The flurries have begun and the 2015 garden $$ totals are in…Picked (but not so much planted) Sept 22nd – Nov 18th

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.

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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?!

 

 

 

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Beautiful Blooms – September 21st

A few Sunday morning coffee shots from the past week to brighten your day in the rain we are having today in Nova Scotia.  What a beautiful September – we still have day lilies in bloom!! Can you tell that sunflowers are a favourite of my photography team?  They must take after their mother. My favourite is the planter filled with flowers grown so lovingly by my wee girl – they turned out to be so beautiful! Have a wonderful week!

 “Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadow. It’s what sunflowers do.” – Helen Keller 

Beautiful Blooms – September 5th

It has been a long time since we have been at home and up early enough to capture some early Saturday morning shots.  The hectic rush of summer while having to work but still wanting to make every moment of sun count doesn’t leave much time for supping coffee and just being content in the moment!  I am very grateful for the return of some routine, but a bit sad that we blinked and summer is now winding down – it always goes by so quickly.  Yes, there are some duplicates from last week’s veggie garden pictures – they are simply too pretty not to share with the rest of the blooms!!  Thankfully September brings my favourite flowers – Dahlias, Glads and of course, sunflowers!!

Beautiful Blooms – July 31st

It has been raining pretty heavily and our blooms have taken a beating!  But the girls did manage to capture a few gorgeous flowers over the past 10 days to make Mama smile through the rain drops!

“The flower that blooms in adversity is the rarest and most beautiful of all.” ~Mulan

End of the Month Veggie Garden Photo Tour – July

July has been an interesting month in our gardens – first we had too much sun, then too much rain.  Visitors in search of broccoli and greens in the form of furry foes followed by the slugs that we had so luckily avoided all spring have kept us on our toes, but we persevere! We are now harvesting more than we can eat and the soup production, pesto freezing and jam making has begun for the winter.  We have bought a few tomatoes to hold us over until ours have ripened (soon!), but other than those, we have not purchased any other vegetables since May 24th!  I have always been envious of other gardner’s abundances of zucchini as I have had poor luck with it.  This year is the opposite!  Starting the seeds in black film under plastic hoops has proved to be more than a spectacular success – I am picking 4-6 per day and they are doubling in size daily!!  I will have a freezer full of baking at this rate! Thanks to the straw, cardboard and black film, weeding has been minimal.  I don’t think I have spent more than 6 hours all season and for that I am very grateful. Planting continues in dribs and drabs as early crops finish up.  The lettuce couldn’t handle the 30+ degrees during the day, nor could the spinach. So off to the compost pile it went and in their places more beans, beets, carrots and radish went in – it is a great way to succession plant! August will see more picking, very little planting and hopefully not a lot of weeding!!  We have high hopes for our tomatoes and beans and we can’t wait to pull fresh potatoes.  We are also looking forward to lots of blueberries and our first ever pickings of hardy kiwi. Here’s to July and high hopes for August!!

For more beautiful veggie garden updates, head on over the Garden Share Collective!

Beautiful Blooms – July 12th

This week has provided my budding photographers with many opportunities to play with the camera, so many beautiful plants are blooming.  I added a few interesting studies of bark that my older daughter took, there is a certain beauty that is exposed when shot close up through the eyes of a child. And of course, what gallery would be complete without some coleus and butterfly shots taken by my wee girl! What a lovely time of year to just sit and soak in the sun, the smells and the scenery!

To see more beautiful blooms, head over to May Dreams Gardens for Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day!!

End of June Veggie Garden Photo Tour

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The end of June has come very quickly and the garden is coming along wonderfully!  It has been a slower start this year, but July will have many, many treats for us! We have not purchased any supplemental veggies at all this month, and we hope to be able to supply everything we need from now until October (though we may not always get what we want on a given day, it does teach us to eat what is ripe and available.)

The tomatoes in containers seem to be doing the best, followed by those with the red plastic mulch.  The new beds along the back have been slow to start, but I expected that – I find it takes a few years for the soil to reach the perfect mix of nutrients, worms and texture. I finally took the plastic off the zucchinis and butterbush squash because they were getting a bit stressed from the days finally getting warmer (the leaves have greened up even since the pictures were taken!)

The berries have started – Haskaps were first and now strawberries are starting to ripen.  There is going to be a bumper crop of Raspberries and Blueberries this year as well as wild Blackberries!  I have found a few little hardy kiwi hiding under the leaves, fingers crossed!

My wee girl’s garden is filling in wonderfully!  Her runner beans are starting to climb, the purple cauliflower heads are just starting and her Black Plum tomatoes have a few little buds poking out.  She has seen many little bugs and bees visiting – more will arrive once the flowers she has planted begin to bloom.

The weed suppressors are doing a great job!  In the potato beds without film or straw the weeds are doing almost as well as the edibles…grrrr…time to find some more clan straw.

Enjoy the end of June tour!! To see more beautiful end of June gardens, visit Helen, the Patient Gardener.

“I grow plants for many reasons: to please me eyes or to please my soul, to challenge the elements or to challenge my soul, for novelty or for nostalgia, but mostly for the joy in seeing them grow.” ~ David Hobson