I know me...I tend to 'garden in a rut'. Know what I mean? Grow the same standard crop year after year, row after row without any thought or consideration to the millions of seeds just begging for a chance to grow. My grandparents were 'rut gardeners' too; they grew the same crops and canned the same produce year after year...because it worked; it was reliable. Sometimes, you just need to 'give seeds a chance'.
Once of my girls participated in the Master Gardener Apprentice program a few years ago. She would come home with tales of arugula, kale, chard and bok choy... raised beds and intensive plantings. This opened a door for new ideas in the garden..things I would have never considered. While the thoughts may have been stirring, the action was slow...I am not one to jump on new patterns..it takes time.
Little by little we ventured into new seeds and things; it wasn't easy..I am not a fan of change. These days kholorabi and kale are regulars along side purple beans and strange squash breeds. It didn't happen all at once, but it did happen..however, not all things that made an appearance stayed. I still can't wrap my mind around bok choy; it's debut in the garden was short lived!
When considering new garden crops, no matter how eager or hesitant we may be, there are a few things we do before hoeing a row:
1. Do we know someone who has grown it? I ask around and seek others who have some experience with a new crop. Sometimes it just helps to have an experienced person to talk to.
2. Do I like this? Sometimes a gardener will share some of their harvest with you. Get a taste of the thing before you dedicate precious garden space to it.
3. Do I have the space for it? If not, don't bother unless you have tasted it first. If so, it can always go to the flock or the stock when you get sick of it.
4. Does it work in my area? If it's not your zone, leave it alone!
Some new things are excellent; some are just a fail, but if you never step out you'll never know. Who would have thought kale would be an addictive garden addition? Not me!!
What new things are you trying in this year's garden?