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.
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  1. Cucumber harvests seem to have run hot and cold this summer. I had a total of, say, 12. My mom had about 4 or 5 bushels. Thank goodness she lives close and is generous with her produce. :)

  2. At least you got enough cukes to go with each of your Amish Paste tomatoes, if I remember right! :-)

  3. A normal sized green cucumber here costs about $1.60 each! I got about 14 cucumbers with a $2.50 plant from a girl earning some pocket money. So I'm very happy with my small but beneficial harvest.

    I pulled it out last week and used the chicken wire for my snake beans. They are 6 weeks old and I picked my 1st 10 this week. Next week I should get 20 snake beans. And those seeds were free :-)

  4. We love cucumbers but I'm not liking the higher prices at the grocery store. This year we didn't plant them. Our loss. :o(