I have kept up better with the garden this year more than I have ever kept up with any garden I have had. There were still a lot of weeds, mind you, but a couple times a week, I could be found outside picking zukes, cukes, beans and maters. This year, hubby was supposed to help with the garden but that did not happen. I feel the garden would have done better if I would have had help. The truth of the matter is, by mid-August, I am pretty much tired of tending the garden and I let it go wild.
My goal this year was to keep track of what we spent on starting a new garden in a new location. The last I posted about how much our garden cost this year was back in May. In June, we picked up a couple of packs of bamboo sticks to tie up the tomatoes, so we had an extra cost of $4.19. That being said, this year, we spent a total of $185.18 on the garden. I didn’t keep track of how many pounds of produce we ate and put away, but we got a decent amount of produce, and it was all organic! That being said, I cannot tell you whether or not it was “worth it” and to be honest, I don’t care. I love being able to go outside and pick a tomato to eat with our burgers for dinner. I enjoyed picking grape tomatoes and eating them as snacks throughout the day or putting them on our salads at dinner.
The Big Expenses
The two biggest expenses for the garden this year were the straw bales and the super-soil we put on the ground to help the garden to flourish.
We were trying out the straw bale method of gardening, but it was a horrible fail. That was a waste of $60 in straw bales, in my opinions. However, I am using the straw bales that didn’t compost over the summer in a new project for next year: an edible landscape. I am going to be planting vegetables in the flower bed in front of the house to expand how much we produce. I am putting what is left of the straw bales in front of the house along with some leaves when they begin to fall to compost over the fall and winter months and we will till it into the soil when spring rolls around.
The super soil was so that our plants had the nutrients they needed to start in the new plot where the garden sat this year. That was a $44 expense, but I think it was necessary. Next year, we wont have that expense.
So as you can see, $104 out of the $185.15 were expenses that we shouldnt have again next year.
What We Harvested
We got a lot of grape tomatoes, a few early girl tomatoes, and several dozen beefstake tomatoes from the garden. My hopes with the beefstake were to have enough to can enough spaghetti sauce to use throughout the next 3 seasons. That didn’t happen. Next year, we will grow only grape, early girls and roma tomatoes.
We had a bumper crop of zucchini this year! We have a lot of produce in the freezer to be used throughout the fall and winter months, and we ate a lot of fresh zucchini too. I always purchase my zukes as seedlings from a nursery. Next year, I will plant them by seed.
I planted a whole packet of summer squash in the ground by seed for the first time to see how they would produce. Out of the whole packet, we only got 3 plants, but they produced well! We have a lot of summer squash mixed with zucchini diced up and in the freezer to eat throughout the winter. Also, because we are eating gluten/dairy/sugar-free, hubby found a recipe to make mock hash browns out of summer squash. They were delish, and we will be growing a lot more next year!
We planted 3 packets of cucumber seeds in the straw bales and they are the only plant that took off! It took several months, but they ended up doing really well. My husband loves cukes, so he ate a lot of them and we canned 3 large jars (the jars that bulk pickles come in) of pickles from freakishly large cukes that grew. Next year, we will be planting triple the amount of cukes and plant them in the ground instead of in the straw bales.
|Picture on the far right is store-bought pickles. The three on the left are homemade.|
You can see how large our cukes got in the first jar on the left!!
Todd and I eat spaghetti squash quite a bit, especially now that we are not eating any grain. We planted 2 packets of seeds in the ground this year and they did great until the roots started to rot and the squash got mushy. We were only able to harvest 4-5 spaghetti squash from the garden, but we were able to buy some for $1/each at a farmer’s market to freezer for future dinners. The squash that rotted did not get wasted. The chickens loved them!
(How do you prevent root rot? Any tips or tricks?)
I tried a new variety of green beans this year called yard-long green beans. These were awesome! They grow on a vine and though they are not truly yard long (they get too seedy when they get that big), they were at least a foot long when they were ready to pick. Next year, we will be planting many, many more of these yard-long green beans.
I also planted my normal bush green beans as well, that did great. We will be planting many many more green beans next year by seed and hopefully stay on top of harvesting them before they go to seed.
I planted the peas in the straw bales and they fried out in the sun. I planted some more in another garden we have with some shade and they did well. Not enough to freeze but we had a meal or two from them. Next year, we will be planting a lot of snow peas in the garden with shade.
I planted onions by seed this year, and they are doing great! They are so easy, and the critters cannot get to them. Next year, I will plant more packets of onions. We use onions a lot in our meals.
Our pie pumpkins did great, but had the same problem as the spaghetti squash with the rotting vine. We ended up getting 6 pumpkins out of 1 packet of seeds. We planted them as a snack for the chickens, so I think it was worth it.
It didn’t seem like we had all of these items growing as I was picking them. No wonder why I got burnt out on gardening!
Next year, we will tweak where we plant things and increase the amount of seeds that we will plant. I am (highly) considering starting everything from seed in the ground outside (I don’t have luck starting seeds indoors) to keep the expense of the garden down.
Do you find yourself planning next year’s garden before this year’s garden is complete? How did your garden do this year?