December 31, 2008: A Gardener's Resolution

I've been reading a few other blogs today and some, like Daphne at Daphne's Dandelions, have made a resolution to keep track of their garden expenses versus yield. I've basically made the same resolution. My problem this year was that I forgot to weigh a lot of my produce, or it was handed over to a neighbor across the fence before it could get weighed. I wish I had a produce scale that could hang in my garden!

Daphne was wondering how to estimate the value of her produce. I rounded off the amount I felt my produce was worth to $2 a pound. I don't know how close that was, but I went by the prices charged at the local farm markets. I raised mesclun for a pet rabbit, and that was costing $6 for 10 ounces (a one week supply) in the store, so that harvest from one packet of seeds was a tremendous saving! My garden was small, and I usually picked about 7 pounds of assorted vegetables two or three times a week. At $2 a pound, that was quite a savings.....assuming I would have actually purchased that much to begin with, which I wouldn't. Mr. H got quite sick of eating green beans every day.

In 2008 I had the expense of building all new garden boxes. This cost was kept quite reasonable because I reused wood from a deck we had removed from our house for most of the project. I also used a lot of leftover seed from previous years. My main expenses were for compost to fill the boxes and for fencing to keep the new puppies out of my new garden. My total expenses were $380.80. That was some expensive produce, but most of that was a one time expense. Now that the boxes are built, filled and fenced off, there should be minimum cost for 2009.

I already have almost all of my seeds for 2009, which came to $0. My daughter bought them for me for Christmas, plus I have a few left from the 2008 season. All I need is one packet of broccoli seeds, as Ed Hume Seeds didn't have the variety I wanted.

I want to buy a few boards to join my 4'x4' beds together to make one long bed. And I'll probably add some boards to last season's mesclun bed to make it deeper, as I want to plant potatoes there in 2009.

I'd like to buy 4 raspberry bushes, 64 strawberry plants and one or two blueberry bushes. I lost one of my three blueberries a couple of years ago, and it must have been my pollinator, as I only got a cup of tiny berries last summer. Since I have no idea what kind the other two are, I may buy two varieties and replace one original that isn't looking terribly healthy. I will also buy tomato and pepper plants, as I won't be back home early enough to start my own.

I would like to begin the installation of a drip watering system. I currently have large Rainbird impulse sprinklers that do a good job, but keep the foliage wet on the tomatoes, squash and cucumbers. Those plants would do much better with drip irrigation.

I want to start my own "real" compost pile. The ugly black composter is a joke, and the bottom of it will be turned into a planter for some sweet potatoes in 2009. I'll definitely buy one more load of compost to top off the new beds, as there has been some settling, but my neighbor has saved her leaves for me, so I can start my own compost pile next spring. That should end my need for purchased compost in the future.

So those are my garden resolutions for 2009. I can't hardly wait!


  1. A produce scale in the garden would be so nice. I'd have to wash off all the dirt before weighing though. Right now I bring it into the house. So what I really need is a scale in the garden and a small table to wash and cut things on.

    Good luck on your resolutions and Happy New Year.

  2. I can feel your excitement, too. :)

    Happy New Years and good luck with your plans!


  3. Granny - What kind of broccoli seeds are you looking for? I have some early dividend, and DeCicco to send ya, if those will work.
    I'm happy that you're gonna be composting again. I love it! Hope you and Mr. H have a nice holiday tomorrow.


  4. Granny, why not post this on the SFG forum. It would be a good subject also; my input would be too long for just a comment .


  5. Great resolutions. I also believe that you're underestimating the savings from growing your own produce, but conservative accounting is good, hehe.

    I'm sure you know to buy two or more different varieties of blueberries because they need cross polination to produce a decent crop.

    A drip system is a great idea.

    As I said, great resolutions. I should start thinking about that. Good idea.

    Lastly, I wanted to let you know that Celebrity tomatoes are owned by Monsanto. If you don't care about that, then go ahead and grow them. I posted Territorial's list of Seminis seeds on my blog if you're interested.

    Happy New Year!

  6. Daphne; We have the type of light soil that just brushes off of the veggies, so it doesn't add much to the weight. I think a produce scale would be at the top on my list of "I want", but I just looked at a few Maybe I could find a good used one :-)

  7. Teresa, has Mike started day dreaming about spring planting yet?

    I miss your twitters :-(

  8. EG: Thanks! I'd like to give those a try. I'm only going to start with a half dozen, so I don't need a lot of seeds.

    Happy New Year to you and your family.

  9. Sinfonian; Yes, I though I had three varieties, but it may have only been two and the pollinator died. That's why I'll probably buy two more, because I'd hate to end up with all three being the same variety.

    Celebrity have been the only variety I've been able to grow in my area that didn't suffer from blight. Those and Pixie, which are no longer available. I'm hoping if I switch to drip irrigation for the tomatoes that will take care of the problem.

    Happy New Year to you and yours.

  10. Lots of good stuff to look forward to. Growing sweet potatoes in the black composter sounds like a great idea. The black will attract lots of heat for the roots.

    Happy New Year.

  11. Well, Cheryl, that ugly black composter should be good for something. It sure doesn't make much compost. Of course, it's 20 years old and the top no longer aligns with the bottom, so it's probably time to retire it anyway!

  12. Spring planting here is so late...he's still trying to really get in the swing of things. We still have snow sometimes in April. :(

    But yeah, he's talking about what to do different this year already :)


  13. I wish I had your light soil. My clay can be such a pain. And it sticks like the dickens.