We not only plant a garden for the joy we get from sharing fresh vegetables with children and grandchildren, we also trial varieties so we can share first hand information with our customers. Admittedly, a garden is more work than I want to exert, but like many things, you get out what you put in. And this year was no exception.
The late snow delayed grass growth and field work, adding several days worth of feed costs for livestock owners, but it didn't do much to delay greenhouse cultivated plants grown in a controlled climate. Except for a few anxious moments of not knowing if the snow would linger into May, flowers bloomed, the soil warmed, the grass turned green, and except for a mid May touch of isolated frost, summer was off to a fast and feverish start with record high temperatures Memorial Day weekend. With a sometimes too frequent watering, young plants grew to maturity, producing abundantly. September, like the trend over the last decade or two, saw temperatures favor an extended growing season. Tomatoes, peppers and squash kept coming. Melons ripened. And when one had had enough, another gardening season was in the rear view.
Bring on 2019. Over the past few seasons we've made an effort to move in the direction of growing varieties with disease resistance bred into them; these are not GMO or genetically modified. Through selective breeding, a process where a variety is restricted to predetermined parents and selected from individuals showing desirable traits, we get pumpkin and squash varieties which are free of powdery mildew without the use of fungicides. And for the first time in 2019, we will see an impatien series resistant to downy mildew, the disease which causes a once beautiful bed of color turn almost overnight into a bed of unsightly blossomless and leafless sticks. If this happened to you, we have the solution.
Every year is different. Not everything available in 2018 will be available in 2019, but hopefully we will offer something better. I cannot begin to guess at how many new or improved varieties were available this year, many not living up to their hype, but be sure some will be the wave (as in Wave Petunia) of the future.