It is early February and I have been late in choosing the Christmas Trees that we can sell and want to sell in approximately 8 years. I usually get this job done every year by the end of January but this year I am behind. We order very small seedlings -tiny little evergreens with hardly any branches and a little bit of roots. It usually is the same process every year… I tell my brother (business partner and field manager) what varieties I want and how many and then he brings me back to planet earth and our farm‘s limitations. I tell him about all the exotic evergreen trees I have been reading and hearing about, about the top sellers that people rave about, the kinds that hold their needles best etc… and then he tells me what kind we can plant in our soils and climate in our area. I tell him that maybe the last 5 plantings, of variety X evergreen (the one I would like our entire farm planted in) died because that year was too wet, or that year was too dry or that year they came in with poor root quality and then he reminds me that we say that every year and that we won’t be planting variety X this year for all those very reasons. But the real reason we won’t be planting variety X is just because … they won’t grow here!
My numbers are always way out of control too. I say we should plant 1000 of this and 1000 of that. He then reminds me of how many trees we do sell every year and how much work it is to keep them looking nice and what are we going to do with fields of 1000’s of huge trees that didn’t sell – go into the foresty business?
In the end we come up with reasonable numbers with reasonable varieties of trees and throw in a few exotic trees to do some experimentation and all is decided. We always order and plant way more than we sell because a good quantity never make it to saleable size.
I should enjoy the ordering process more than I do because in a few short months it is planting time and … I always wish I had ordered less because of my bad back.