HAPPY CANADA DAY! Being the nerds that we are, we decided to track our harvests last year. We chose weight as that was the mode of measurement that made the most sense. Our hope had been to see from year to year, when to expect certain garden items to be ready for harvest. There are of course quite a few variables we need to consider such as when we planted the seeds; if we started seeds in the house or if they went into the ground; weather conditions; etc. Also, starting next year we will have a lot more space to plant, so we will have a lot more diversity in the vegetables that we grow. But this is a good starting point.
As June is complete, it was time to compare our harvest from 2019 to 2020. We didn’t do peas this year, so there was no comparison to our June 2019 harvest from last year which was 85 grams for the month. we also did not grow Peter Pan squash this year, so I won’t have any comparisons to that, however we did grow zucchini, butternut and spaghetti squash this year. A few differences, so I am just going to focus on comparing what we grew for both years.
We are almost bang on in comparing the strawberry harvest from 2019 to 2020. Although we lost just under half our plants this year, the ones that survived winter have produced as many as a full tower last year. We are still working on transplanting some runners to our 2nd and 3rd levels of our strawberry tower. We lost all the plants on the top level and only half of the second level came back. The entire bottom level survived and is currently pumping out berries. We weren’t sure how it would go as we have had a very rainy June this year, with very few sunny days and what feels like below average temperatures. It will be interesting to see the comparisons in July/August as I expect we will still be down a few plants.
Last year our onions were slow to start and we didn’t get many green tops that we could harvest until early July. Although the numbers are low for 2020, we did harvest some green tops from both our spring onion and the sweet onions in June this year because there was an abundance so it shouldn’t harm the growth of either onion. We also diversified our onions this year. We are growing sweet onions again, but I had accidentally bought spring onions, which I hadn’t grown last year. I will be harvesting our spring onions in the next few days as they are looking fantastic. As their name states, they are generally ready in spring, May/June, but we didn’t plant until early May due to some unseasonably late frost in April so they are just reaching optimum size now. They are fantastic on salads and the green tops last a long time in the fridge if you stick the ends in some water.
Our cherry tree has been an up and down battle. Our neighbour was kind enough to give it to us as they had bought too many trees and couldn’t fit it in their yard. Unfortunately, we are likely going to have to either try to move it or take it out all together because it is located where we now plant to put our gazebo. We had avoided putting in anything permanent because our landscaping plans keep changing, but a tree was too good to pass up. Last year, it did produce some cherries in June but the birds got them first. Luckily it was only a few and we managed to get a few in July before the birds could get them. This year, we have quite a few little clusters and have been harvesting them as we see them ripen, once again hoping to beat the birds. So far so good.
Last year however, half the cherry tree died. We never determined the reason, but the branches that died had a lot of sap dripping down them and pooling where the branches meet the trunk. We looked for beetles and bugs and marks on the branches but only found a few ants. No visible damage to the branches. We half expected the tree to not come back this year, but it has come back healthier than ever. Hopefully it is healthy enough next spring that we can transplant it to a permanent home.
That’s it so far. We do have a few cucumbers growing, a few tomatoes waiting for a sunny, hot day to ripen and some peppers starting to grow. The carrots also look like they are ready for a first harvest, which we will likely do writhing the next week. Last year we didn’t harvest carrots until the end of July, so we are on track for an earlier harvest and hopefully a chance for another planting for fall harvest. The squash, zucchini and brussel sprouts are growing nicely and look happy. We can see the brussel sprouts starting to form on the stalk. We are hoping to start seeing veggies in the zucchini and squash plants soon. The potato plants are growing steadily and two of the towers have been topped up almost to the top of the planters. One is a little slower, but still growing. I am doubtful about my watermelon and sweet peppers. Maybe some heat and sun will get them going but so far they seem to be surviving but not really growing bigger.
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I keep harvest records by weight as well, and find it very useful. Knowing which variety produced best is definitely a plus when space is limited. I also use the numbers to help smooth out succession plantings so we have more even amounts of food coming into the kitchen, rather than a glut this month and little the next. Plus, it’s just interesting to see the comparisons from year to year! Your plants certainly look healthy and happy!
Thanks! We are also hoping to fine tune everything as we go to keep the food rolling into the kitchen. it will be interesting next year when we are determining more permanent homes for some of our plants in the new garden area. I also like looking at the measurements and comparing it to grocery store costs to see how much savings we had by growing our own food.