Our third year now with our annual Harvest Summary, continuing where our 2016 Summary left off. This year it took us a little while to get off the ground especially on the annuals because we spent some time planting new fruit trees, building a pond, and of course getting married and taking in a foster kiddo.
Annual Vegetable Production
This year we grew around $465 in annuals, this is down from 2016 ($780), and up from 2015 ($220). The annual garden stayed the same size and in the same place. We rotated our crops so none were in the same place as before. The drop in production was due to not getting all of the plots into production as soon as we could, and not harvesting as consistently throughout the year. We planted carrots in May that we didn’t finish harvesting until November! Here were our winners:
- Carrots: $117 – 18.5 lb from one bed
- Beans: $66 – 16.5 lb from multiple rotations
- Butternut Squash: $65 from 18.5lbs from 2 beds
- Cherry Tomatoes: $58 – 12 lb
- Peppers: $57 – 19 lbs from one bed
- Brandywine Tomatoes: $33 – 8lb
- Peas: $21 – 5lb
- Brussel Sprouts: $19 – 5lb from 5 plants
- Eggplant: $17 – 12 lb from 4 plants
Most of the vegetables went to good use either in dishes, sauces, in the freezer, or were sold to friends and family. More of a focus this year was on storing for ourselves so less in external sales but plenty for us, including lots of frozen carrots for baby food.
A couple fruits added to the list, and some went away. We got our first apple harvest, and since we heavy trimmed the blueberries we had none this year after having 23 pints last year. May take a few years to get blueberries back but our apples have started. The cherry and peach were promising until the birds took all of our fruit! How dare they. Here is what we did get:
- Apples: $104 – 52lb from 2 small trees (4 new ones planted this year)
- Red Currant: $43 – 9 lb from 4 bushes which we turned into our wedding favors!
- Raspberries: $36 – 9 lb from our expanding patch
Early in the year we ordered some new bare root trees from Stark Bros nursery and got them in. We have 4 new apple trees, 2 are honeycrisp and 2 are golden delicious, along with some bushes such as 4 new pink lemonade blueberries, and 2 honeyberry bushes, and 2 new Almond trees in the ground for our first nut varieties. After a year off we have a large plot in garlic production and new spots for even more perennials next year.
We’ve stopped counting the eggs. Actually we counted on and off and then misplaced the sheets so never tallied how many we were getting. At maximum probably 7-8 per day throughout the summer and down to <1 per day from Dec-Feb. Around the end of November they stopped for the winter and have not had much production over the winter, we’re giving them a rest to naturally restore and build for the coming year. It is normal for chickens to stop laying through the winter. Eggs were our most common sold items accounting for $230 sold between January and September when again, we got too busy and stopped counting.
The big step this year was to get the pond installed as the centerpiece to the backyard perennial landscape. We have some lilies and other water plants in the pond and even threw some goldfish in to see how they would do. A small solar pump keeps a little trickle going. The main purpose for this pond is diversity. To increase the life in the yard including beneficial insects, dragonflies, frogs, and to support the pollinators and birds. It also looks nice too! It won’t be big enough to get any fish to eat but will serve as a nice feature as we continue to expand the perennial food forest.
In a full year of solar panel production we produced 85% of our electricity needs with the 13 panels on our roof producing 3,820 kWh this past year. I calculate this saved us $194 on electricity vs. having to pay directly to National Grid. We are leasing the panels so it is not free, but the $45/month we pay for the solar panels turns into a lower rate than having to buy from the grid and reduces transmission line loss (in theory) by producing the energy near where it is being used.
More big steps for us this year, getting married in August (at a working apple orchard of course) was the highlight of our year and wasted no time expanding our family with Jenny expecting in June 2018. Be sure I am looking forward to getting some free farm labor ;). In the opposite of taking on helping farm labor, we became approved as foster parents in the fall. Jaynalise has been wish us since October and is 7 months now. She’ll be with us a few more months, and then we get to do it all over again on our own.
We’ll see how much time we have in 2018 to devote to the garden with a new family addition, growing company, and even more to maintain. Good thing we have some good infrastructure in place to take advantage of to make our lives easier. Until next year!