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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

How Much Does a Garden Grow? September 2013

Wow, am I ever behind on this column!  But this is the week that I catch up on my garden tally, and it is time to talk about September!

September was all about finishing up the big crop hauls, and that meant squashes and tomatoes.

Squash:  
Butternut:  191 ounces (11.9 pounds); retail value $36.29
Other squash (spaghetti, pumpkin): 201 ounces (12.5 pounds); retail value $38.19

As always, the squash gave an enormous return on investment; I bought about 3 packs of seeds and had the rest from my seed-saving efforts, so I spent at most $6-7 on seed.  The squash will be an incredible bonus through the winter, because they keep so well in a cool, dry place and become the basis of soups, side dishes, and baked goods.

Tomatoes:
Brandywine:  55 ounces (3.4 pounds); retail value $12.10
Hungarian: 80 ounces (5 pounds); retail value $17.60
Ox Heart:  92 ounces (5.75 pounds); retail value $20.24
Italian:  212 ounces (13.25 pounds); retail value $46.64
Big Daddy:  234 ounces (14.6 pounds); retail value $51.48
Black Krim:  109 ounces (6.8 pounds); retail value $23.98
Amish Paste:  97 ounces (6.1 pounds); retail value $21.34
Super Sauce:  81 ounces (5.1 pounds); retail value $17.82

I grew the Ox Heart from seed, and I had about four plants going.  Otherwise, I ordered all the plants, and I had three of each variety.  Counting shipping, you can estimate that each variety cost about $12 in plants, so at least all of my tomatoes turned a profit.

On the other hand, my goal is to get 10 pounds of tomatoes from each plant, and none of my plants did that.  The closest were the Big Daddy and the Italian.  Big Daddy is a definite keeper, because it produced lovely tomatoes (I believe most of the tomatoes in the photo are Big Daddy).  I was not crazy about the Italian tomato, which was unremarkable in taste or looks.

Both Super Sauce and Amish Paste are wonderful tomatoes, so they remain on the list for next year, and Black Krim is my gourmet favorite that I would grow at a loss if I had too.  I probably will not grow the Hungarian again, for the same reasons as the Italian -- given that I failed last year with Ukrainian Purple, I am officially calling a halt to tomatoes named for places.  The Brandywine was a luscious tomato, and I will grow that again.

What will I do to increase yield?  Well, I realized from other gardeners that I've let the soil get too dense, as it has been a few years since I've added peat moss.  I will do so this coming season.  And I will discipline myself to remove some of the suckers; I understand they can be rooted to form additional plants.  Again, the goal is 10 pounds per plant next year.

Final September tally for the year:
Total Ounces of Harvest: 3,523
Total Pounds of Harvest: 220.1875
Value of Harvest:  $724.94
Total Profit:  $446.24

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4 comments:

  1. Hello! Found your blog via a link that Grit Magazine shared on Facebook. Thanks for this breakdown! I've always wondered if it was "worth it" money-wise to grow some of the things I grow.

    For big tomato yield, you might want to try San Marzano's, for sauce. I got 47 pounds off one plant!

    -Melissa
    forgottenskillsfarm.com

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    1. I definitely have room to try another tomato since Italian and Hungarian are now off the team, so I'll put San Marzano on the list. Thanks!

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  2. I too found you from the Grit share on Facebook. Good job keeping track.. its something I always say I want to do but then I get lost in the garden, time slips away and so by the time I make it to the house record keeping is the last thing on my mind. ;)
    I wanted to suggest a tomato variety called Mortgage Lifter. I did weigh a few of those tomatoes because they are HUGE and they can easily weigh 1 lb to over 2 lbs each tomato. I believe that seed came from Seed Savers.

    Heather-Frizzled Farm

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    1. Thanks for the suggestion, Heather. Unfortunately, I tried Mortgage Lifters for about 3-4 years in the hopes they would live up to their name, and, sadly, they don't love my microclimate. I'm glad they love yours, though!

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