Wow, where did 2014 go? For some reason this year just flew by for me! We have now been settled at the new place for well over a year and had our first full year of gardening in the new garden.
For those of you that are new to us Stoney Acres moved about 18 months ago, the first summer (2013) that we lived here we were only able to get a small patch of grass dug up for garden space. In 2013 we borrowed some garden space from a friend. So this year was really the first full year of gardening at the new space. Over all we have a much smaller yard to garden in at this house so I was a little worried about whether we would be able to grow as many veggies, but the new space held it’s own against our old garden. In fact this was our second biggest year ever with our garden totals coming in at just over 710 pounds. Add to that the fact that we also used the borrowed garden again this year and our harvest total was 1330 pounds from the combined gardens.
So here is our 2014 garden year in review!
Let’s start with the borrowed garden. This year we used the borrowed space for strictly big space loving staple crops. So we planted only 6 crops here. Sweet Corn, potatoes, cantaloupe, watermelon and Crenshaw melons. We also had a few tomato plants here that Leo (the land owner) gave us late in the season. They didn’t get planted until July so we only got a little bit from them.
The potatoes were the highlight of this garden. 147 pounds total, about 30 of those were russets, the rest were red pontiac. We are still eating from that stock of potatoes and will for a couple more months!
The melon production was fair this year. We had a very strange cool, wet summer and that caused a little havoc with the melons. The lack of heat this year I think really affected the taste of all the melons. They were good, but not their normal FANTASIC! The lack of heat also really affected the Crenshaw melons. We never really got a 100% perfectly ripe yellow melon. We did end up with about 8 that ripened enough to eat, but Crenshaws like long hot summers and we just didn’t have that this year.
On the fun side we did have more melons that we could have possibly ever eaten so we were able to offer a bunch for sale to our neighbors! We ended up getting $72.00 over the course of the season so that was enough to cover the cost of all the new fruit trees we bought this year!
Also on the good side was the fact that the slightly cooler wet weather really helped the sweet corn. We planted Serendipity this year and had a great harvest with a total of 120 ears of corn.
So the totals for the borrowed garden were as follows:
Corn 59.50 lbs
Watermelon 225.50 lbs
Cantaloupe 132.50 lbs
Crenshaw 35.00 lbs
Potatoes 147.00 lbs
Tomatoes 20.75 lbs
Total 620.25 lbs
Soil quality is always a concern with a new garden and that was the case with us this year. Despite bringing in a whole load of organic compost I still felt like most of our plants suffered from our newly tilled heavy clay soil. Next year I think we will need 2 loads of compost!!
Over all the garden really did pretty well, but I could see some differences caused by the soil. For example we had the same number of cucumber plants that we always plant but our harvest this year was ½ the usual. Also I would have expected more and larger tomatoes from the 16 plants that we put in. We ended up with 200 pounds of tomatoes but I was expecting closer to 300. So I guess it will take a few years of amending our soil to get it up to where it should be!
The only big disappointment at the home garden was the few melon plants we put in here. My plan for the year was for us to eat the melons from the home garden and sell all the melons from the borrowed garden. But we ended up only getting one ripe melon from the home garden and I think that was a combination of the poor soil and weird August weather. Had we gotten a decent melon harvest I think we would have been looking at a total harvest from the home garden closer to 850 pounds.
So enough complaining, what about the positive stuff from the home garden this year? Let’s start with tomatoes! Even though it was smaller than I had hoped for we still had our best tomato harvest ever. 200 pounds beats our old record by 50 pounds.
We also had our first successful year growing some heirloom tomatoes. We planted Brandy Wine and loved them!! They will be a definite keeper in our rotation of tomatoes. They are big and tasty!!
Broccoli was another highlight! Because of the cooler weather our spring planting of broccoli continued to produce side shoots well into September! That is unheard of for us. We ended the year with 17 pounds from the two plantings (spring and fall).
The new strawberry patch also did really well. 33 pounds from a 4 by 12 foot bed and the berries stayed sweet all season this year. I think the berries may be the one plant that actually likes the soil in the new garden!
We had a bumper crop of lettuce this year. We totaled over 26 pounds spread out across the year. The overwintered lettuce in the cold frames did fantastic, we had spring planted lettuces until June, followed by summer crisp lettuce all summer and we are still harvesting the fall plantings form the cold frames all the way into December!
Pop corn was by far our favorite crop this year. We more than doubled our former record with 17 pounds of raw corn and 11 pounds of “finished” product! That will be enough popcorn to cover all our snacking needs until next summer. Valerie has told me that she wants to double our harvest again next year so that we can give popcorn out as Christmas gifts to friends and neighbors! So I guess I have my work cut out for me next summer!
A few other highlights included a really good beet harvest, some beautiful kohlrabi and a great crop of onions and garlic!
2014 was a fantastic year in our garden and we feel blessed to have the space, time and desire to grow our own veggies! There is no rest for the weary gardener though! Only 20 more days until it is time to start the first seedlings for next years garden!! Thanks to all our readers! We so appreciate you joining us often on our little blog!!
Home Garden Totals
Cold Frame Carrots 17.75
Ripened Green Tomatoes 4.00
Cold Frame Spinach 10.74
Spring Lettuce 19.83
Shelling Peas 16.75
Snow Peas 5.33
Sunflower Seeds 2.00
Cold frame Potatoes 28.00
Green Onions 1.08
Broccoli (fall & spring) 17.02
Green Beans .30
Fall Potatoes 40.00
Bell Peppers 13.66
Fall Lettuce 6.25
Various Herbs 3.45
Fall Greens .35