I might as well start with the obvious – Zombies.
This whole Covid stuff meant we prepared ourselves for not leaving the house for a while and the garden was part of that. If anything, the year was a year we really did live in the garden during the summer.
- double the amount of beetroot, all grown in the garden and most of it direct sown which seemed to work out better (and less hassle) than transplanting seedlings
- blackcurrants and redcurrants were protected from the birds and so we got most of them, unlike the year previous
- we planted less broad beans (about half) and so we harvested around 50% less, which makes sense
- carrots had a shaky start and so less than the year previous, but at just under 3kg against just over 3kg the year before, it wasn’t anywhere near as bad as I thought
- just under 1kg of cherries previous, in 2020 it was 3.5kg!
- courgettes did better (but not brilliantly), 1kg more than previous
- gooseberries lost out, the birds had them all
- 2020 was the year of the leeks, 8.5kg of them. I know 2021 will not match that
- we went onion crazy, nearly 17kg, we planted a lot of them
- potatoes should had been a lot better, but planting some more in the garden as the year progressed deeper into lockdown got us through. Still, we were 5kg down.
- whereas radish, because we had them in the garden and picked them as needed, no waste and 1.5kg of themr
- rhubarb was half the previous year, maybe this year it will be double
- we planned a lot with strawberries which shows sometimes it’s best not to plan. It was possibly a mixture of a hot spring time, overhanging trees shading the rain, and lockdown. With 5kg picked the year before, we didn’t even make half a kg in 2020.
- we grew shallots for the first time and picked nearly 2kg, but they are fiddly little things and so we won’t bother in 2021
- I picked a lot of blackberries from around the edge of the site, nearly 2kg of them and most of them made it into jam
- cucamelons – why?
- butternut squash, our first time and exciting seeing little squashes grow. The ones on the plot died (again) but the ones at home did not, although later in the year were in the shade quite a bit. We’ll try a lot more this year.
Top 10 in Value
for all of the Top 10s, values in bracket show last year’s figures as a comparison.
Again the cucumbers are at the top, mainly because these small thicker skinned ones are so expensive in the shops. We didn’t have as good harvest as the year before, but even so it was a good one.
We grew a lot of tomatoes both on the plot (which didn’t do that well) and in the garden (that did a lot better). This year I am going a lot more as I want to have “snacking tomatoes” in the garden while at the plot we concentrate on tomatoes for making and freezing source.
A quick look at garlic which I didn’t think did that well but the numbers here say otherwise. We harvested these in June and we are only getting to the end of them now. I wanted this year to grow less but better, however the shop sent us two packets of garlic instead of one and so we have ended up with it both in the garden and a lot on the plot. So far, it is all looking good.
Fruit makes it in this top 10 a lot, so expensive from the shops. We used most of the soft fruit to make jam, apart from the cherries which we gave a lot of them away. Strawberries are missing, they didn’t do much in 2020 which was a bit of a surprise.
In between fruit are potatoes. We planted a lot of them, both earlies, second earlies, and main crop, on both the plot and the garden. I wasn’t going to plant as many but it seemed wise to plant what we could, we even put some found at the back of the cupboard in the ground and had good results.
|Ridge Cucumbers||£59.77 (£75.06)|
Bottom 10 in Value
It might not be because the harvest was bad, sometimes the price is just very low. Why bother growing such things could be the question, but it’s not really about saving money, sometimes it is about eating better. Don’t be fooled either, some harvests came to be in the early months of 2021 and that is not reflected here, we need to wait until this time next year to see.
We sowed both Pak Choi and Spinach in the autumn and so it’s not a surprise that they are right at the bottom, you need a lot of each of these to make both a meal and money. Spinach went well, Pak Choi didn’t seem worth it when you had spinach growing next to it.
Various cabbages are at the bottom which makes me think we will only grow the more successful white cabbage in 2021. On the other side, we did very well with peas growing in the garden and so in 2021 will grow a lot more.
|Pak Choi||£0.09 (n/a)|
|Savoy Cabbage||£0.32 (£0.20)|
|Red Cabbage||£0.56 (£0.23)|
|Purple Sprouting||£1.47 (n/a)|
Top 10 in Weight (kg)
Some items such as cucumbers, cucamelons and garlic I did not weigh but instead calculated the number picked – which means they do not feature in this table as it wasn’t recorded.
No surprise that onions and potatoes are at the top. We had a really good year with leeks which kept us fed with leek and potato soup during the early days of lockdown.
|Broad Beans||3.35 (6.26)|
Bottom 10 in Weight (kg)
Green things don’t weigh much. Our cabbages don’t weigh much (apart from white cabbage) as they were so small. Kale and chard, of which we used plenty of, weights nothing. While strawberries weight next to nothing mainly because we hardly had any for picking.
|Pak Choi||0.01 (n/a)|
|Savoy Cabbage||0.12 (0.07)|
|Purple Sprouting||0.14 (n/a)|
|Red Cabbage||0.31 (0.13)|
Fees will, and should, always be the biggest expense of the year, remember this is for just half a plot and it is a half a plot that is very much on the thin and narrow side. I love the plot and think we choose the right one for location, but I’ve never seen one so thin!
We spent a lot more on seeds, I think this is because I remembered to add on onion sets which I didn’t before. Also, we no shops open, everything was mail order.
|seed potatoes||£5.00 (-£6.00)|
Sneaky view of 2021…
We must wait until next year, but a quick view so far shows the top in value and weight:
It’s good to see swede as it came in quite low for 2020. That’s because we didn’t really start pulling them up until January this year.
The biggest expense already is compost and a lot more seed potatoes (from a proper mail order seed catalog and so pretty expensive compared to what we normally spend).
Lost and Found
Plants we didn’t grow or harvest for the year compared to last:
- gooseberries (but birds enjoyed them instead
- red onion
Plants that were new for the year:
- purple sprouting broccoli
- blackberries (strictly we didn’t grow them this year but I did take advantage of them around wild around the site)
- cucamelon (I can’t see these appearing again)
- pak choi
- butternut squash
- fennel (an interesting plant but a too ‘interesting’ flavour
June was the month where we nearly harvested £100 of food and doubled from the previous year. Everything stayed steady for the rest of the summer with October showing as the month that we pay rent. We didn’t pay less rent (infact we paid more) but the offset of harvests reduced the hit a small bit.
Value is only half the story, the weight gives the balance. It shows that actually we were still harvesting a substantial amount in October (masked within the Values charts due to the rent).
A closer look at 2020, most of our costs are at the start of the year, seeds and compost.