April Harvest 2015

I have to admit, I am having so much fun watching the total harvest pounds and dollars add up for 2015. As always, a disclaimer: we aren’t actually selling this produce–just calculating how much we would have had to spend if we had purchased it.

The raspberries and strawberries have come on earlier and stronger this year, as have the mulberries. The loquats on the other hand are abysmal; the tree appears to be dying. Kelly, being the passionate pruner that she is, is hatching plans to renovate the tree in hopes of bringing it back to some semblance of health (or at least sickly determination).

On the chicken front, Luma, now over 3 years old, is laying better than ever. One of the fun things about keeping good harvest records, is being able to remind oneself of last year’s numbers. Luma laid 17 eggs last April compared to 21 eggs this month.

Maybe it’s the treat mix Kelly lovingly concocts and sprinkles in the run each morning and evening, or maybe it’s genetic luck, but Luma is not abiding by the common wisdom that chickens stop laying after 2-3 years. You go, girl!

We continued harvesting honey in April on a frame-by frame basis. Sadly, due to California’s terrible drought, plants that would normally bloom in summer here, are blooming now. As a result, the bees had some unusual April food sources. Several of the hives were bursting with honey when I went in to inspect, and there will be May honey harvests too.

  • Asparagus ‘Farmer’s Favorite’: 0.59 lbs. (@$7.99/lb.=$4.71)
  • Beet ‘?’: 0.30 lbs. (@$3.98/lb=$1.19)
  • Beet greens: 0.64 lbs. (@$4.98/lb.=$3.19)
  • Cabbage ‘Parel’: 3.30 lbs. (@$1.49/lb.=$4.92)
  • Chard ‘Fordhook’: 1.50 lbs. (@$4.98/lb.=$7.47)
  • Cilantro: 0.14 lbs. (@3.58/lb.=$0.50)
  • Dinosaur kale ‘Niro di Toscano’: 0.69 lbs. (@$4.98/lb.=$3.44)
  • Eggs (Barred Rock 21; Welsummer 26; Ameraucana 20): 67 (@$0.37/egg=$25.07)
  • Fennel ‘Perfection’: 0.08 lbs. (@$2.49/lb.=$0.20)
  • Honey: 4.5 lbs. (@$10.00/lb.=$45.00)
  • Kale ‘Wild Kale Blend’: 0.40 (@$4.98/lb.=$1.99)
  • Kale ‘Winterbor’: 2.72 lbs. (@$4.98/lb.=$13.55)
  • Lettuce ‘Heirloom Blend’: 0.12 lbs. (@$5.99/lb.=$0.72)
  • Lime ‘Bearrs’: 0.56 lbs. (@$0.60/lb.?=$0.34)
  • Loquat: 0.24 lbs. (@$4.99/lb.?=$1.20)
  • Miner’s Lettuce: 0.29 lbs. (@$5.99/lb.?=$1.74)
  • Mustard ‘Ruby Streaks’: 0.04 lbs. (@$5.99/lb.=$0.24)
  • Onion ‘California Red’: 0.17 lbs. (@$2.98/lb.=$0.51)
  • Onion ‘Red Amposta’: 0.19 lbs. (@$2.98/lb.=$0.57)
  • Mint: 0.002 lbs. (@1.99/bunch=$1.99)
  • Mulberry ‘Pakistan Fruiting’: 1.37 lbs. (@$4.99/lb.?=$6.84)
  • Navel orange: 7.12 lbs. (@$2.49/lb.=$17.73)
  • Oregano: 0.01 lbs. (@$1.99/bunch=$1.99)
  • Parsley ‘Dark Green Italian Plain’: 0.14 lbs. (@$3.58/lb.=$0.50)
  • Raspberry ‘Autumn Bliss’ ‘Autumn Britten’ ‘Tulameen’: 0.36 lbs. (@$10.64/lb.=$3.83)
  • Rosemary: 0.03 lbs. (@$1.99/bunch=$1.99)
  • Snap pea ‘Sugar Snap’: 0.15 lbs. (@$5.99/lb.=$0.90)
  • Spinach ‘?’: 0.09 lbs. (@$5.99/lb.=$0.54)
  • Spring onion ‘Purplette’: 0.31 lbs. (@$2.98/lb.=$0.92)
  • Strawberry ‘Seascape’ and ‘Albion’: 3.25 lbs. (@$4.99/lb.=$16.22)
  • Thyme: 0.002 lbs. (@$1.99/bunch=$1.99)

