Saturday, September 14, 2013

Harvest 2013

The season is pretty much over. Tomatoes got hit by blight, squash were exhausted, and all that's left are the pepper plantation going strong, and a couple butternuts still maturing.

At the beginning of August, I estimated we'd harvested about a hundred bucks' worth of produce, roughly equal to what I'd spent on seeds, plants and supplies (although I actually spent about $9 more than projected, but getting extra manure).

Total summer squash, 20 pounds, for a total of $40 for the season.

Garlic (3 heads for a dollar for main crop only) = $20
Plus about 60 smaller heads from the volunteers

Onions (guesstimating at $1 a pound) = $10

Cucumbers (6 at $1 each) = $6

Banana peppers (82, probably 14 pounds, $1/lb) = $14

Ace peppers (150, some small, so let's say 4 for a buck) = $37

Jetstar tomatoes (70), at least $35

Butternut squash (23, each at least two pounds), $46

Green tomatoes, 6 pounds (made 4 quarts of mincemeat, with enough tomatoes to make two more batches in the future), $6

For a total of about $215. With another $50 or so of peppers and squash to be harvested, plus the peak of the swiss chard still to come, and some assorted lettuces and herbs. All told, probably $300 worth of produce, against $100 in expenses. Probably the best year in quite a while for the recovery garden. It doesn't sound like a lot, but a) the prices I used were quite conservative, so it could easily be twice that in value, b) the dollars don't take into consideration the value of flavor and freshness, and c) there was additional value in the getting me out into the garden for sunshine and a little activity.

We've eaten most of the produce, except for the garlic, the butternuts, ten peppers that I dehydrated, and about 30 peppers and a similar number of tomatoes that I froze. I've still got some pickled peppers, and a bunch of frozen zucchini for winter zuccini  bread.

Addendum on November 3, 2013:

We harvested an additional 60 (sixty!) banana peppers, for a couple quarts more of pickled peppers, and some were sauteed and frozen with the Ace peppers

We harvested an additional 130 Ace peppers (for a total of close to 300!), many of which were sauteed and coated in tomato puree and frozen for future soup/chili. I also dried another 20 or so peppers, in addition to the original 10, for when I run out of the sauteed/frozen ones.

I had frozen enough zucchini for three batches of bread, and I've got a monster yellow zucchini still sitting on the counter. I only realized last year just how well over-sized zucchinis will store on the counter. This one should be good until December or possibly January, if I don't make it into zucchini bread for holiday giving.

I also made green tomato jam from the left-over tomatoes. Might try green tomato relish next year instead.

Swiss chard is still producing. Not as luxurious as in some years, since we'd been in something of a drought throughout October. Depending on the weather, though, there should be a nice little harvest for Thanksgiving.

The variety of sage that I stumbled across this year is particularly pretty -- very large, rounded leaves. Dries nicely.