Our Second Growing Season

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“The are no gardening mistakes, only experiments.” – Janet Kilburn Phillips         

A couple of days ago we harvested the last of our carrots and prepped our raised bed gardens for the long winter ahead. This November marked the end of our second year of serious gardening and we continue to be thrilled and humbled by this endeavor. Last year we recapped some of the lessons we learned, but this year we thought we would take a different approach and try and figure out the monetary value of what we grew. Although we are more motivated by the intrinsic value of gardening, we were curious about the financial benefit as well.

Measuring

A beautiful crop of red radishes was our first harvest of the spring and as we pulled them out of the ground we decided on a whim to weigh them. The weight went up on our kitchen’s chalkboard wall and somewhat unintentionally a summer full of counting, weighing and recording was born. We were a little haphazard in our decision making as we decided to record some items by weight and others by quantity, but we just went with it. We only recorded the produce that came into the house, so when worms took out a good bit of our kale, that went in the compost and not up on the board.

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Results

Here are the final tallies for our 2017 growing season, along with an approximate retail value, which we arrived at through some online research and store surveys.

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Our inputs for the season were about $180, which included topsoil, straw mulch, seeds and tomato cages. (We ended up abandoning the “Florida Weave” method we tried last year, and really like the cages.) So we saved about $300 through our garden, even with a few huge disappointments including Brussels sprouts, cucumbers and broccoli. The tomatoes and summer squash were our real standouts, both in terms of flavor and quantity. 

How did your growing season go this year? What worked? What didn’t? Feel free to comment below!