Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Garden: End of season recap

Now that our garden is about done for the season (I've started planting a Fall garden, but the first one is about done!) I wanted to see what was worth my while in planting.

Every year is so different in gardening, I have found it helpful to keep some notes during the year and compare year to year what works and is most cost and time effective to plant.

Here is what I harvested:

Broccoli: about 1 1/2 pounds (I learned that I harvested just a bit too early so our heads were smaller than they should have been - will try again next year!)
Green Beans: about 4 1/2 pounds
Onion: 60 over the course of several months. They all ended up being about the size of a golf ball or a little smaller.
Potatoes: about 5 pounds
Green Pepper: almost 20!
Red Pepper: 3
Corn: a few tiny half-formed ears
Tomatoes: from the nine plants I put in: two; from a variety of plants that came up volunteer: about 30 tomatoes (very small roma and cherry-size regular tomatoes)
Squash - zero

Zinnias - harvested at least one bouquet per week!
Sunflowers - my first success!

Here is what I spent vs. how much I got for it:

Broccoli: $6 for 18 plants ~ yielded 1 1/2 pounds = $4/lb.
Green Bean seeds: 0.75 ~ yielded 4 1/2 pounds and I had seeds leftover = less than .17/lb.
Onion: $3 for 60 starts ~ 0.05 per onion
Potatoes: about $2 ~ 0.40/lb.
Green Pepper: $5.50 for three plants ~ about 0.28/pepper
Red Pepper: $5.50 for three plants ~ $1.83/pepper
Corn: $1.28 for seeds ~ $1.28 for about a total of half an ear of corn
Tomatoes: $3 for nine plants (rest came up volunteer) ~ about .10 per tomato if you include the volunteer ones in decreasing the price per tomato
Squash: $2.00 for seeds ~ $2.00 for no produce!

Zinnias: $7.50 for 20 starts ~ have produced a full bouquet every week for a few months!
Sunflowers: $2.00 seeds from dollar store - produced a row of beautiful sunflowers!

After trying squash and corn for several years with pitiful results, I'm pretty sure I won't even try those again. Other things I felt were ok, green beans are obviously very cost effective and highly successful! Each year, I learn a bit more!

How has your garden been this year? Anyone else planting a fall garden? So far, I have planted green beans, pumpkins and carrots.


Wendi said...

It is certainly hit or miss on gardening. Our summer garden is starting to wind down. I might get one more picking from the green beans and there are still plenty of green tomatoes. Everything else is starting to die down.

I am hoping for a fall garden. It just needs to dry up enough to get things planted. I plan to put in at least carrots and beets. I have never done a fall garden and am anxious to see how it turns out.

Stephanie said...

My husband is planning the fall garden - I do not have a green thumb so about all I am good for is picking weeds and cooking what grows. :) We had a so-so crop of corn this summer - you have to plant quite a bit of it so that it all pollenates and grows and that takes up so much room when you have a little plot!

Unknown said...

Hi Monica!
I'm such a novice gardener (can you say, WEEDY!!)...I need a better plan next year for sure!! I DID get stuff and still am!!! I got TONS of zucchini (as always), my bush beans were eaten by deer *grr*, I have HUGE tomato plants w/ TONS OF HUGE TOMATOES but they are still green??? I'm not sure if it is the variety or the weather which has been cool...pie pumpkins & a couple giant pumpkins are coming...my green peppers are still little plants *boohoo* and the watermelon & cantaloupe and acorn squash I don't think made it..it has been SO COOL this summer in our area! I did get half a garden of sunflowers and hope to plant zinnia's IN my garden next year...
We put in a few strawberry plants and about half of them seem to be doing well...we got a FEW tiny berries from them this year but next year I hope they will be good...I want to put in spinach & broccoli next year, carrots and potatoes too...probably cucumbers but they are SO prolific, I usually don't know what to do with 'em all!!

Wow! How neat that you figured out what it cost/saved you! Great idea!


MrsCoach said...

