My garden year is off to a rip-roaring start. My harvest goal for 2012 is an ambitious 350 lbs. I say ambitious because that is 115 lbs more than I’ve grown in either of the past two years.
However, that amount is nothing compared to what gardeners in the Midwest and East Coast are able to produce with their large yards. They report 750-1000 lbs of produce. Wow. I can only imagine.
I have a tiny yard plus a small community garden plot. So my goals are more modest. But can I grow a third more produce this year than last year in the same space? Dunno. My fruit trees are more mature this year and that should really help.
Reaching my harvest goal will require more diligent attention to my garden and more vigorous control of the night critters than I managed last year. I constantly battle bunnies, rats, opossums and raccoons for the right to eat what I labor to grow. Last year I lost the battle and the night critters got a good part of my harvest, including all of the apricots and most of my peaches and nectarines.
I picked 350 lbs as a goal because it is about half of the amount of fresh fruit and vegetables that the average American couple consumes annually. Surely I can grow half of our fresh produce needs. I also hope the hens will produce at least 350 eggs, but that is pretty much beyond my control. It is more a function of their age and health.
To reach my harvest goals, I will need to average nearly 7 lbs of produce a week (7 x 52 = 364). Last January, I harvested a bit over 7 lbs in the entire month.
Well, I’m off to a rousing start this year with a “first week in January” harvest of over 9 lbs! Woohoo!
But more important than my poundage goals are my other gardening goals for 2012. I want to try new varieties to tickle my taste buds. I want to have FUN with my garden. I want to savor and enjoy the healthy organic produce that I grow. And I want my garden to be beautiful as well as productive.
As far as growing new varieties, I have already placed an order with Native Seed/SEARCH, a non-profit that offers heirloom seeds from Native people of the American Southwest and Mexico. I plan to plant Hopi Black Beans, Taos Red Beans, Chihuahuan Ojo de Cabra (Eye of the Goat) beans, and Frijole Chivita. I will also plant European Soldier Beans, one of the finest tasting soup beans I’ve ever had, as well as Cherokee Trail of Tears, a lovely dried black bean that I have grown before.
In the winter squash and gourd category, I ordered Mayo Cushaw, Calabaza de las Aguas, Mayo Blusher, and Navajo Gray Hubbard squashes as well as Mayo Gooseneck gourds. I can hardly wait to plant them and see what I get.
Here is my first week’s harvest for 2012, a propitious start.
22 oz Avocados
17.5 oz Lemons
3.5 oz Lime
56 oz Oranges
SUBTOTAL 6.2 lbs FRUIT
22 oz Cabbage, green
2 oz Carrots
2.5 oz Eggplant, Japanese
1.5 oz Herbs
1.5 oz Kale, Lacinato
3 oz Lettuce, BSS and Deer Tongue
11 oz Snow Peas
1 oz Spinach
2 oz Tomato, Beefsteak
SUBTOTAL 3.2 lbs VEGETABLES
TOTAL 9.3 lbs PRODUCE plus 4 eggs
Visit Daphne’s Dandelions to see what others harvested this week.