Shepherds Heart Farm Year in Review

I always spend the first day of each year reviewing my garden to see what worked and what did not.  My niche is growing plants from around the world and different time periods.  I specialize in rare seeds in my own humble way attempting to preserve, at the local level, indigenous seeds, plants and recipes. 


I beta-test about 10-20 new crops each year.  I grow each variety for three years to see what it will really do in varying climates over the years.  I keep what I like and discard the rest. You need to keep in mind that I am a cold weather gardener, choosing to push the envelope on what I can grow in the Rocky Mountains.

I grow crops year round; inside, outside, in greenhouses, and under the blue Montana sky.  Some plants I grow in containers, and others I let sprawl.  Some are in the shade while others love the blazing sun.


Along with growing my unique food crops I spend a year visiting a particular country or culture for one year to see how they prepare the crops I am growing.  This provides me with a birds-eye view of their lifestyle and how critical is to preserve theirs, as well as my own. 


It has been a crazy year with the wildfires so please excuse my succinct review:


  • Favorite Corns: Oaxaca Green Corn and Painted Mountain

  • Favorite Winters Squashes: Ding! Ding! Speckled Hound does it again, fabulous! And the Turban comes in a close 2nd.

  • Favorite Melon: Moon and Stars Watermelon. Yum!!

  • Favorite Red Tomatoes: Belarus Red, German Strawberry

  • Losers: Rutgers Red and Bonnie Best but it was year 1.

  • Favorite Yellow Tomato-Ding! Ding! Gold Metal

  • Favorite Orange Tomato:  Kellogg Breakfast

  • Favorite Black Tomato: Ding! Ding! Creme Brulee, this was its last year or it was out, but beautiful!

  • Favorite Blush Tomato: Hillbilly

  • Favorite Unique Tomato: Indigo Apple

Favorite Pink Tomato: German Pink


Note: I have given up growing Keeper tomatoes. Unless one has the perfect climate and humidity storage they rot every time. The idea is nice though.

Favorite Fruit: Raspberries. The deer got most of my fruit. My citrus got scale and until I have had no time to deal with it. I clipped them back and next week I go go on full-scale detail, so I can have fruit! My beautiful Santa Rosa Plum died in 1 day. I have no idea why. It was fine then, bam, dead.

  • Brassica's all died from Flea Beetles despite diatomaceous treatment.

  • Poor year for root crops but due to the wildfires, I didn't water like I should have.

  • Great Rhubarb, do not ask me what kind, it was a gift. I have to tell you about peppers....75 different kinds of peppers!

  • Most hopeful: Ed's Smokin Reaper

  • Seasoning fav: Antilles Caribbean or Beji Highlands

  • Paparika Fav: Leutschuer Paprika

  • Mole Fav: C. Negro

  • Shape Fav: Bishop's Hat

  • I love my Sheepnose pimentos and Szentes, they are just fun.

  • Chili fav: Estaceno Chili pepper

  • Best Yielding: Poblano

  • Best Looking Dried: Maule Red

  • Cheeriest: Yellow Scotch Bonnets

  • Pimento: Newcomer, Large Pimento from MI Gardener

  • Easiest to grow: Anaheim or Poblano


My super-hots will do awesome next year...

Can you tell I have caught the Pepper Passion?

  • Peas: Desiree Purple Snow Pea who kept on giving

  • Peas: I planted 10 kinds and if I was pressed to give favs they would be the Mammoth Melting and I can't remember, sorry I was up at 3 am this morning....

  • Summer Squash It was the 'Year of Patty Pan' everything else was dwarfed. Every kind of Patty Pan excelled.

  • Beets: One from Russia was the only good one and I left the envelope on a garden stake, darn...

  • The bush beans did better than the pole beans, which is the reverse from last year.  But in the end the deer got them, so what the heck...

  • Celery: crappy because of the low humidity

  • Herbs did great

  • Flowers: Kiss Me Over The Garden Gate: Yea! I love it!!


Of course I love flowers and they all did well except for roses, only my mini's did anything. Oh, and Zinnias did great this year.  Thumbs down for Dahlia's.

  • Greens forget it....this year anyhow

  • Never give up on a Wisteria mine came back to life after two

  • years of nothing.

  • Perennials all did great. Except the Hollyhocks did get the Flea Beetle buckshot look pretty bad, they survived though.

  • Peonies were spectacular!

  • Celery was awful, not enough moisture.

  • Medicinals were over the moon. I grow 75, to many to list....


Shepherdess Celeste


  • Asparagus got confused from Climate Change, it did Round II the September for last and so it didn't amount to much in 2017

  • Never give up on a "dead" grape they will revive.


Always try something 3 years in Montana. The climate varies.


I think that is it. If you have specific questions just ask. I am going to delve into my turkey and dumplings and then go do chores.


Happy Gardening to you all, and may all your favorites grow abundantly!


Shepherdess Celeste
Shepherds Heart Farm 2017