Harvest Totals for 2013

Our garden is covered in snow and I can't believe that its already January.  Many people are making goals for 2014 and reflecting on the past year.  Last night we sat down and discussed last years garden and then started making our plans based on what we learned.  We already know for certain that this summer is going to be busier than last year.  Therefore our big picture goal is to simplify for success.

Today I made charts of the quantity of harvested vegetables from our garden in 2013 (see below).  This chart then helps us plan for this upcoming year.  Its also a great quick visual reference.

We  started out challenging ourselves last year by adding 2 more raised beds to the existing 2 beds we had in 2012.  We could have stopped there but we decided to compound the challenge by growing a total of 25 different herbs and vegetables.  I will admit that we were overly ambitious.  At the same time we held realistic views of these challenges realizing that we would have failures with the variety and quantity we were taking on.  It is important to remember that every year you have some losses when you garden due to weather, water, pests or disease.  Remember to keep in mind that you will have more successes than losses!

Cauliflower destroyed by Garden Worms
Pests: Asparagus Beetles (Asparagus), Cucumber Beetles (Cucumbers), Garden Worms (Cauliflower) and the Squash Vine Borer (Zucchini) all showed up in the garden attacking their specific plants.  The Cauliflower was a complete loss however, the Cucumbers & Zucchini were both able to produce a decent amount before they were attacked.

Cucumber Beetles
Downy Mildew on Cucumber leaf
Disease: Powdry Mildew (Squash) and Downy Mildew (Cucumbers).  The Squash were able to do well despite the Powdry Mildew but the Cucumbers didn't fare so well with the Downy Mildew. 

Downy Mildew on Cucumber plants
Inadequately pollinated Burgess Squash
Plants that struggled to produce: Both the Winter Squash and the Watermelon produced a low quantity because they were inadequately pollinated.  This is due to the decline in bees (pollinators) which has been a common complaint of gardeners in recent years.  Last year I battled the same issue.  I tried to hand pollinate this year to remedy this problem, but I wasn't as dedicated as I needed to be. 

 Inadequately pollinated Butternut Squash
Plants that failed completely: Cauliflower and Corn.  The Cauliflower failed due to the Garden Worm (as I stated above).  The Corn was a different story.  We still don't know what happened.   It was difficult to grow in raised beds in the first place and we had to add support to each stalk.  It also takes up so much space and produces so little.  We had heard from friends that its difficult to grow unless you have a large crop and can allow for about 1/3rd of it to be lost.  At least we can say that we tried!
Sad results of Corn
Starting Plants from Seed: It was also the first year that we had started plants indoors from seed.  Normally we buy most of our plants at our local nursery. 

In 2013 we started the following plants indoors from seed: Basil, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Cucumber, Eggplant, Parsley, Peppers, Summer Squash, Tomatoes, Watermelon,Winter Squash, and Zucchini.  

Our challenge in starting plants from seed was discovered at the end of the season.  The warm weather crops such as: Peppers, Eggplant and Tomatoes didn't produce as well as those we bought had in past years.  I believe this was because the seedlings didn't have a warm enough environment (in our basement) so their growth was stunted.   All the other plants we started indoors (which were cool weather crops) were successful.  To remedy this issue we are moving the seed starting area from the basement to a room upstairs starting in March.  Hopefully this will make a difference!

2013 Starting seeds in basement
We had a very successful year gardening.  If we were to focus on the above challenges it would seem that we have had a fare share of losses.  However, one glance at the chart showing what the garden produced (below) reminds us that our organic garden had a very productive year.  Look below for our goals for 2014.

(NOTE: I made one other version of the chart showing the vegetables we harvested in 2013.  This chart has the same information as the first chart (shown at the beginning) the difference is the chart below visually shows the quantity of vegetables with pictures.  I think this is a more rewarding way to look at the harvest!)

1. Reduce variety of vegetables we grow to 15 types. 
2. Directly sow Cucumbers, Squash and Zucchini outdoors. 
3. Add watering system to the garden (soaker hoses?)
4. Move indoor seed starting area upstairs.
5. Purchase plants from our local nursery if needed.
5. Grow Lettuce for the first time!
6. Try new types of flowers in the beneficial flower beds. 
7. Design a simple kids garden.

No comments:

Post a Comment