October update on the harvest

I just calculated the harvest totals to the end of September. I’m up to 163 pounds of produce for the first nine months of the year. Not a whopping total, but not bad given the size of my “farm.”

The first watermelon I've ever grown! It's a Moon and Stars heirloom variety.

This one could have been a little riper. I waited longer for the others, and am very pleased with the color and taste, really sweet and delicious.

Like most of the produce from my new community garden plot, my watermelons are substandard in size, but fine on flavor. I’ve been busy “putting by” what produce I am getting.

The tomato harvest is pretty much over. Production of tomatoes was low this summer, but I managed to get several quarts of spaghetti sauce frozen for winter.

Bread and Butter pickles

The strawberry harvest was pathetically small, not enough to make jam, just enough to put into a bowl of cereal.

I also made and canned dilly beans and watermelon rind pickles. The mint grew well this year, so I dried a quart of mint for tea during the winter. All in all, I’m not unhappy with this year’s garden.

So far in October I’ve harvested another 30 lbs of produce, so I’m up to about 190 lbs to present. For heavy crops, I have a few watermelons and a couple of winter squash still growing, plus beets, carrots, yams, and navel oranges. Fortunately, I managed to beat the rats this year to most of my apple crop, which is now safely in the refrigerator. I have enough for some pies and a batch of apple butter. I don’t think the year’s total harvest will be too bad. If I can harvest another 30 lbs in November and December, I will be able to at least equal last year’s crop. Not sure that my cabbages and broccoli will be ready to harvest before the end of the year, but that should help. I’m still working on putting in my fall garden.

All three hens in the enclosed chicken coop.

There has been progress in the chicken yard. After a couple of weeks of moving hens between the old enclosed coop and the new fenced enclosure, they are getting along. I had been keeping the new hen, who we have dubbed Miss Hillary after the hurricane that came up from Mexico right after we got her, in a new fenced enclosure. However, she flew out of it one night when a possum frightened her. She just wasn’t safe outside of the enclosed coop. Fortunately, the hens have adjusted to one another and are now getting along fairly well.

So am I rolling in eggs? Not at all. Henrietta, our Black Australorp, has been molting for a couple of months now and is not laying. Miss Hillary laid two eggs right after we got her and then stopped. She is now molting as well. The burden of egg production has fallen on the shoulders, er, wings, of Chicken Little. But she’s an older girl now, and winter is coming on, so we’re getting only about four eggs a week at present. Ah, the joys of chicken keeping.

Bottom line, egg production is down and fruit/vegetable production has not been stupendous this year. I’ll be doing good to equal last year’s production of 224 lbs of produce, despite the fact that I added a new community garden plot to my available “farmland.” Well, there’s always next year.

 

About Lou Murray, Ph.D.

I'm a professional writer/photographer, avid gardener, and active environmentalist living in southern California. I am retired from writing a weekly newspaper column on environmental topics in the Huntington Beach Independent, but I am still teaching at the Orange County Conservation Corps. This blog chronicles my efforts to live a green life growing as much food as possible for my husband and myself on a 4,500 sq ft yard that is covered mainly by house, garage, driveway, and sidewalks.
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