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Thursday, October 29, 2015

Garden Totals 2015

After the past few cold blustery days, and a few overnight freezes, I think it's safe to say growing season is officially over here in northern Iowa.  I wrote down the last few jalapenos and peppers that we harvested last week (including several jalapenos from a plant that grew in our compost pile), and entered the totals in my spreadsheet.

Here's how we did:

Total produce: 99.65 pounds. For the sake of easy reading, I'm going to round the decimal points.  But the specific total was just shy of 100.  If only we had one more tomato...

  • Broccoli: 2 lbs.
  • Butternut squash: 20 lbs.
  • Garlic: under 1 lb. (really I think we only got one bulb - the rest never took off)
  • Green beans: 14 lbs.
  • Green peppers: 5 lbs.
  • Jalapenos: 4 lbs.
  • Onions: 3 lbs.
  • Peas: just under 1 lb., although with the amount Jonah ate while picking them, probably over 1 lb.
  • Potatoes: 3 lbs.
  • Radishes: 3 lbs.
  • Raspberries: 1/2 lb.
  • Red pepper: under 1 lb. (only one pepper turned to red - the rest we harvested green)
  • Strawberries: under 1 lb.
  • Tomatoes: 37 lbs.
  • Watermelon: 5 1/2 lbs.

The total does not include:

  • 2 pumpkins, because we didn't eat them. We just set them on the front porch for decoration.
  • Any of the apples from our tree, because I didn't feel like weighing the basket full all at once.
Overall, it was a pretty good haul for the minimal work and money we put into it.  We probably spent around $50 on seeds, starter plants, tools, and buckets.  I should have kept the receipts so I could tell for sure, but I didn't.
Most of the food we ate right away, although we still have some green beans and tomatoes in the freezer.  I was going to attempt canning, but I didn't have the right tools at the right time, so I just chose to freeze things instead.  There's always next year.
We went into this year pretty much knowing nothing, and eager to try a lot of different things.  We learned quite a bit.

We need to weed.  Our pepper plants and strawberries got pretty choked out by the weeds.  They would have done a lot better if we had kept up on things.  We kept putting it off because we were busy, and then it became too big of a task to catch up on, so half of the garden just kind of became a weed patch.

Squash and pumpkins will take over if you let them.  This was pretty good for our squash harvest.  Jesse pulled the pumpkin plant out a couple months ago because it was getting mildew, which we read could spread to the squash and tomatoes, so we elected to save those instead.  Smart move, since those were our biggest producers.

Starting from seeds inside is a lot of work.  It's a lot easier to buy starter plants, or wait a bit longer to just plant seeds outside, depending on the plants.  Most of our plants that survived were from the starter plants, not the seeds.  

That's the story of our garden this year.  We still have to get it ready for winter.  Jesse wants to mow down the remaining weeds and cover the garden so that they'll all die before next year, and we have a pretty thriving compost pile to spread on there in the spring.  Any other tips for our first winter?


  1. We take out all of our plants and till the garden. I think Nate adds grass from mowing in there too. You could always till in some of your compost. We've left our spinach because it comes back, and he left the broccoli in this year too, but everything else is gone. In spring I know he tills again before we plant.

    1. This year our church president tilled it up, and I assume he'll come back next year if we want him to. Does it help to till it up in the fall too?

    2. I can ask Nate. I think so. Or he just likes using his tiller. :)

    3. Yes, he said tilling in fall is a good idea.