Weighing In

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.

tomatoes on kitchen counter in July

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.

some of the many summer squashes in June

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.

Gold Nugget squash harvest, late July

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.

Apollo broccoli in June

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.

Yukina Savoy, Komatsuna and Golden Yellow pac choi in greenhouse bed

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.

basket of cherries in May

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.

Purple Queen bush beans

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!

digital scale has been busy in 2010

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!

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8 Responses to Weighing In

  1. meemsnyc says:

    Wow! I am so amazed by your numbers! Truly outstanding! 800 pounds is remarkable! Question about your dwarf cherry tree. What type of cherry is it? Is it sweet or sour? How tall does it grow?

    • Villager says:

      All our cherry trees are sour/pie varieties. I’m not sure what the one tree is (it was here when we moved in). We planted a North Star dwarf which gets about 8 feet tall. I grew that at the old place and it is a good producer.

  2. RVSTONE says:

    I have to agree with you on weighing veggies. It can be a real pain in the neck. We were very faithful last season with weighing them and it gave us a good starting point but this year we were only interested in knowing how much we had of certain crops, like potatoes and onions. I think everyone should do it at least once to get a gauge of what they can do. But it sure takes a lot of time that I’d rather spend eating those veggies.
    Thanks for a really great blog!!

  3. Daphne Gould says:

    You had a great harvest this year even with the heat. The heat made my harvest a lot higher than usual. So I’m curious, how big is your garden?

    • Villager says:

      Thanks Daphne. The total area devoted to vegetables is about 1300 sq.ft. I’ve never really measured how much room the fruits are taking up, since they have their own permanent areas.

  4. Angela says:

    Wow! That’s a nice amount of veggies. It seems all of you who are weighing your vegetables are learning good lessons from the exercise, however tedious. Makes me think that I should try it some time. Maybe after my garden expansion…

  5. Citysister says:

    That’s one of our goals for next year…to keep track of what we harvest as well as what we put up. We end up giving away a lot of our veggies to family, but make sure to keep some for our winter squirelling away!

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