Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Tally for the Year

It started to snow a couple of days ago and we have a lot of snow - probably 18 inches so far. Harvesting had been sparse with just some kale every four or five days. But now the regular harvesting season is over.

Last year we weighed about 360 lbs of produce and this year I had the figure up to 710 until I discovered that one day I entered 1300 ounces of kale instead of 13. The final tally for 2010 is a little over 650 lbs. Where did the 80% increase come from?

The major increase was summer squash. Last year I confidently relied on row cover material to keep squash vine borers off my two young patty pan plants (photo at left) but once I removed the row cover material so that the flowers could b
e pollinated the borers moved in and I hadn't started any back-ups. The total harvest was about 20 pounds. This year I started five plants and had two back-ups and I wrapped strips of cheese cloth around the stems of the young plants (photo below). This didn't totally work because they were eventually infected and I harvested my last squash in early October. But in the meantime we had 109 pounds of squash. I gave some away but we frequently had sauteed squash for supper.

Cucumbers were another success. Both years I grew lemon cucumbers, but in 2009 the few plants I started produced nothing edible. This year I started them indoors and planted them all in one place. They took over that area and produced 47 pounds before they succumbed in mid-September to cucumber beetles(?). I am still eating pickles from the cucumbers.

Pole beans were another big improvement. Last year groundhogs and a deer fed on the beans at various times and heights. This year I saw one groundhog, called a trapper, and never saw a groundhog for the rest of the summer. I successfully fenced the deer out by adding three feet of deer fencing to the existing five foot fence. I also started a lot more beans and we ended up with 79 pounds of beans compared with 30 pounds.

Tomatoes rebounded this year because we were not troubled by late blight. I planted four of my six plants in containers, using soil that hadn't been used for vegetables before. We collected 55 pounds compared with 21. Containers, I discovered, do have to be watered at least daily and sometimes two or three times in the very hot weather. One plant had blossom end rot which continued all summer.

We concentrated on growing more greens and harvested about 137 pounds of various greens (not including lettuce). Last year the total was 101 pounds.

A few words about what we grew less of in the next post.

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