The garden is tucked in for the impending winter season. Will it be soft, gentle, fluffy and peaceful or a raging onslaught of freezing rain, blizzards and hurricane speed winds? In Nova Scotia one never knows. I have been holding off on doing the final tally of what we picked, weighed and calculated this season thinking that we would have stopped bringing in a regular harvest long before now. But blessings be acknowledged, the girls continued to haul in buckets of treasures up until last weekend! We did have to buy some tender veggies and extra salad greens from the market last week – the first real time since June!! There are still beets, carrots, kale, chard, leeks, onions and mixed greens tucked under hoop tunnels and snuggled under frost blankets for special treats between now and full freeze up, but I think it is safe to say that the majority of our harvest is now in! We had our first flurry today, winter is unavoidable.
When we began asking ourselves how much we could be saving in produce, we never expected that the totals would be so high. We also never anticipated the volume of veggies that we could actually consume as a family of four during 1 season, nor how much we would be able to freeze and jar to extend our feasting. And we certainly didn’t even stop to think about how much fun it would be to weigh, track and tally our bounty – who knew kids could get so excited about book keeping?!
In the end it is safe to say that this experience has been far more worthwhile to us than any actual $$ total. It has taught us to be less wasteful by ensuring we consumed what we picked, less picky because even ugly cucumbers taste great and save us money and to be even more grateful for our ability to “shop” for dinner right in our own backyard. It is amazing how much more we appreciated our own produce when we compared what the weekly prices were in the market for what the kids simply pulled out of the (non-chemically treated, clean earth, worm filled and flower kissed) dirt. Dirt is amazing! And seeds, well they are just mind blowing. Really.
So without further adieu…..drumroll please…..the totals for Sept 22- Nov 18th of our 2015 season are:
Approx savings compared to local market: $972.75!!!!
Total since May 26th – $2355.45 WOW!!!
Total weight picked this period: 136.09 pounds!! That is almost as much as I weigh….
Total to date: 341.15 pounds (That is a lot of veggies!!!)
These totals are compared to local produce when possible but not specifically organic produce – we would prefer to eat local than purchase organic food that has had to travel very long distances, using wasteful packaging and not being allowed to ripen to perfect. We do use organic methods in our own garden, so the estimated savings would likely be much more significant had we compared to local AND organic produce! Not to mention the savings in jams, jellies, spreads, sauces, salsas, dried and frozen herbs, saved seeds, compost, cut flowers…you get the picture!
Dollars and cents may speak to some, time outdoors and exercise to others, quality conversations and relationship building to most…how do we put a price on the value of our family garden?!