Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Spring 2014 Garden Produce Review


Now that we have our new vegetable garden, we are trying a lot of new plants, experimenting with different ways to grow things, and have more space to play with producing our own food! We use growveg to do all of our garden planning and LOVE IT! If you haven't tried it yet, do yourself a favor and check it out, seriously.

Here was our spring garden layout:


We'll let you know how each plant did, any trouble shooting we had to do, and any changes we plan on making for next time. Just FYI, we are in south central Louisiana, which is a hot and humid Zone 9a. Our advice may not apply to your area!

Turnips:
# of Plants/Area: 2 sq. ft.
Produce: 1lb4oz
Prepared: Roasted and delicious!
Notes: This was our first time planting turnips, and I wasn't expecting much to happen. But we planted seeds on Feb. 1, and they did great!


Basil:
# of Plants/Area: 4 plants
Produce: 15 oz. dried and 7 cups fresh, More than we could handle!
Prepared: Basil Mint Pesto, Basil Parsley Pesto, Dried Basil
Notes: I started these plants from seed in pots. I spent most of the summer trying to figure out how to use our HUGE amounts of basil. I couldn't think of enough ideas to handle the volume!


Green Onions:
# of Plants/Area: 10 plants
Produce: Used all season without running out!
Prepared: Gumbo, baked potatoes, fresh veggie dip
Notes: We started these from leftovers we bought at the grocery store, and they have produced for us all season without running out. Find out how to start your own here. So simple!


 Parsley:
# of Plants/Area: 4 plants
Produce: 2 cups fresh
Prepared: Basil Parsley Pesto, Dried Parsley, Gumbo
Notes: I started these plants from seeds in pots. The parsley doesn't produce as much per plant as we use, so I will plant more next year!

Sunflowers:
# of Plants/Area: 5 plants
Produce: 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
Prepared: Basil Mint Pesto
Notes: I direct seeded these in the bed. They were more for attracting bees and giving the birds a snack than anything else. But it doesn't hurt to get a little produce from them as well!


Zucchini and Summer Squash:
# of Plants/Area: 5 plants
Produce: Yellow summer squash 15oz, Zucchini 7lb 13oz
Prepared: Zucchini lasagna, Carrot Zucchini bread, Zucchini Blueberry bread, Pickled zucchini, and sauteed Squash
Notes: I direct seeded these in the raised bed, and they all sprouted. If you have trouble with squash vine borers or powdery mildew on your summer squash plants, check out the posts we have for those issues.


Garlic:
# of Plants/Area: 8 plants
Produce: 3oz
Prepared: Minced
Notes: I started this garlic from grocery story leftovers. Find out how to start your own here. I was surprised what a good harvest I got from the spring, when garlic grows best when started in the fall. I will be growing this again!


Beans:
# of Plants/Area: Bush beans- 20, Pole Beans- 10, Soy beans- 12, Lima beans- 6
Produce: Bush beans- 8lb 3oz, Pole Beans- 4lb 3oz, Soy Beans- 2lb 6oz, Lima beans- 2oz
Prepared: Steamed, Pickled, Relish, Raw :)
Notes: The bush beans, pole beans, and soy beans had huge produce, but the lima beans must have not liked their spot. They never did get going, but I had more than enough beans from my other plants!


Radishes:
# of Plants/Area: 2 sq. ft.
Produce: 2 oz.
Prepared: Chopped up raw in salads
Notes: We aren't big radish eaters, but they are fun to grow because they mature so quickly. Besides, the rabbits LOVE the greens, so it's worth it to give them a treat.



Carrots:
# of Plants/Area: 4 sq. ft.
Produce: 3lb. 2oz.
Prepared: Steamed, Pot Roast Stew, Carrot Zucchini bread, Raw in salads
Notes: I will definitely plant more carrots next year! These were easy to grow and we eat a lot of carrots!


Mint:
# of Plants/Area: 6 plants
Produce: 2 cups fresh was all I used!
Prepared: Basil Mint Pesto
Notes: I was warned to plant this in a area where it could take over, and they were not kidding! We have more mint than we know what to do with, and I will be digging up a bunch to feed to the rabbits at the end of the season. I definitely won't plant more than one pot of this next year!



Blackberries:
# of Plants/Area: 20ft. row wild blackberry vines along the back fence
Produce: 7lb
Prepared: Blackberry lemonade, Summer Fruit Smoothies
Notes: We freeze gallon size bags of blackberries every spring, and they never make it through the year. They grow wild, and we love our blackberries!

Blueberries:
# of Plants/Area: 5 small bushes
Produce: 8oz.
Prepared: Blueberry pancakes, Blueberry Zucchini bread, Summer fruit Smoothies, Blueberry Jelly
Notes: We use about 20 lb. of blueberries a year and we usually pick them at a local blueberry farm. This was our first year to start a few bushes of our own, and we are looking forward to production picking up as they grow! Not bad for a first year though.


Cucumbers:
# of Plants/Area: 10 plants
Produce: 22lb. 11oz.
Prepared: Raw, In salads
Notes: More cucumbers than we could eat and give away! And they were so fresh :)

Tomatoes:
# of Plants/Area: 10 plants
Produce: 6oz
Prepared: Sun Dried Tomatoes
Notes: Out tomato plants did awful! Out of ten plants we only picked 5 tomatoes! I'm not sure what went wrong, but the flowers kept falling off before setting fruit. It's the first time I've ever had that problem. I'm disappointed, but will try again next year.

Beets:
# of Plants/Area: 1 sq. ft.
Produce: 1lb.
Prepared: Caramelized beets
Notes: This was our first time growing beets, and I was not sure what to expect, but was pleased with the produce and the taste.

Corn:
# of Plants/Area: 20 plants
Produce: 8oz
Prepared: steamed
Notes: The corn did not do well. I'm not sure if I planted too late, or if the soil wasn't deep enough, but it just never took off.

Peas:
# of Plants/Area: 4 sq. ft.
Produce: 1lb. 8oz.
Prepared: None of them made it out of the yard, we ate them all raw right in the garden!
Notes: There is nothing like fresh peas- they taste like candy!

My goal for the spring was 50lbs of produce, but our total came to 64.7lb! When we calculated the value (based on local grocery store prices) the total came out to $165.00 worth of produce we grew in our own backyard over the course of seven months!

How was your produce this past season? Any tips for getting more out of the area?