(From a beautiful day in August)
We have been having quite a bit of fun with the new crop trials on the farm lately. While I feel it smartest to stick with what works on our land, markets, and my knowledge as a farmer I must add a few new crops every year to expand our offering and my education. We added some great new flowers this year that I just cry about every time I harvest them. One is a double Aster mix from Johnny's seeds and they last forever! I really love the strong, brittle stem with beautiful, almost peony-like, tight bloom. They are a keeper!
I also planted a few Straw Flowers (pictured above in upper right corner) and while they took a while to grow on me, I have really been enjoying them. Their multi-branching small stem make them a joy in the garden but not the best marketable cut flower. The blooms are a mostly closed, paper-feeling mini burst of color. I do love how they last weeks on end and have joked with many of you at market about how they might just put me out of business. My plan for these little, unique blooms is to plant way more than seems necessary to have enough for sweet little bouquets.
(UPDATE 10/29: Strawflowers have survived the hard freeze from the other night! An unexpected but delightful surprise. This could open up so many more possibilities for these little cuties)
We also had an amazing year for Tomatoes, once they came! (Did I mention how unique this season was??) We stuck with our tried and true Prudens Purple and Striped German as well as our candy sweet Sungold cherry tomatoes. But I added a yellow cherry and black cherry to the mix this year and I think they were a great addition to the pint of salad tomatoes. We also added another heirloom slicing tomato called Black from Tula. It's a pungent, brown and red variegated tomato with a wonderful heirloom taste. It too will stick around another season.
I should be honest with you all and myself to say not all new crops were winners this year. We had significant crop failure that was due in part to (cringing to have to mention it again) a difficult year but also to "farmer's luck". Sometimes I put the plants in the ground knowing some will fail and some will flourish depending on what weather we are given but we diversify on purpose. It keeps things interesting and I love to see how far we can push the productivity of our small farm.