We finally started growing some tomatoes around here...only 7 though. Zucchini and cukes... they were "no shows" at our picnic. Our peaches, however, are absolutely plentiful, with another tree still not harvested, but unfortunately, we're going to have to cut down one of our trees due to the bear destruction.
As far as our garden is concerned, we definitely lost money, and I'll only grow tomatoes next year. (although I really want to try strawberries and blueberries...I may do that!!) Our weather up here (north east coast) has been terrible all summer, so much rain, that everything is behind! Your green beans sound great!
Check out our gardening at: http://thecozycountryhome.blogspot.com/search/label/gardening

Mrs. K said...

We don't have a garden but I wanted to suggest next year starting your zinnia from seed. I did this two years ago and just put the seed in the ground (pretty late in the season I might add). I got a beautiful stand of zinnias! Seed would be a lot cheaper than starts, but you can't buy a bunch of pretty flowers for $7.50 so I'd still say you're ahead :o)

Are you planting at least two rows of corn? I've been told that you have to have pairs in order for pollination. Also, you might consider planting in bunches, maybe two half rows this week, then in about a week and a half to two weeks another half row. This way it's not all ready at once and you're not overwhelmed by eating it or putting it up.

heicoc said...

Our garden was pretty succesful so far...the farmer behind us got 1/4 of our gardnen with weed kill on accident but even with that we have harvested: 4 large zuchinni, 1 yellow squash, 2 little cantalopes, several strawberries, 3 peppers, about 15 small pumpkins - white and striped, and tons and tons of tomatos - grape, cherry, roma, lemonboy and beefstake - tons! I also used some herbs before they all died while we were on vacation. I haven't done a fall garden before...not sure what we could plant here maybe I will check into that! Love your postings of your garden and flowers!

connie said...

i LOVE how you have your garden divided into squares with the stones! we have raised beds, which are wonderful, but your idea is so cute!

we've had a cool summer here in wisconsin, so many crops have a much lower yield this year. peppers are doing just okay and i do have lots and lots of tomatoes and zucchini, but not so good for my cucumbers and eggplant. i planted some basil seeds not long ago which will be ready for a fall harvest - i love making batches of pesto and freezing in ice cube trays.

i'm sure your garden season is longer in south carolina. we visited greenville and charleston over easter (also went to savannah and st. augustine) and fell in love with south carolina. we would love to live in the greenville area someday!!

Patty said...

My garden this year has been a very big success! Two weeks ago I began my fall garden of carrots, spinach, lettuce and radishes. In my area, Texas, the August sun can kill newly emerging seeds so we rigged up a shade which has worked wonders. Here is a link if you are interested in reading about it.


I have learned a lot from my garden and hope to increase the size greatly next year.

Cheryl said...

Encouraging you to not give up on the carrots and the squash.
We had a garden last summer and we started carrots from seed. They didn't get very big, but we harvested them anyway. We didn't do a garden this year. Too many other things that required time ande energy around the exterior of the house.
I do plan on doing a soil test before we plant next summer though. The acidity and PH and all that good stuff in the soil have something to do with whether you are successful with stuff you planted or maybe those two just don't grow well in your region.
All this to say, I have enjoyed you sharing your harvest throughout the season. Good luck with your fall garden.

Unknown said...

Here in Minnesota we aren't to the end of our garden season yet, but I'm starting to make notes too.

I've never had any luck with broccoli. I keep thinking I must be doing something wrong! Last year my squash vines died early due to some fungus. But this year they were thriving until powdery mildew hit. Now I'm nursing them along, trying to save the vines for long enough that the MANY squash can ripen. I am hopeful.

Isn't it amazing how gardening can change from year to year!

Also, I've had a lot of luck sowing Zinnias right in my flower bed in the spring. They grow abundantly all summer/fall. Seeds would decrease your cost per bouquet, although you've certainly gotten your money out of the zinnia starts.

Thanks for a look into your garden this summer! Good luck on the fall garden, I look forward to seeing how it grows.

Blissful & Domestic said...

that is awesome. I can't wait to plant a garden of my own when we have our own house

Sharon said...

Monica, your efforts seemed to be very productive even with the learning experiences. I also keep a garden journal and still am learning from trial and error after all these years. Thanks again for sharing.

Bonnie said...

I never actually sat down and figured it out, but I would say we have certainly got our monies worth every year we have done a garden. I have never done a fall garden, and I think it's to late to get one in now, as we have had snow in the beginning of October before, but I may still spring for a few rows of peas.

