Thursday, September 22, 2011
How Much Does a Garden Grow: Cucumbers
The cucumbers finished up a couple of weeks ago, and it was another good cuke year, thanks to the cucumber trellis, picured above. (Again, another year's photo since I didn't take a picture of cukes this year.) The ability to grow my cucumbers "up" instead of letting them lie on the ground means that I lose fewer of them to disease or critters, and the vines stay healthy longer. What you see above is a great example. That photo is from a year that the vines got some powdery mildew on them, but it didn't affect the fruits, and it didn't kill the plant since the trellises kept them aired out. I really had no powdery mildew on the cukes this year, and next to no cucumber beetles.
Consequently, I brought in 79 cucumbers totalling 19 pounds, 12 ounces. I found a mid-season price on non-organic cukes (again!) at 99 cents per pound, making our total value $19.55. I planted the equivalent of one package of seeds, so $3.69. Total net value, $15.86. (And remember, this would be higher if organic cukes had been readily available when I wanted them in the store.)
However, cucumbers are another example of the benefits of the garden. Would I buy 20 pounds of cucumbers if I didn't garden? Almost certainly not. But since I did have them, the generated two forms of savings that are hard to quantify:
1. As long as cucumbers are in season, they form the backbone of my lunch, usually along with some cheese or meat. As I noted in the linked post, I can have a pretty significant lunch with some tasty additions from the meat and cheese aisles and still bring the meal in under $1. For me, cucumbers replace sandwich bread or pasta at lunch time. If they replace, for you, a lunch in a restaurant, the actual savings is even greater.
2. I put up several jars of cucumber relish this year. Other years, I put up pickles. Regardless, these jars will compliment our meals all winter, serve as gifts for friends and family, and perhaps be sold at holiday craft fairs. The value-add of making a pickle product really boosts the value of the garden.
So, in sum:
2011 Tally to Date: 77.18 lbs of crops; $93.71 saved
Stay tuned: we still have onions, leeks, and tomatoes to tally when they all finish.
Posted by Jennifer Lorenzetti at 9:23 AM