Back for our fourth year summary of the growth of our backyard gardens. Another year that took us a while to get going, certainly due to the birth of Spencer on June 9th which took a big chunk of the year getting to know the newest addition to our family. I think the real takeaway from this year is how much we were still able to do while having a child, and working with a little extra effort.
Annual Vegetable Production
We spent a good part of the early spring clearing the perennial gardens, and were able to plant the annuals in May prior to the arrival of Spencer in June. It took until August for us to really start doing anything substantial in the garden. This year we grew roughly $685 in annuals, some of our biggest hits:
- Carrots: $124 – 41 lb from one row
- Garlic: $97 – 65 bulbs
- Cherry Tomatoes: $50 from 11 lbs
- Brandywine Tomatoes: $42 from 11 lbs
- Butternut Squash: $47 from 14 lbs
- Cucumbers: $30 from 20 lbs
- Peas: $30 from 7 lbs
- Eggplant: $20 from 12 lbs
We did have some others such as beans, peppers, acorn squash, cantaloupe, watermelon, and potatoes. Next year we plan to eliminate using town water for annuals and to only use rainwater capture for any plants that do need extra water, and to plan out our garden more specifically to reduce downtime. We also got a reel mower on craigslist to use rather than a gas powered mower on the small sections of grass we do have.
We had a great year for raspberries as they really took off, but struggling to get anything from our trees, the apples never budded in the spring, and the peaches again were stolen by squirrels. We tasted a few cherries, and had a single plum which was taken sometime before we were able to taste. Only a small list of berries we did get in any numbers
- Raspberries: $104 – 26 lb from our expanding patch, at one point giving a pound a day
- Red/Black Currant: $26 – 5 lb from 4 bushes
We planted some new trees, specifically an apricot and nectarine trees, so we’ll see how many years it takes for those to establish they are still quite small. Next year we will continue to support perennial growth and expansion.
From March to July we tracked the amount of eggs we sold, which totaled $175 for 35 dozen in addition to the dozen to 2 dozen we would eat a week. We stopped tracking later in the year and eventually egg production slowed around October. By December it was clear most of the hens had stopped laying for the winter, we were getting about 1 egg a day from 2 hens. We ended up getting rid of 7 of the hens, keeping the 2 leghorns and the Americana that was still laying, and got 3 new Rhode Island Red pullets which should start laying in February. We were able to get the pullet (adolescent) from a nearby house who raises chicks to sell, taking a lot of the work out of the starting.
As you can see our kiwi vines are working great, they provide shade to the chicken run all summer to keep them cooler, and in the winter the leaves die back and let the sun in to keep them warm. Maybe next year we’ll get some kiwi! You can also see our inherited rain barrel, which we used for all the chicken watering needs and some of the gardens.
We will have a full post on the first 3 years of our solar production, but in summary we produced 2,600 kWh in 2018 totaling about 65% of the total electricity. We also chose to purchase the remainder of the electricity from renewable sources produced in MA via wind power through the Green Energy Consumer Alliance. I strongly recommend supporting local clean energy projects. https://www.greenenergyconsumers.org/greenpower/whyswitchingworksShare Now!