5 Farming Failures of 2019

Every year of farming is another year of learning....

I think that is one of the reasons I find farming interesting and exciting. Things are always happening, good or bad.

The "bad" is taken as lessons and the "good" feels like a miracle just occurred.

Here are some of our top farming failures of 2019.

1. Potatoes
This was our second year of experimenting with growing fingerling potatoes. In our climate potatoes would need to be grown in a greenhouse to have them in enough time for the farmers market, so that is one reason they have remained an experiment.

I think the failure is that we planted them in earth bags and not the ground. There is too much fluctuation in container gardening for a healthy crop. The bags get hot and cold much more dramatically than crops in the ground. Will we try again? Most likely not this year.


2. Green beans

Here we go again with another tropical crop trying to grow them outdoors in the Rockies. These guys did great until we got a late summer frost, we harvested them the day before, but the plants instantly died when it got cold for one night.


Shishito peppers growing in the greenhouse

3. Peppers
We have grown a small amount of experimental peppers the last two years to see if they are something we want to give greenhouse space to. The problem with peppers is they require an extremely long growing season - about the same as tomatoes, so we must grow them in the greenhouse. But the yield per bed foot is dismal compared to tomatoes. Also, guess what I am allergic to them. Yay me.


4. Direct seeded beets
I really wanted direct seeded beets to work, but this was a huge fail for us this year. This experiment actually put is behind on bringing beets to market. None of them germinated. This is a known thing in the farming world. But we had to just learn for ourselves.

What we did have success with was using our paperpot method with great success. We are able to transplant beets that have grown for weeks in the greenhouse directly into the fields. Cutting down on the amount of time they take up our field space and don't leave any gaps of non-germinators.

5. Broccolini
We expanded our broccoli crop this year thinking this would be the year, but out of all of our crops this one yielded the least per square foot. We were may be able to bring 5-10 bunches to market for a couple of weeks. They bolted as soon as they could. So these were a no go for us. We are just going to stick to broccoli microgreens for now while we experiment with some other varieties to see if this would be a viable crop for us down the road.

While we did have even more failures than these, there were many more wins and miracles we witnessed on the farm. Stay tuned for that rundown next week.