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Wednesday, September 14, 2016

How Much Does a Garden Grow: August 2016

Right now, the garden is like a metaphor for my entire financial life.  With the exception of my primary business (thank heavens), every single one of my side businesses have taken simply forever to get into the black this year. The garden has been no exception. Where I should be ending August with over $300 in savings/profit, I'm actually ending the month just $13 to the good. That's pretty discouraging.

Part of it is the need for a complete garden overhaul. Mr. FC&G and I have been having a debate over the usefulness of an oak tree in the back yard.  When we moved in 15 years ago, this tree was small enough to allow two big areas of ground that received 14 or more hours of sunlight during high season. I was able to put a raised bed in one of the areas and a big garden in the other.

Today, the oak shades both areas so much that I have half the garden size that I once did, and the raised bed (and my clothes line) gets no sun at all. Mr. FC&G had the tree trimmers thin the tree out last year, but it is still casting a lot of shade. This is great if your dream is to have a shade-dappled back yard, but if you want as much sun for yourself and your garden as possible, it is a nightmare.

I want that tree gone.  We have two humongous pine trees, a mature sweet gum, at least one mature maple, and another mature oak elsewhere on the property. This tree isn't pretty, it isn't useful, and I want it gone. It may look like a lovely tree to some, but it looks like firewood on the hoof to me. Stay tuned.

The upshot is that the garden was not terribly productive. Oh, the tomatoes did OK; since I grew most of them from saved seed, they were profitable, and even the ones I purchased were largely profitable. Cucumbers and zucchini were my saving grace, even though my Straight Eight cukes failed this year, making for a very small pickle batch. The beans have grown and flourished and not given a single bean until last week (the middle of September), when the shade finally shifted so that they got more than 8 hours of sunshine during the day.

All in all the garden kept us fed, but it did little more. I'm still hopeful for my "winter garden" (with tomatoes in a container, pictured above) and the sunroom crops to boost us a little more into the black. But in a year in which we really could have used a robust way to slash the food bill, it just didn't happen.

Sigh.

Cumulative Totals

Total Ounces Harvested: 1058.5
Total Pounds Harvested: 66.15625

Total Value of Harvest: $246.49

Total Expenditures: ($232.88)

Total Profit: $13.61
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