Why do we grow this finicky plant?
When the color starts to crack and the buds start to open exposing all the layers of the ranunculus...
We plant two successions of these ladies- The earlier in the hoop house and the second in a shady spot in the orchard. In 2022, they were placed in the hoop house on March 16th and planted outside on April 30. The hoop ranunculus finally petered out at the end of June.
They are sort of like me and just want to retire to a cool body of water in the heat of the summer. Once the days hit 70's they go dormant and sometimes that happens quick here in Montana.
We try to prolong our bloom time by getting an early start in the hoop house and taking advantage of the shade of the apple trees in early summer. Honestly, it's hit and miss. Some seasons, Mother Nature smiles down on the flower farm and we are blessed with plenty of blooms. Others, its famine for these blooms.
The fact that we keep planting them, without a guarantee to the season should let you know just how spectacular they are.
Interested in trying these in your garden?
HOW TO GROW RANUNCULUS
We have them delivered in the fall, and then they literally just sit in their brown paper bags in our basement until we are ready come February. The important thing is that they don't freeze during this time.
When you pull them out of the bags they look like dried up octopus... yes, you read that right.
We need to plump these babies up! We place in a mesh bag and hang them over the side of a bucket. We then fill the bucket and let the faucet barely run (need to keep oxygen circulating in the water) for 4 hours. You will notice that they have increased in size tremendously.
We then place them in a flat with soil to presprout. Why presprout? Because space is valuable and we want to make sure that each and every one of them is going to be producers BEFORE they get planted in the ground. We cover each of them with soil and keep the soil moist until they emerge and we are ready to plant.
It's important to walk that fine line of moist and not wet while presprouting. They can easily rot from TOO much moisture and you're down a plant.
*We started off this blog claiming they were finicking, it's your own dang fault for reading this far*
To prepare the beds for planting we add compost and take turn the soil with our pitch fork.
We then create trenches with our hoe about 2 inches deep. One of us places, while the other covers with soil.
They should bloom within 90 days, but we've found that weather definitely plays a part in that prediction.