Thursday, July 16, 2009

Summer garden update

My garden and its harvest is keeping me busier than I anticipated. With sparse rain, I have to water the garden using captured rain water. Weeds seem to have gotten away from me and my asparagus trench needs to be filled in. Too bad I lack enough dirt to do so. (Can you help, Dad?) And my future plans include converting more of my lawn to grow food. Is putting in a garden and laboring over it worth my time?

This is all part of my learning process. Just because I grew up on a farm and my mom had a large garden does not translate into instant ability to grow things. I have lost corn seeds, corn seedlings, herbs, cucumbers, carrots and beans to various predators of the insect or mammalian variety. I am still uncertain what was attacking my beans but have accepted the loss as part of vagaries of gardening.

So far I have harvested 70 ounces of strawberries, two garlic scapes, 25 ounces of peas (includes the pod) and 8 cups of rhubarb from my garden. I purchased ~35 pounds of strawberries either at a u-pick farm or from the farmer's market, and I picked 14 cups of rhubarb from a friend's house.

My own strawberry harvest took at least a 25% hit from insect damage and ~25 ounces of pea pods has given me about a cup and a quarter of peas. Since picking peas is still new to me, I harvested pods before the peas had matured. The garlic scapes are too new for me to incorporate them easily into my diet but part of the reason I put in a garden was to try new things, both growing and eating them.

I estimate my 3.3 pounds of strawberries was worth ~$13 at a farmer's market.
My 8 cup rhubarb harvest is worth ~$6.50 at the farmer's market.
The garlic scapes are worth less than $1 since I saw one vender at my regular farmer's market selling garlic scapes for $2.50 for 1/2 pound.
The 21 ounces of Romaine-type lettuce was worth ~$3.50
My current 12 ounce pea harvest is worth ~$5.00 with more on the vine.

My garden is in a holding pattern between the early and midseason crops. The garlic and onions are nearly ready and blossoming potatoes means I can harvest small ones while the beans and solo pepper plant have only started blooming. My corn has tassels and silks, my plants are loading up with green tomatoes, the carrots seem healthy and the cucumbers are tiny. I am hoping to plant some broccoli and carrots for the fall. My herbs are still in small pots and need to be transplanted. I plan on getting around to it before cooler weather settles in--permanently. Surveying the garden, picking wild black raspberries and fighting Japanese beetles are taking a goodly share of my time. My next post will address some changes to saving my money.

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