Which one is your favorite?

But Laura… which one is your favorite?

Every plant we grow has a story for why I grow it and those stories help me feel connected to each and every plant we grow because it’s never been just about growing plants for sale.

This all started with friends wanting help growing for their gardens and today when I make plans, add soil to pots, plant the seeds, and then tend them…it’s in knowing these plants are going to someone’s garden. If I’ve met you in person, I’m thinking about you when we are growing plants, the chats we had and the connection we made over our gardens.

If you were here in person I’d tell you a few stories for each of these photos – so consider yourself in person as I chat about memory lane.

Sun gold’s – They have been my favorite since we found them at Denweth’s (Macomb Twp) probably 10 years ago. We fell in love that first year and the second and then they weren’t available again for several years. I was SO excited to grow them from seed my first year that I got the 500 seed packet (just in case 🤣) Last year this was my favorite handful, they were chilly and sweet in the October frost. My new favorite thought is that one of the home growers who supported our farm last year said she never got to enjoy the Sun Golds because her daughter ate them all… I can relate! If you have kiddos double your Sun Gold order!

The cherry tomatoes of our farm – Sun Gold (orange), Mexico Midget (red-the perfect bite of tomato flavor without any fuss), and Barry’s Crazy Cherry tomatoes (yellow). We actually grew enough cherry tomatoes to keep up with kid garden snacking so these went into a crock pot to add to tomato sauce making. We cooked them down then food milled out the seeds and skins.

Globe Amaranth and Celosia – beautiful, colorful, cheerful in the garden, in fresh bouquets, AND dry well… These were my last harvests that went on to be bunched, rubber banded and hung to dry in our garage. I’ve used them in several dried bouquets in the last few weeks.

The canning tomatoes. San Marzano (left), Speckled Roman (right), Bellstar (bottom). They are all fantastic to eat any time and as you can see they have very little flesh which is great for canning because to make a sauce you have to boil the water out of it and more fleshy parts means more water to cook out. The Speckled Roman tomatoes were fun to grow for their golden stripes (can you spot them amongst the other canning and heirloom tomatoes?)

Ah the zinnias. Their vibrant colors brought something special to each bouquet. I was surprised at how much I love the Coral and Carmine (bright purple). They went well with the sunflowers, celosia, and lemon basil (it really smells like lemon lime!)

My favorite green beans are a crisp and crunchy without being stringy. Both the Maxibel (skinny green beans) and Dragon Langerie (purple stripe beans) fit that description. Both can well and are great for eating fresh! We tried the long noodle beans which were really fun to walk through the arch, pick them, eat them fresh but they were much harder than we liked and after canning them they still were very hard. They are a bean that didn’t make our grow list this year.

Another flower we enjoyed this year were our strawflowers. When you rub their petals, they sound like straw! It’s both delightful to see and an extra sense to bring to the garden (touch!). As flowers they are beautiful in the garden, in bouquets, and dried. Their stems are really weak once dried so this year I snipped off the heads – yes I made several references to the Queen of Hearts – Off with their heads!

The strawflowers I only used their heads and pushed a thick floral wire through the center so they dry around their new wire stem. I will have these dried flowers now available to add to dried bouquets or wreaths in the future.

Pumpkins – the last of my favorites are the pumpkins. We’ve grown very small hand held pumpkins (Jack be Little), pie pumpkins, and Jack O’Lantern Pumpkins.

The first year we grew pumpkins we cut their stems when they were still green with a slight tinge of orange because frost came early that year. We set the pumpkins on our back deck and watched them turn from green to orange. By the time Halloween came along we had enjoyed them for over a month at that point… and on November 1st I was ready to just be done looking at pumpkins so we grabbed some kid sized safety glasses and tried to smash the pumpkins with hammers, mini-sledge hammers, screwdrivers, and sticks. When the pumpkin wasn’t budging Dave placed it on top of the playset so kids could push it off. The pumpkin just bounced the first 4-5 times before it began to split. It was definitely a fun family adventure that we grew in our own backyard.

The pie pumpkins we’ve only had a few so we made pumpkin donuts and they were really yummy! If you are pumpkin pie fans, pie pumpkins if kept cool should last you til Christmas.

Laura – one more question – Where are the Sunflowers?

That my farm friends is another post for another day!

What is your favorite (you can pick them all) from your own garden?

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