Saturday, November 12, 2011

Kerry Kerry, how did your garden grow?

Well, our garden has officially gone to sleep for the winter.

Except for the lingering spinach that just doesn't take the hint that winter is approaching.  The tomatoes are done and gone.  Blight hit us hard this year, but not before our plants produced more than 170 pounds of tomatoes.  Much of which was transformed into sauce and canned.  I always feel a mix of emotions this time of year.  On one hand I'm relieved that the gardening is done...Yet having a fresh, homegrown tomato with thick slices of fresh mozzarella and basil is a beautiful thing.

The zucchini plants hung in there for quite a while.  I harvested the last zuke on October 27th.  That's also the day I realized that we have something in common with the mice...We all LOVE sweet potatoes! Those little buggers got to FAR too many potatoes before I did.  And just to taunt me they ate the insides and left an empty shell just so I could see that they ate only the biggest potatoes.  So the next day I dug the carrots and beets because without the potatoes, the mice were after those next.

So what were the totals?  I thought you'd never ask.  Let's take a look.

  • Tomatoes (which we covered above) = over 170 pounds
  • Sweet Red Bell Peppers                     = 70 (and counting)
  • Habanero peppers                              = over 2.5 pounds 
  • Hungarian Peppers                            = 11 pounds plus 26 peppers
  • Zucchini                                             = 70
  • Beans (Roma)                                    = over 27 pounds
  • Carrots                                               = 51 (the majority of them are still in the ground)
  • Beets                                                  = 25
  • Cucumbers                                         = 73
  • Lettuce                                               = 15 gallon sized zipper bags FULL
  • Spinach                                              = 7 gallon sized zipper bags FULL
  • Sweet potatoes                                   = 18 pounds
  • Pumpkin                                            = 2 (20 and 10 pounds each)
  • Butternut squash                                = 20 (average weight is over 5 pounds)
And then of course the question is, how much would all this fresh produce have cost us if we were to have bought it at the local supermarket??

$725 (excluding tomatoes & pumpkins)  +  $338 (roma tomatoes @ Wegmans) = $1,063

I know.  Isn't that amazing?  (Now, I realize no one would buy 170 pounds of tomatoes at the supermarket to make sauce...But I'm trying to prove a point here.)  Growing a garden is a money saver!

And it's not like my garden is's the size of a large family room.  Maybe 20 feet square.

Don't YOU want a garden now too?  Don't be intimidated.  Start small, start with good soil and improve it every year.  Grow using deep organic methods, which means work hard to make your soil fertile(adding organic material and minerals to amend and improve the soil) and save your money on chemical fertilizers.  We mulch our veggie garden with lawn clippings - 2-3 inches all over.  It keeps the weeds from growing (we HATE weeding the garden) and adds nutrients back into the soil.  In the fall the leaves go in there too.

I get soo much satisfaction from harvesting food from the garden.  I know where it came from and how it was grown.  And I'm teaching my children where they're food comes from and what goes into making it.

I hope you enjoyed summer, because it's time to brace for winter...It snowed yesterday!

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