The year isn’t nearly over yet, but our experiment this year of weighing all our harvests has proven to be a real eye opener. This week we hit the 800 pound mark, which is a lot of food anyway you look at it. But I really need to look at the individual numbers to make some sense of what it all really means.
The number one vegetable we harvested is – no big surprise here – tomatoes. Even in a somewhat difficult year for tomato growing (high temps, drought), we’ve managed to haul in almost 200 pounds of them (193 pounds so far). I am wondering what the total might have been in a really good year, and what we would have done with them all! As it is we made sauce, salsa, puree, and also dehydrated and oven roasted a lot of them. The kitchen counter was covered in tomatoes for most of July and August, like the photo above.
With more tomatoes, we likely would have donated some of them, like we did with the summer squash. We got 74 pounds of it, and over half (46 pounds) got donated to the same places we took the produce from the church garden. We certainly could have eaten more squash this year, but the harvest was all in a two month period between 6/13 and 8/12. We ate all we could, and a lot of it went into bags of soup mix we froze for use this winter. But we don’t like it dehydrated, and I think it gets mushy when frozen (which is ok for soup), so that means we enjoy it fresh while we can.
Winter squash is more like a gift that keeps on giving. We harvested 77 pounds of it this year, including Small Wonder spaghetti squash, Delicata, Butternut, Acorn and Gold Nugget. We’re still enjoying it, since much of it is hanging out in the root cellar. I’m going to roast some butternut squash tonight and make soup with it. There’s still some Long Neck Pumpkin squash that is maturing out in the garden, so the number will go up shortly. All in all it was a great year for the winter squash. I added a lot of compost to the bed before planting and the plants loved it.
Also loving a liberal dose of compost this spring was the broccoli (23 pounds) and cabbage (30 pounds). We ate a lot of each and froze some broccoli and slaw for use later on. As a result I planted only a few broccoli plants this fall for fresh eating. They have been slow to head up, but hopefully will give us a little bit before really cold weather sets in.
Also loving the compost were the greens. We’ve had some sort of greens every month of the year, including a lot of lettuce (38 pounds), spinach (14 pounds), and Asian greens like pac choi and tatsoi (18 pounds). The same bed behind the greenhouse that gave us broccoli and cabbage earlier in the year is now supplying us with Swiss Chard, if I can keep the deer out of it. I’m planning on moving a cold frame over the chard to help it overwinter. That way we should get a little bit early next year before we pull the plants. And I’ll have a variety of greens growing all winter in the greenhouse beds.
The fruit put on a good showing this year. We got 61 pounds of blackberries (about 10 gallons), 16 pounds of blueberries and 29 pounds of strawberries. And our little dwarf cherry trees gave us almost 6 pounds of cherries. We also got a taste of raspberries in their first bearing year (1.5 pounds), and so far over 5 pounds of figs! We’re still waiting for our two Oriental persimmons to ripen, a process which is beginning to resemble Waiting For Godot. Though in this case, we have actually met the persimmons, as it were.
It was a disappointing year for peppers, eggplant and sweet potatoes. We’ve gotten 21 pounds of eggplant, which is not much given the number of plants we have. We’ve gotten even less from the peppers (14 pounds). They just haven’t been happy with the weather. We managed to get almost 30 pounds of green beans before the vines dried up and died. Last year I gave bags of them away, but not this year. The ones we did have were certainly appreciated and enjoyed!
The individual totals can be found here. I’ll use the information to plan next year’s garden, though it remains to be seen if we’ll weigh everything again next year. It’s been informative, but a lot of work weighing every last morsel. Well, almost every morsel. Some just didn’t make it in to the scale!