Produce total: 24.8 lbs. ($101.92)

Egg count: 67 ($25.07)

Honey: 4.5 lbs. ($45)

2015 produce total: 394.67 lbs. ($667.78)

2015 egg count: 158 ($55.10)

2015 honey harvest: 135.25 lbs. ($1352.50)

The pomegranate is covered in blossoms. Hope we get more this year!

The pomegranate is covered in blossoms. Hope we get more fruit this year!

We're letting this year-old patch of 'Purplette' onions go to seed. They're our favorite, and they're open pollinated, so we can stop buying new seed packets and save our own instead.

We’re letting this year-old patch of ‘Purplette’ onions go to seed. They’re our favorite, and they’re open pollinated, so we can stop buying new seed packets and save our own instead.

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I’m hard pressed to think of something more lovely than onion blossoms at close range.

 

The strawberry plants must be at least 3 years old, but they're beating the odds and have a higher yield this year than in the past.

The strawberry plants must be at least 3 years old, but they’re beating the odds and have a higher yield this year than in the past.

6 Responses to April Harvest 2015

  1. I’m enjoying following along. It’s great that you’re spreading the message about how much awesome food can be produced this way.

    Here in southern Virginia we have lettuce and asparagus and not much else right now. But our radishes, kale and asian greens should be ready soon and now is the time to start planting our hot weather crops.

    • Thanks for following along, Bill! It is truly amazing how much awesome food can be grown in relatively small spaces. I enjoy weighing and recording and calculating as a way of spreading the message, as you say, but also as a way of record keeping for next year, and motivating myself to stay more on top of garden chores. It’s fantastically satisfying to watch the pounds and dollars grow :).

      But maybe I’m just weird :). Kelly thinks scribbling everything down on the calendar is rather useless, and only weighs produce out of deference to my obsession around it!

  2. Another amazing crop, well done! 30 years or more ago most serious gardeners in the UK kept a garden diary that covered every aspect from planning and setting up to cultivation and I think it’s something lost on most these days. With climate change a reality it’s so important to know you can enjoy fresh produce grown just outside your own door because the day may come in the not too distant future when such fruits and veggies will be a luxury for most.

    You’ll hopefully discover Luma is still a spring chicken with many years of egg laying to come. My Ella is at least 5 and still producing and little Squeak my Belgian d’anver over 10 years old and although becoming a little tired recently still managed to fly on to my shoulder this afternoon as I cleaned out the hen house and run. 2 weeks ago she was popping out the occasional egg too so definitely ‘Go Luma!’

    • Thanks, Jackie! Do you keep records of your garden? I am always curious to know how others do this (or don’t!), and why they’re motivated (or aren’t!). Kelly is still convinced it’s a waste of our time to weigh things as we harvest them, but I am rather oddly passionate about it.

      I certainly hope our girls will keep laying for years to come. I’m glad to hear yours have. We have friends whose top hen, “Sweetie,” ruled the flock until about the age of 13. She continued laying throughout her life and was also known for killing rats that entered the coop snooping for eggs! Apparently one stunning peck to the head followed by picking the rodent up by its nose and shaking until its neck breaks does the trick :). I only wish our girls were that badass!

  3. Wow, I can hardly keep up on tediously weighing everything and but seeing the extra step of tracking cost is just beyond me! I’ll just let you do that and take away the knowledge that my garden does save me money!

    • 🙂 I drive Kelly nuts with all my calculations! It remains to be seen if the garden saves us any money. My goal next year is to start calculating our monthly expenditures related to the garden, bees, and chickens. I strongly suspect that the chickens will turn out to cost us more than the eggs are technically “worth.” If we don’t factor in all the time we spend beekeeping, and if we actually start selling more honey, the bees might make us money. We shall see :).

      I think just weighing your harvest is important too. It’s a great way of keeping track of the best producing varieties in the garden.

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