Saturday, November 19, 2011

Weigh In from the Garden for 2011

      Because of the strange weather we experienced this summer, my garden's production was anything but typical this year, so naturally I chose this year to tally everything I grew for the first time. I plan to follow through with tallies in the years to come. Doing so, and knowing I'll be sharing them with you, will provide the extra incentive I need to keep better records.
       Rhubarb. I started the plants two years ago so this is the first year I could harvest. Ten pounds.
       Strawberries. One hundred, twenty-five pounds.
       Tomatoes. Brought into the house for processing and eating, 175 pounds. An equal or greater quantity went to compost because of splitting, blossom end rot and other problems, mostly attributable to gross under- and over-watering. I did drip water during dry spells, but when it rained here this summer, we had deluges, almost ten inches of rain in one weekend. Last year I processed over 550 pounds.
       Potatoes. About 190 pounds. I planted three kinds: Pontiac red, 120 pounds; Russian blue, 45 pounds, and a white variety, only 25 pounds. They grew in rows side-by-side in the garden. This was their first year in this spot. Last year was their third year in the same site, which is the maximum that's recommended. The soil ph in that area was adjusted down from 7.4 with the addition of sulfur. I added sulfur to the new site, but perhaps it wasn't enough. Last years' potato crop totalled 330, down from the prior year of over 400.
       Rutabaga. I chopped up an eight pound rutabaga for the freezer to use in pasties and wrapped a few whole ones in plastic wrap for storage in the extra refrigerator. I planted too many for our use, as in past years I've had disappointing results with rutabaga. That was in the old veggie garden, which I'm rejuvenating this year. This is the first year I've grown nearly everything in what used to be the old bull pen when my in-laws raised black angus cattle. The more fertile soil probably made the difference here. Call it 25 pounds for actually usage for this crop.
       Carrots. This is another crop that I had trouble getting started last year in the old garden. I planted three times before I had germination. We thought slugs might be eating the new plants as they appeared so I spread a few pounds of fresh coffee grounds over the entire garden. I don't know if this helped because my husband sprayed with a organic pesticide too. In response to last years trials, I over planted this year, and of course, had great germination and over 100 pounds of carrots. I'm pleased to report that most of these wound up in someone's freezer or canning jars. I planted Tendersweet, Scarlett Nantes, and Danvers half long. I  plan to plant Tendersweet again next year, but not the others. I'll look for varieties recommended for canning.
       Peas. Peas were the only crop I planted this year in the old garden, figuring their nitrogen-fixing property would enrich the soil. I froze 27 pounds of shelled peas, and saved another three pounds of dried ones for seed.
       Green beans. Forty-three pounds of beans went into the freezer. Another four pounds of dried beans were saved for seed.
       Corn. I froze 18.5 pounds of shelled corn. That was 77 ears. I failed to pick the rest of the crop, planning to let it dry on the stalks for later harvest and use as cornmeal. The deer had other plans. My husband is at this moment out there hunting. I hope he brings me some processed corn in the form of venison.
       Beets. I planted a short row of these, because the only way I really like beets is pickled. After I pulled what I wanted, the rest went to my daughter. Call it 17 pounds.
       Onions. I planted Walla-Walla and yellow. Both did well, but I lost some when they got wet lying on the ground curing. My fault for not bringing them in in a timely manner. Still, bagged and hung 25 pounds. I save the mesh bags Tom turkeys come in to storing onions.
       Sweet potatoes. First time I've grown these and I got them in late. In spite of this, I harvested 21.5 pounds. Some of the tubers were long, some fat. I didn't try eating the leaves and vine tips although they're edible so I'm not counting the greens. Not all of these were planted in the vegetable garden, and with the ones planted elsewhere, I wasn't careful to dig up everything. It's said if you leave any part in the ground, you'll get another crop next year. That's what I want because sweet potatoes make a sweet ground cover!
       Miscellaneous.  Green, chili and paprika peppers, 10 pounds. Ground cherries, 20 pounds. Herbs, hm, pounds doesn't tell the story with herbs, but say five.
       Sugar beets. Now we're adding on the pounds! Eighty-two! As soon as I find the time, I want to process some of this into sugar.
       Mangol. Never heard of it? Neither had I until my husband bought seeds last year. Before people used grain to feed livestock, they used mangol. It's a beet that grows over a foot long, often half out of the ground. My husband wants more livestock and wanted to experiment. That's another 90 pounds.
       Wheat. This was an accidental crop, but one I welcomed. About four pounds from volunteers from mulch in the old garden.
       I'm sort of disappointed that this totals to less than a thousand pounds. Because I relocated the garden and didn't feel I had the space, I didn't plant the usual vining plants. No squash, pumpkins or cucumbers. Those would have put me over the top!
       I expect a much higher total next year, especially if tomatoes and potatoes do better, and I get the viners in. I'd say I'm looking forward to seeing what the new season brings, but, frankly, at this point I'm ready for a break.
        You won't find any answers here to comments because for some reason I cannot comment on any post, mine or anyone else's, perhaps because of something to do with security stuff my husband has on this computer. I respond to comments on the Wall. Sorry for the inconvienence (yours and mine!).


  1. Didn't feel you had the space? Seriously? What would you do if you were limited to a trailer park lot like me?

  2. I have to agree, sounds like you had plenty of space! What a great crop.

  3. Pat,your homestead looks lovely! Thank you for taking time to share your experiences. Looking forward to trying your pasty recipe too!