Wednesday, 23 September 2015

A Goal Reached!

A Goal Reached!

Back in the Spring I was hoping to harvest 250 to 300kg of produce. I thought that was possibly going to be to upper limit for this year but today I totalled up the last few days harvesting and found that the 300 kg has been reached!

We have done barely any shopping for the last month, literally emptying the cupboards and fridge of food and only popping out to buy milk and peanut butter for sandwiches etc which has forced us to have far more vegetable dinners and the odd bit of meat from the freezer. I've even been getting more adventurous with the cooking and roast vegetables are becoming common place.

We bought half a pig from a friend earlier in the year and these chops were the last of the pig. It's been the best pork we have eaten for years. 4 of our own apples chopped with 3 of our onions and cooked in apple juice.

Part roasted small potatoes and whole onions, then carrots, courgette, chopped red and white onion with a few cloves of our garlic, a few tomatoes and then finish roasting. Very nice. All our own grown.
Today I picked 2 sweetcorn, simply boiled and ate corn on the cob. The picture doesn't do the corn much justice but it was very nice. Also a surprise because we didn't think they would ripen and become ready with the lack of sun but the last few days of sunshine have brought them on.

We have never had a lot of luck with sweetcorn and this year was looking the same, planted too late and then had not enough sun but it now looks like we'll get a full harvest of about 30 cobs. Not good enough quality to sell as there are patches of corn that haven't puffed out but perfectly good enough to eat! These 2 were growing 20 minutes before I had eaten them - it doesn't get fresher than that.

With squashes, leeks, a load more tomatoes (fingers crossed they ripen), kale, spinach and some parsnip still to come I think it highly likely that we'll surpass 350 kg. There are even a couple of dozen apples still on the trees, raspberries still being harvested and courgettes in full flow and I think the caterpillars have left us some sprouts, it could even be 400 kg. Next years target is going to need to be 550 kg plus.

A fair few failures this year. A mole went through the carrots, swede and French beans as they germinated. The runner beans were gotten by slugs as where the cauliflowers not to mention a whole bed of onions just not growing at all. We forgot to sow beetroot and radish which was daft!

As a friend once said....

"we may be poor, but we eat like kings"


  1. Congratulations, presume we will eat well when visiting?,!

  2. Congratulations, I don't know if I am more impressed with the growing or the cooking!

  3. Fantastic! That's brilliant.

    Would be interested to know what you think your yield per m2 was for the year too. I've had a bumper year from the forest garden too this year and beaten my previous record.

    1. I've just done a rough calculation, will do it better in due course but, approx 150 m sq and I think there's a good 50 kg of food still to come (squashes etc). So far 326kg for 150m2 = 2.17kg per square meter.

      I don't know the best way to account for tree space and as the trees are very small so have given 1 sq meter to each as that is about the ground they take. Included green house but only a 3rd of that produces tomatoes, the rest is for sowing seeds etc before transplant. There are a lot of small beds that have herbs growing etc and fruit bushes that went in this year which we haven't take a harvest from and a poly tunnel has just gone in so next year there will be a lot more growing space. Areas like the fruit garden are only half planted (the rest is grass and rose bushes and flowers) so I halved that area when working out. It's a very rough approximation some areas I should have reduced in the calculations others perhaps I have under estimated. 150m2 for productive area is the best I can do right now :)

    2. i expect the yield per metre to be roughly 2.5kg by the end of the year.

    3. That's great productivity! I've been gradually accumulating a few pieces of reference data and that looks right up there with high maintenance allotment growing. I found some figures for allotments at 3.1 to 4.0 kg/m2 compared with traditional agriculture at 0.36-0.78 kg/m2 (Edmondson, J. L., Davies, Z. G., Gaston, K. J., Leake, J. R. (2014), Urban cultivation in allotments maintains soil qualities adversely affected by conventional agriculture. Journal of Applied Ecology, 51: 880–889.). In an old forest gardening book (How to Make a Forest Garden by Patrick Whitefiled) there is a figure of 3.7 kg/m2 for a small backgarden forest garden. I've been trying to estimate numbers for my forest garden and based on the total area, much of which isn't under intensive production I reckon this year will be about 0.7 kg/m2 which I was very please with for low maintenance. However, of the total produce about half is from about one tenth or less of the area in the polytunnel.

    4. The Squash have weighed a lot more than I though. We have just sailed past the 400kg mark today. I never realised how much pumpkins weighed!.

      Brings the productivity up to 2.67kg/m2 and with Jerusalem Artichokes, Leeks, a load of green tomatoes, another dozen courgette and then kale and spinach, and then some more apples etc I now know that my estimates of produce have been way off. Probably another 50kg still to come. As I tidy up each bed for the Autumn I will re-calculate the growing space. but we'll end up with closer to 3kg/m2

      I wouldn't say we are low maintenance though, trying to head that way but not there by a long shot yet.