Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Accounting for that Harvest

Ever wonder how much a backyard garden might be worth? How about  $3,415.18 worth of fresh produce?

  Click over to Back Yard Organic Vegetables, Veggie-Pak's delightful gardening blog and check out the startling totals from one garden this past season. And the equally impressive effort to track, weigh and account for those harvests.  Notice that we're talking To The Penny here. Beat that!
I always start out with good intentions, but then my spouse wanders through and EATS some of the goodies, hands them to others (as do I) and, presto, we have no idea how many tomatoes we really had. Et cetera.  We consume all sugar pod peas on the spot, in the garden. Munch, gulp. Not ONE counted or weighed.  So I'm reading Veggie-Pak's careful accounting with real pleasure because I know I will never, ever, accomplish anything like it.
Veggie says that the incentive for tracking all of this comes from Mark's Veg Plot Blog in Britain, and Mark's VSR (Value for Space Rating) concept - a great way to determine what crops are really worth your time, space and effort. Mark says he bases his gardening decisions on three main questions:
1. The availability of the vegetable in Winter, or other times of scarcity.

2. Whether or not the homegrown item provides significantly better quality than a similar one bought in a shop.

3.Whether the vegetable is difficult and/or expensive to buy.

I would add to that second question whether or not friends, neighbors and my local farm stands (mostly run by friends of ours) are already growing that particular vegetable so that I can buy it fresh from them and support their farm as well. 
I also take in account specific varieties, so that I'll grow certain lettuces, peppers and beans - even potatoes and onions! -  that I can't get anywhere else - even if other varieties are readily available and cheap in season. 
And I shall be growing it all in ruthlessly less space!  More value! Less work! 
Let the challenge begin!

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The sharing of ideas, experience and helpful information between one gardener and another has always been the very best of gardening traditions.