So this is a shot of my garden right now! We had a lot of snow this week (record breaking amounts for December) and the 3 days of snow has been followed by temps in the 40’s so we have snow with an underlying layer of mud! I’m not going to be harvesting anything else from the garden for a bit! So I thought this week I would go ahead and do my 2015 year end garden wrap up post!
2015 was a decent year in the garden, but not a “banner” year. We harvested 701 pounds of veggies and fruit from the home garden (our second highest year ever) and 359 pounds from the borrowed garden space. Giving us a total of 1060 pounds, just more than ½ a ton! Not too bad. But our grand total was less than last year (our best year ever) by about 250 pounds. That difference came mostly from the lack of melons and pumpkins from the borrowed garden.
The first real bright spot in the garden this year was our raspberry patch. This patch was only in its second season and look at it. We planted all Caroline berries and they were the right choice for our hard clay soil! We harvested 26 pounds of berries from this patch this year, which more than doubles the biggest harvest we ever got at the old place. To say we are thrilled would be an understatement!
Next year we plan to let the patch expand a little more beyond its current size, but not much. And we are also hoping to get a wire trellis system in place to keep the plants supported better.
Okay, I realize everyone can grow a lot of Zucchini, but this year our crop was exceptionally goods. This one hill produced 112 pounds! The variety was Black Beauty and these two plants just thrived all summer! It was never our plan to have 10% of our harvest be zucchini, but some times that just happens! Good thing we like zucchini (I think our neighbors may disagree).
We love potatoes! Between all the potatoes and bread we eat around our place it is no wonder we both have to exercise 6 days a week to keep ourselves fit! It has been my goal, since we started growing potatoes 15 years ago, to grow enough potatoes to last us all year. I may have finally made it this year! Our total between the two gardens came in at 305 pounds.
The nice thing about the potatoes is we have had a continual supply of them since mid June. We did 3 separate plantings this year: 1. March 15th (these were ready to harvest on June 20th and lasted in the ground till July 27th). 2. May 14th (These were ready to harvest starting August 10th, and the harvest continued to September 14th). 3. June 1st (This planting was at the borrowed garden. They were ready the end of September and are the potatoes we are still eating now).
The 3 separate plantings was actually not on purpose but rather was the result of the 3 weeks of continual rain we had in May. But it worked out so well I’m going to try it again next year. It was also nice that we decided to sacrifice big potatoes from the May planting and instead used those potatoes all through the summer. It meant we have had potatoes to eat for almost 6 months now, with well over 100 pounds still in our make shift root cellar in this basement window well.
This was our best year ever for broccoli; both our spring and fall crops were bigger than we have ever had before. I have been adjusting the planting dates for our broccoli for many years and I think I have finally landed on the correct combination. Covering the spring crop with a fabric row cover until late May also helped the crop grow and protected the plants from our normal aphid infestation. Over all we came in with 30 pounds of broccoli from 3 different varieties.
We also had a nice year for green beans. For years our kids turned up their noses at any garden grown green beans. But for some reason (or maybe it was a miracle) they have all grown out of that dislike. So for the first year in about 6 years I planted a decent amount of green beans. We ended up with 16 pounds, not a huge amount, but decent and I even planted some pole beans for the first time in years.
The spring rain prevented us from getting our tomatoes planted until May 30th. That is 2 or 3 weeks behind schedule. So all summer long it felt like we were behind. Luckily we were blessed with a very mild and long fall (with a frost 40 days later than normal). The mild fall gave the plants time to mature and we ended up with about 175 pounds. Not our best year, but still pretty respectable. In fact we still have a few ripening in the garage that we may make into salsa before the year ends.
We also had a few other harvests that although not exceptional, still deserve mention. Those include popcorn (6.5 quarts of finished product), 3 different types of peas, a decent year of very tasty strawberries, a good year of onions, a slowing improving garlic harvest and a very dependable year of 45 pounds of cucumbers.
If you are interested in a break down of the whole years harvest click this link to take you to the summary page.
This year’s Losers
As with any year, there were also some disappointments.
All of that spring rain combined with some kind of vine wilt to give us our worst melon year since we began growing melons in our garden. Last year we grew 225 pounds of water melon. This year? 22 pounds. Yikes! We really only had one eatable water melon this year.
The late planting date doomed the Crenshaw melons, we only had 2 ripe melons totaling only 11 pounds. But the cantaloupe still did alright for us. The harvest was ½ what it was last year, but we still got 33 pounds, which would have been perfect had we also had watermelon to go with it.
Our goal most years is to have around 10 ripe pumpkins, for Halloween carving and for a big stock of seeds to eat. This year we only had 3 small pumpkins. The same wilt that knocked down the watermelons also hit the pumpkins. Both were planted at the borrowed garden, I think next year we will bring the pumpkins back home.
Next Years Plans
December and January are my months to dream and plan! I usually have some extra time off around the holiday were I get to sit and map out next year.
Some things I’m looking forward to for 2016 include:
- A new raised bed! We don’t know how many more years we will have the extra space available to us at the borrowed garden. So in an effort to increase our growing space here at home we are planning on adding a very large raised bed on the west side of the house. This will be in an area were we may also some day add a green house and some permanent cold frame beds. The first step in this project is to add an approximately 10 x 10 foot raised bed that we will use to bring back melons, pumpkins and some of the potatoes to the home garden.
- Grapes! We are hoping that we may have a few bunches of grapes on the plants we put in 3 years ago.
- Almonds. The almond tree that we planted when we moved in will also be reaching what we hope will be it’s first year of production
- Blackberries. The 3 surviving blackberry plants we put in last spring should take of this year and give us a small but welcome harvest.
- We also hope to update and improve the decorative planting areas in the yard this year. We are planning on adding some shade loving plants to the bed along the rock wall at the back of the yard, and we plan on adding several new shrubs (both decorative and fruit bearing) along with some roses and hibiscus.
Thanks so much for being a Stoney Acres reader. 2015 was our biggest year ever with more than double the readership of any other year!!