The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Less successful experimental crops

Afghan sesame seedsWe tried a heaping handful of experimental crops in this year's garden, and I've already reported on some of the successes (like our amaranth and urd beans) as well as some of our failures (like some of our other experimental beans.)  In the interest of sound science, here are the yields of three of our low to moderately successful crops.

Temuco quinoa was our absolutely least successful experiment --- we got nothing out of our experimental bed.  On the one hand, the quinoa was heavily nibbled by deer, but everything else in the garden somehow managed to rebound while the quinoa sat there for weeks looking sadder and sadder until I pulled it out.  I might try another variety of quinoa another year, but for now I'm marking it off my list.

Afghan sesame is also an experimental crop I won't be replanting.  Most of our sesame plants came down with some sort of disease that twisted their stalks and held them back, but they did grow and bloom.  I was thrilled to see seed pods forming, but less thrilled when I realized that the variety I had planted ripens pods a few at a time.  My internet research had let me to suspect that I could just harvest the entire stalks after the frost, but I instead decided to yank them out a few weeks early since about a third of the pods had already opened and released their seeds.  When I finally got around to threshing and winnowing the dried pods, I discovered that my total yield from the garden bed was about a tablespoon.  In the plant's defense, I had grown the sesame in the waterlogged back Hungarian breadseed poppy seedsgarden, and I now know they prefer dry feet.  Still, I'll be doing more research before trying sesame again.

Hungarian breadseed poppy was a moderate success.  Total yield from half of a garden bed was about three or four tablespoons --- enough for a few special treats.  On the other hand, Renee's Garden sent me a tiny, tiny packet of seeds, so I suspect I could have planted the seeds more thickly and gotten a higher yield.  Since poppies provide early spring nectar for the honeybees, I'll keep planting them even though they weren't terribly productive.

Let us do the experimenting for you when you order a homemade chicken waterer kit.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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