At Rocket Punch Farm, we grow over 70 different varieties of vegetables, herbs, berries, and melons…and we plan to add to this list as we trial new varieties. Here’s our Year in Review for this year’s trials:
Lettuces are one of the first crops of the season as they thrive in cooler temperatures. In 2022, we were able to harvest lettuce sooner because we planted lettuce in our greenhouse in autumn 2021, which over-wintered to become our early spring crop in 2022. Through seed saving, we hope to further adapt our hand-selected lettuce mix to the range of temperatures we experience here in Central NM.
Sorrel will definitely be coming back in 2023. After all, it’s perennial…yay, garden jokes! This leafy green is about as care-free as Swiss chard, which makes total sense when you realize they are in the same plant family. We use sorrel as a salad green (it’s a blessing for summer salads, after the lettuce has called it quits due to the heat), in pesto, and soup.
In 2021, we offered lots of different tomatoes: cherry tomatoes, salad tomatoes, Roma-types for canning, and heirlooms. But we forgot an important category for the living in the land of green chile cheeseburgers: the burger slicer tomato. So we fixed that for 2022.
We gave up on growing rooting radishes in 2021. In the microclimate of our farm, there’s too narrow of a window to grow the roots without having them turn unpleasantly spongy, too woody to eat, or unbearably spicy.
Enter rattail radishes. These are radish siliques (seed pods) that deliver great radish flavor. We especially liked them pickled in vinegar.
Work smarter, not harder. We grow purple snap peas because they are easier to see, the purple color standing out against the green of the vine.
New Zealand spinach isn’t a true spinach, but it tastes just like it. And it doesn’t mind the heat. Unlike Malabar spinach (also not a true spinach but a heat-loving substitute), it isn’t slimy.
We already grew “green” beans in colors other than green: purple and yellow. So we were delighted to add pink as well. As with purple beans, they turn pink when cooked, but we can still enjoy their beauty in the garden.
Wanting to mix it up beyond kale and collards, we tried some Brassica greens that were new to us: Abyssinian mustard and spigarello.
They didn’t work. They just kinda sat there and didn’t do anything. Oh well. Back to kale and collards for 2023.
We tried black tomatoes because of how freaking beautiful they look. However, the color does not come from ripening but from a chemical reaction in response to sunlight. So they start out black on the vine and it’s next to impossible to tell when these babies are ripe. No thanks.
Beets are supposed to be a 2-month crop. However, our spring planted beets took over 4 months to reach anything close to a harvestable size. We had similar results in 2021.
We feel that beets aren’t suitable as a spring-planted crop in our climate. We’re currently trying over-wintering some for an early spring harvest and we’ll see how it goes.
Amaranth is another heat-tolerant green for summer salads. Unfortunately, the grasshoppers like this one even more than we did and they chewed it to pieces.
Stay tuned for our new trials for 2023.