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Support your Sacramento-area flower farmers

This arranged bouquet was made by Amanda Kitaura of Bloom. Kitaura has
a micro-farm at her Pocket/Greenhaven home.
(Photo courtesy of Bloom)

Sacramento Valley Flower Collective features locally grown blooms

Want a farm-fresh bouquet? Buy local.

Finding locally sourced flowers in the Sacramento area is relatively easy. Growers are all around us. They may even be neighbors.

This is American Flowers Week, a celebration of flower farmers and their beautiful crop.

Locally, several flower farmers have banded together to create the Sacramento Valley Flower Collective ( ). Farms of all sizes are part of this group dedicated to bringing flowers from field to vase in the Farm-to-Fork Capital.

The collective lists growers, wholesalers and florists who sell locally sourced blooms and greens. There are suggestions for wedding and event planners looking for garden roses, lilies, sunflowers or other local, seasonal flowers.

Some members, such as Full Belly Farm in Capay Valley, grow produce as their primary crop with flowers on the side. Others, such as Happy Road Farm in Loomis,  are small, family-run operations, dedicated to heirloom and unique flowers.

Amanda Kitaura of Bloom has a micro-farm – started in her Sacramento backyard. She grows prized dahlias and other old-fashioned favorites in planter beds at her Pocket/Greenhaven home. She also enlisted backyard space from friends and relatives.

“I have a suburban farm,” explained Kitaura, a former speech therapist. “I grow at four homes. We’re small; I don’t have acres and acres. … It’s small space but high density, as much as I can fit.”

Kitaura concentrates on growing her own filler flowers that add distinct personality to her bouquets. “Good filler is harder to find,” she noted.

A Sacramento Valley Flower Collective member, Kitaura sells her flowers online at . Subscribers receive fresh locally grown bouquets weekly, monthly or by special order. Prices start at $35 for a large arranged bouquet on a subscription basis; special orders start at $50.

When she needs more flowers to fill her orders, Kitaura buys them from other local flower farmers.

“There are tons of reasons to buy local flowers,” she said. “You’re supporting the local economy in your area; you’re supporting your neighbors’ hard work. Local flowers smell so much better. They’re not flown in from somewhere. They’re not chemically treated to last for weeks. They’re beautiful.”

These seasonal bouquets carry a sense of time and place as well as beauty.

Said Kitaura, “They look like they came out of someone’s garden, because they did.”


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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of Oct. 1:

Make the most of this cooler weather. Get to work on your fall garden:

* October is the best month to plant trees, shrubs and perennials. Plants become established – sending down deep, strong roots – faster in warm soil.

* Divide and replant perennials. Add a little well-aged compost and bone meal to the planting hole, but hold off on other fertilizers until spring. Keep the transplants well-watered (but not wet) for the first month as they become settled.

* Now is the time to plant seeds for many flowers directly into the garden, including cornflower, nasturtium, nigella, poppy, portulaca, sweet pea and stock.

* Plant seeds for radishes, bok choy, mustard, spinach and peas.

* Plant garlic and onions.

* Set out cool-weather bedding plants, including calendula, pansy, snapdragon, primrose and viola.

* Reseed and feed the lawn. Work on bare spots.

* Dig up corms and tubers of gladioli, dahlias and tuberous begonias after the foliage dies. Clean and store in a cool, dry place.

* Treat azaleas, gardenias and camellias with chelated iron if leaves are yellowing between the veins.

* Clean up the summer vegetable garden and compost disease-free foliage.

* Harvest pumpkins and winter squash.

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