Defending the Land Blog

SoilWarrior + a U-Pick = Minimal Disturbance

With the help of a SoilWarrior, Danielle Thomas was able to efficiently grow her U-Pick business. 

Thomas started Dani's Daffodil's, a 'U-Pick' flower patch and bouquet bar, with a green thumb and the passion to share beautiful daffodils and tulips with others. Little did she know how big of a hit they would be within her community. She recognized that her business could be more than just daffodils and tulips for the spring, and will expand to summer and fall  'U-pick' options. With over 750 bulbs planted to support her new business in Lowville, New York, Thomas wanted a more efficient way to fertilize the soil and create seedbeds. 

Danielle Thomas w/ the SoilWarrior

"I've seen the SoilWarrior do it with corn and soybeans, so I thought why not try with flowers," said Thomas. In addition to fertilizing the soil while creating a planting zone for her flowers, Thomas appreciates being able to leave a grass laneway between the rows for her customers to walk on, making the U-Pick experience even better. "I was thinking what the most efficient way to make laneways and to leave the grass in between the rows because I do a 'U-pick' flowers is, so I want grass laneways for people to walk on."

Dani’s Daffodils uses a direct marketing strategy; customers come in to harvest their own flowers. Thomas wanted an undisturbed piece of land between each row where customers walk, and what better way to accomplish that than by utilizing the SoilWarrior. By placing strips down the field, only disturbing 33% of that ground, there isn’t bare soil exposed where customers commonly travel.

Danielle Thomas, Dani's Daffodils

With the help of SoilWarrior Operator John Yancey, Thomas brought the strip-tillage machine to her place. They hadn’t heard of anyone using strip tillage for a U-Pick operation, so it was an experimental project to take on. 

"In combination with [minimal disturbance], she wanted ease of planting and fertility placement," said Yancey. It checked all the boxes for coming in with a SoilWarrior. Our 16-row, 30-inch SoilWarrior made the perfect seedbed and did everything she wanted," continued Yancey.

Danielle Thomas, Dani's Daffodils

Yancey’s SoilWarrior applies fertilizer while doing tillage. They used a bulb fertilizer potash blend. After placing the strips and waiting for the last possible frost date, Thomas planted zinnias, sunflowers, dahlias, gladiolas, and pumpkins. 

"She was able to plant into that without having to work the ground more than she needed to," Yancey said. The advantage for Dani’s Daffodils is the experience they provide their customers as a result of strip tillage. "Other bulb farms till 100% of the land. When they do a 'U-Pick' and stuff like that, you're walking through mud and different things. It worked perfectly that there was the grass walkway." 

"It is a cool little project. The biggest thing [Thomas] wanted was a seedbed and minimal disturbance. It is very minimal effort planting," said Yancey. "It was awesome. It was what we wanted."

Danielle Thomas, Dani's Daffodils

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