December Harvest and 2014 Farm Stats

Happy New Year to you and your garden/farm/homestead/piece of earth!

It was a wonderful year for us in many ways, and we continue to believe that growing food really matters. We are grateful and feel energized to begin a productive new year and to continue learning and growing.

Here’s the December harvest scoop:

  • Asparagus ‘Farmer’s Favorite’: .13 lbs.
  • Basil ‘Aroma 1’: .06 lbs.
  • Butter lettuce: .75 lbs.
  • Cabbage ‘Parel’: 11.25 lbs.
  • Carrot ‘Nantaise’ (with tops): 1.5 lbs.
  • Eggs (Ameraucana 13; Welsummer 6): 20
  • Green onion ‘Purplette’: .86 lbs.
  • Kale ‘Wild Kale’: 1.6 lbs.
  • Kale ‘Winterbor’: 1.34 lbs.
  • Lemon ‘Meyer’: 3.25 lbs.
  • Lettuce ‘All-Season Romaine’: .06 lbs.
  • Mustard ‘Ruby Streaks’: .06 lbs.
  • Mustard ‘Tah Tsoi’: 1.31 lbs.
  • Navel orange: 23 lbs.
  • Parsley ‘Dark Green Italian Plain’: .25 lbs.
  • Persimmon ‘Fuyu’: 76.5 lbs.
  • Rosemary: .03 lbs.
  • Sage: .03 lbs.
  • Thyme: .03 lbs.

Total: 122.01 lbs.

2014 harvest total: 1073.13 lbs.

2014 egg count: 447 eggs

2014 growing stats and notes

Chickens:

In 2014, we doubled our small flock of chickens, welcoming a Welsummer and an Ameraucana chick in February.

Many thanks to Petunia, Luma, Bell, and Fifi for last year’s 447 colorful eggs!

DSCN0665

DSCN0172

Bees:

In 2014, I resolved to ‘master’ honey bee hive division. A lofty goal that I can’t claim to have achieved. I did, however, perform a four-way walk away split on one of our best producing  hives, and all four successfully raised laying queens!

Although we lost our longest-lived colony in 2014, between my 100% success rate on hive divisions and collecting a local swarm from just a few blocks away, we maintained a seven colony apiary through the summer. So far (knocking on a hundred pieces of wood!), we haven’t had any hive losses this fall/winter. This is a record for us! We would be thrilled to make it through the winter with zero losses.

In 2014, we harvested 156.5 lbs. of extracted and comb honey–not a particularly impressive figure for seven colonies and due in large part to drought and to our conservative bee-robbing approach. Still, it was more than enough to give to friends and sell (for the first time!) at the county fair.

The bulk of this year's honey harvest bottled up by the quart, pint, and half-pint.

The bulk of this year’s honey harvest bottled up by the quart, pint, and half-pint.

loquat and bee

Bee butt in the loquat blossoms.

Harvest stats:

In 2014, our average monthly harvest was 89.4 lbs. Perennial crops made up 62% of the year’s harvest, while annual crops made up 38%. ‘Fuyu’ persimmons squeaked in a few pounds above ‘Hachiya’ persimmons to claim the title for largest harvest (151.75 lbs. to 147.2 lbs., respectively). The apple harvest was utterly abysmal, as were the asparagus, fig, zucchini (who ever heard of such a thing?!), and loquat harvests. The okra was a summer superstar, as were the eggplants, melons, and beans.

2014 projects:

In 2014, Kelly expanded her quest to install drip irrigation in all major beds. She also continued experimenting with olive curing, and with making liqueurs and fruit wines and melomels. Together, we dutifully weighed and recorded (most of) the harvest, vastly improving our garden record keeping. I grew my first vinegar mothers, and tried my hand at lacto-fermented vegetable pickles. We also opened a Little Free Library and seed exchange on the curb out front. I’ve stopped trying to count the books going in and out every day–there are just too many!

Many of our adventures last year didn’t make it onto the blog; unfortunately (or fortunately?), not every task involves pulling weeds and putting up produce, and often we run short on time when it comes to writing about our farm exploits.

Onward to 2015:

This year, we’ll grow more food.

Can we double our yield? Or triple it? I think so. I also know we will gripe and procrastinate. We’ll start seeds later than we intended, and then we’ll get starts into the ground even later. I will threaten no jam this year, and no pickles either. Kelly will say we have enough plum wine stored away to last a lifetime, and she’ll decide curing olives is too much work. She’ll decide to retire from beekeeping for the third year in a row.

Then the seasons will call to us. The plums will ripen and the bees will swarm, cucumbers the size of sour dough loaves will peer out at us from under wilted leaves. I’ll fire up the water bath canner and crank up the bluegrass music. Kelly will pound out more bee frames and set her olives to soak. We’ll get to work.

4 Responses to December Harvest and 2014 Farm Stats

  1. Congrats on an overall excellent year! Glad to see you topped the 1000 lb mark.

    That’s a lot of wonderful food you produced. All best wishes for a bountiful 2015.

    By the way, after many years of having more zucchini than we knew what to do with, we had a couple of years of very poor production. We couldn’t figure out why. But last year we were back to normal. We’ve had that happen with other crops as well.

    • Thanks, Bill! Wishing you a bountiful 2015 as well. Interesting to hear about your zucchini experience. I tend to think our poor yield had at least a little something to do with the variety we grew, since we’d never tried it before. But maybe I’m jumping the gun. We, too, have occasional ‘off’ years with some of our go-to varieties of other vegetables.

  2. Girls, first off a very happy new year to you both but then apologies for my absence. Your blog is top of my list of favourites so I do often check to see what you’re up to, just don’t always find time to respond….sorry!

    What a great year 2014 was for you on your farm and long may your successes continue. Running down your list of produce I was grabbed with jealousy when I reached Navel oranges because that definitely smacks of a warm climate.

    Congratulations on maintaining hive levels and wow, what a great honey harvest for you and your friends to enjoy Delighted to read that Kelly continues her Heath Robinson projects (!!) when not brewing. Last year my only exploration into that field was wandering the local moors in the autumn seeking out Blackthorn trees and their harvest of sloes and currently have a good supply of sloe vodka soaking in a dark cupboard!

    My new year resolution is to check in more often so watch this space!

    Jackie

    • Hi Jackie! Always wonderful to hear from you!! And thanks for your kind words :).

      The Navel oranges are indeed a massive favorite around here. I just polished off my morning glass. I’ve been adding turmeric to it lately as an experiment to ward off general inflammation (seems to be working!). It is not as bad a combination as one might think :).

      Ooh aah–Blackthorn trees and sloes?! Have you told us about this? I’ll have to look up sloe vodka. Sounds intriguing.

      Looking forward to seeing you around the blog whenever you have the time. We’ll try to keep up with posting, so there’s something for you to read when you stop by!

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