Friday, January 4, 2013

Tracking the Harvest: December 2012

In spite of the shortened days and colder weather of early winter, the garden continues to do just fine. My yard's December havest total was13.25 kg, which converts to 29 pounds, 3.4 oz.
The grand total harvested weight (for what I remembered to weigh) of food from the yard for 2012 was 199.4 kg., which converts to 439 pounds, 9 oz.

Here is the breakdown, in kilograms, for what was harvested in the final month of the year:

Bok Choy
Radish, winter
Persimmons, Asian
beets plus greens

I'm always a little conflicted about using weight as a benchmark for gardening success, since there is so much more to celebrate about good food than how much it weighs. Some crops that don't add much to the weight total at all, considering the large space they occupy, are totally worth growing because of their amazing flavor. Raspberries are among the low-yielding, highly-treasured space-hogs in my yard.

Popcorn is another crop that produces relatively little in terms of pounds per square foot of crop, but I think it's totally worth growing in my garden. If all my crops had that same characteristic of low yield in terms of final, harvested weight, I'd still think my garden was a big success.

Also, if I met a local gardener who'd managed to bring in a great crop of celery, regardless of what else was grown or how much it all weighed, I would count that as a huge success!

My current variety of Bok Choy produces plenty per square foot. The plant (harvested yesterday) in the photo at the top of this post weighed 1.5 kg., which is almost too much for us to eat before it wilts. Some of this plant ended up in the freezer, but bok choy freezes less-well than some other greens.

Next year, I'm thinking about changing to a variety that stays more consistently smaller. That could bring the total harvested weight down, but the amount of food harvested at one time would be more appropriate for my family's use. 

I think that my point (if there is one) is that determining what-constitutes-success for an individual gardener can be a little complex. As we start a New Gardening Year, I hope that all of us gardeners are as successful as we hope to be, in the multiple ways that we measure success!

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