Anonymous said...

I have very little experience gardening; however, I have had tremendous success in growing green and red bell peppers in containers. We have enjoyed fresh peppers for the past few months.

*carrie* said...


This was very interesting. I'll show this to Eric and see if we can come up with similar info.

We're getting tomatoes, onions, peppers and a few straggling beans. Potatoes coming soon!

Bridgett said...

very inspiring! Can't wait til I can plant my own garden! (we live in an apartment)

Monica Wilkinson said...

Thanks for all the great comments!

I have tried zinnia seeds and the results were disappointing. They did grow and bloom, but the blooms were about one inch across and all were either purple or orange.

With the starts, we got brilliant and big blooms! So, it is worth it to me not to do zinnia seeds.

Good suggestions on the corn - I did plant four or five thick rows of corn hoping that would increase our chances of success - but I think I'm over wanting to keep trying! I'll be happy to buy this at the Farmer's Market!

Elise said...

So when did you plant your pumpkins?? I got a seed packet for them but it looks to take about 3 months to harvest and at this point looks too late. Green beans grow in the fall?? I guess I haven't thought of them as a fall veggie...Not that I really know anything about gardening...
Love the flower bouquets!!

Anonymous said...

I have never posted before but absolutely love your blog and the homey feel of it! Just a comment on the Zinnas. A friend told me this year she lets her Zinnas go at the end of the season let them turn brown -whatever, and then cuts off the top I think around frost time. Saves them in her basement. I would lay them out and next year she crumbles them up as seeds - Her Zinnas were beautiful. I want to try it this year and see how it goes here.

Neighbor Jane Payne said...

But you forgot to calculate how happy it made you to do all of this!

I'm glad you're gardening and love the phrase "a seed is a dime's profit to one and a miracle to another" . . . glad you enjoyed your garden so much.

I love our garden, too.

Ruth said...

This is my second year trying squash and corn with very sad results. I would like to try them one more time since I think I have learned a couple of things to maybe help with them next year. This is my second year in a long time having a garden. I started everything from seed this year with heirloom seeds. I have a lot to learn still.


angie said...

Our "garden" this year consisted of 3 jalepeno plants in a large container. My kids' enthusiasm over tending and harvesting this plant leads me to believe that we must plant a real garden next year. I am thinking of raised beds so that I can improve the soil.
Every year I intend to make notes on the flowers I grow and their degree of success. It is wonderful that you chronicle that info on your blog so that you can easily access it next year.

Anonymous said...

I live in central Texas. Our garden burned up this year. Even with watering it most every day it was just too hot too early. We have had 65+ days of heat over 100 here. No rain in months. We are in a stage 2 drought condition. I am sad to say our garden was very expensive this year. I think we got a total of 1/2 pound of beans, 3 tomatoes (from more than 30 plants) and no peppers, squash, or okra. I know we will try again next year. (we are doing a fall garden just as soon was we go 2 days in a row below 105. Saturday it was 109 here. Roxie

Anonymous said...

We grow "early dividend" broccoli. We start our own veggie and flower plants under regular old fluorescent shop lights set on a timer. This variety seems especially prolific with side chutes and keeps producing for weeks after you harvest the main head. We have maybe 10 plants in the garden and in one night I picked 6 pounds of side shoots! It's very tasty too! Good luck with your fall garden!

Jenny said...

We have such a long winter where I live--everything I've planted has only now started to grow/bloom: zucchini, yellow squash, tomatoes, cucumbers, pumpkins, sunflowers, zinnias, etc. So, I guess I AM growing a fall garden (even though I planted in the spring). :)

barbara said...


I have been gardening for 4 years and this is the first year that I've had more than a handful of tomatoes - enough to make sauce this week. Don't give up. Move things around to see if they will grow better in different spots. I've found that to be so true with many things!

Check out some library books about companion planting - I have found that method works great for me.

Best wishes for your Fall garden. For the first time, I'm gonna try this too, but in MI, I still have a Summer garden growing and blooming.

Jenn said...

I have a question regarding your potatoes. How long was it from planting time until harvest time for yours?