This plot is intentionally planted with varieties that deer and rabbits stay away from, mostly. Zinnia, dahlia, cosmos and rudbeckia hang out in the front with feverfew, statice, anise hyssop, cleome, marigolds, dusty miller and snapdragons providing protection. Most everything else is planted within fencing.

This was the year Rob rototilled a ground wasp nest. We never found the actual hole as they seemed to come out of nowhere. Ultimately we planted single stem sunflowers in this area and hoped they would flourish in the weeds. It worked. By harvest the weather had cooled enough to walk over this area without disturbing the wasps. Then the next year, they were gone.

The rudbeckia and zinnia bursting with flowers. We picked a dozen buckets that morning. Rob made sure we had coffee. Lots of coffee.

Not every variety works out in our conditions. The color of these cherry brandy rudbeckia is beautiful, but the flowers did not hold up in the field. Notice the distorted cones and missing petals. The bugs were really attracted to these blooms. Next year we grow will grow them, but set apart from the rest of the rudbeckia, as a trap crop.

This is Gary. He is part of a colony of bees that visit my in law's farm for a few months each summer.

We sell bouquets and bunches at the Oneida County Public Market at the Union Station in Utica on Saturdays, June to October frost. This was our second week when we were still trying to figure out how to wrap and display our flowers. This stand was a game changer build by our friend Ben to hold these cones.

Ben created the stand out of semi truck muffler clamps, angle iron and leftover wood.

A huge challenge is transporting buckets and vases in my car. Twice I have had to stop short with buckets in the back falling forward creating a mess. Rob built these to hold the buckets upright and to keep from crushing each other. It is now like a game of Tetris to fit everything in.

Spongetta is hanging out with a week's worth of bouquets and bunches.

We are back at it. Our windows are full of plants. The hardy annuals are in the ground. Tulips are blooming. This is my last week of sitting at the computer indulging in marketing plans and other really important, but often forgotten, tasks. The weeding is calling.

Contact us for more flowers!

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