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2007 Garden Harvest: Year In Review

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

This year was a good one for my garden.  Many of the fruit trees that I planted when we moved in four years ago bore their first fruit this year, and the older lemon and lime trees on our property continue to produce very large quantities of fruit.  Our tomato crop did well, as did the fava bean patch, many berry bushes, passion vines, herbs, beans, and other crops.

I tracked our garden's production very carefully this year, week by week, and measured the output of the various crops.  From this research I can say that my garden produced the following quantities of edible crops:

Fruit Trees

  • Meyer lemons (2 well established trees):  322 pounds!  incredible!
  • Bearss limes (1 established small tree):  4 pounds
  • Kaffir limes (1 4-year old tree):  more leaves than we can possibly use, plus ~25 limes
  • Granny Smith apples (1 4-year old tree, 1st harvest): 8 apples
  • Gala apples (1 4-year old tree, 1st harvest):  27 apples
  • Santa Rosa plum (1 4-year old tree, 1st harvest):  21 plums
  • Santa Rosa plum (neighbor's over hanging fruit on one branch):  46 plums
  • Wild plum (over hanging branch from another neighbor): 42 tiny plums
  • Flavor Queen Pluots (1 4-year old tree, 1st harvest): 5 pluots
  • Dapple Dandy Pluots (1 4-year old tree, 1st harvest): 2 pluots
  • Frantolio olives (1 4-year old tree, 1st harvest): 2 cups
  • Pear trees (2 years old), no harvest yet
  • Persimmon tree (4 years old), no harvest yet

Bush Crops

  • Red raspberries (established):  30 cups
  • Yellow raspberries (new):  3 cups
  • Blackberries (small patch): 4 cups
  • Ollalieberries (established): 15 cups
  • Blueberries (not doing well): 1/2 cup
  • Ground cherries (from 1 new plant): 16 cups!
  • Native huckleberries (1 plant): small handful
  • Gooseberries (3 new plants): just a taste
  • Black currents (2 new plants): small handful
  • Rose hips (1 plant):  1/2 cup
  • Rosemary (4 big bushes): enough to fill several huge city compost bins!
  • Lemon verbena (2 plants): several bunches

Vine Crops

  • Passion fruit (2 vines):  50+ fruits in 2007 (plus 30+ more in January)
  • Hardy kiwi (new): nothing yet

Perenial Fruit

  • Strawberries (10 plants): about 5 baskets

Annual Crops

  • Cherry tomatoes (about 10 plants): 55 cups!
  • Fava beans (3 small patches):  570 pods!
  • Scarlet runner beans (3 plants): 130 pods
  • Herbs (basil, parsley, thyme, oregano, cilantro): many bunches
  • Edible flowers (nasturtiums, borage, calendula, etc.):  lots!
  • Green onions:  several bunches
  • Small amounts of: bulb fennel and cucumbers


Harvest Value

I took the information about harvest quantities, along with the retail prices for these crops at my favorite local supermarket (Berkeley Bowl Market), and made a rough calculation of the monetary value of my yard's harvest for 2007.   I estimate that the total value of the harvest from my residential garden was about $1,340 over the course of the year!

I did not carefully keep track of the amount of money I spent on the garden this year, unfortunately.  I'll have to track that in 2008.  I would guess that I spent a total of about $200 on supplies for the portion of my garden that holds the food crops.  The expenses were for compost, seeds, and some plant starts.  I did not spend any money on additional labor to maintain the food garden, and did not need to purchase any additional physical structures for the garden (stepping stones, poles, tomato cages, etc.).  In addition to the cost of garden inputs, we have our shade trees trimmed once a year.  That is not directly related to the food garden, so I am not including that cost in my calculation.

With these garden input costs in mind, I think my garden still produced a "profit" of more than $1,100 worth of food.  I'm pleased with that number this year, particularly in light on how little work it takes to plant and tend the garden year round.

I found this monetary calculation process interesting, but to me, the most valuable part of the food we produced was having tasty crops right outside our doorstep where we could add them to recipes in the kitchen, and let our kids roam the yard "grazing" for tasty treats all year round.  The value of that experience continues to shape their love of fresh fruits and vegetables and will be with them in the years to come.


All opinions expressed are my own.
Copyright 2007 Sharon Danks