Wednesday, December 24, 2014

2014 Garden Yield

This year I expanded the garden a bit to about 400 square feet and learned the difference between cold and hot season vegetables. I experimented with gardening year round, using plastic hoop tunnels over the cold season crops once the temperatures dip below zero. Next year's yields will be much higher for the winter crops as I seem to now have the hang of it. If next spring cooperates, I should also be able to get round 1 of the summer crops harvested by end of June and round 2 of the summer crops before first frost, skipping the month of July which tends to cook everything except for the most hardy, drought-tolerant vegetables.

Here's this year's yields with my notes:


My kitchen counter is now home to the world's largest spice collection. If you haven't grown anything before or have a brown thumb, give spices a try. No yields for this list as I  pick fresh as needed, collect seeds as the flowers dry, and dry any remaining leaves in the dehydrator before first frost hits. Some of the perennials were in their second year. I dug up last year's oregano (I didn't like its taste) and replaced it with a tastier oregano. I also don't like the taste of 2nd year parsley so plant it fresh each year. I usually have 1 plant of each of the following tucked in throughout the garden as they attract pollinators and replant those that bolt as needed.
  • anise
  • basil
  • black cumin
  • caraway
  • chives (2nd year)
  • cilantro
  • coriander
  • cumin
  • dill
  • fenugreek (didn't like the rain but will try again as it's so tasty)
  • lemongrass (last harvest was 4.5lb)
  • lemon thyme (2nd year)
  • lime basil
  • marjoram
  • black mustard seed
  • parsley
  • pinapple sage
  • oregano
  • rosemary
  • safflower (sports from bird feeder)
  • sage
  • sesame (beautiful plant, much more next year)
  • 1 giant sunflower
  • 4 mini sunflowers from Tokyo
  • tarragon
Sport is a term I picked up from a book about tomatoes and refers to plants that show up on their own.


Most of these don't show yields as I pick as needed, typically having a feed of greens every day starting in early March. I freeze the rest (shown in cups) before the plant bolts in the heat:
  • 7 bok choy (planting much more next year)
  • 12 c collards
  • 8 c kale
  • 8 c mustard greens
  • 1 radiccio (beautiful but bolts early, planting earlier next year)
  • 8 c rapini
  • 16 c swiss chard (1 plant could easily feed a family daily from before last frost to after first frost)
Root crops:

I tend to stick in a few root crop seeds whenever there's a bare spot in the garden. The soil is still too clay-ey for carrots and daikon, but that will improve as the soil continues to be amended. Except for the potatoes, I also eat the tops of root crops before and when I pick the root. I had heard that onions and garlic are fussy and was surprised at how easily they grew.
  • 13 beets with greens
  • 7 carrots
  • 1 daikon with greens/flowers (beautiful flowers)
  • 6 garlic (easy to grow, more next year)
  • 38 onions (easy to grow, more next year)
  • potatoes (50lb from 2.5lb seed, grown on top of the soil then covered in deep mulch)
  • 9 red turnips with greens
  • 19 white turnips with greens
  • 3 red radish
  • 5 watermelon radish (very good, much more next year)
General vegetable:

Anyone who tells you that 1 zucchini plant will feed the neighborhood has never gardened in the Mid South. If you miss scouring your plants for one day, the stink or squash bugs will take over and eat all of your curcibits--they can literally kill every plant within a day or so. This year I bought a bug gun (with quick reload action) and prowl the garden with it several times a day.  I also learned the difference between a lady bug (which I knew was good) and a harlequin bug (which can devour an entire cole crop in a day, in my case, the kohlrabi).
  • 24 butternut squash (49.4lb before the bugs came)
  • 27 cucumber (before the bugs came)
  • 10 kohlrabi
  • 3 leeks (easy to grow, will plant much more next year)
  • 7 radish tail (huge plant, could have picked 100s more)
  • 4 zucchini (bugs got these quick)
Cherry Tomatoes

This year I experimented with tomatoes, planting 4 variety of cherry tomatoes and  7 variety of indeterminate large tomatoes. If you have a brown thumb, plant a black cherry tomato, as you can see from the following yields:
  • 1071 black cherry (2 plants)
  • 84 red pear (1 plant)
  • 451 thai pink (2 plants plus 1 sport)
  • 139 yellow pear (1 plant)
  • 713 yellow cherry (from 1 sport!)
Some bird planted a yellow cherry for me this year, which was very prolific. Thai pink is my favorite small tomato as it is tart and not too juicy. Good for eating as-is or in sauce.


5 arkansas traveller (1 tomato)
16 brandywine (1 plant, too bland for my taste)
42 carmello (1 plant, growing these again as tasty)
38 caro rich (1 plant)
11 german green (1 plant, too mushy)
15 green zebra (1 plant, pretty and nicely tart)
67 ozark pink (1 plant)
8 yellow tomato (1 sport)

Of the  larger eating tomatoes, carmello was my favorite, followed by green zebra and ozark pink. Next year I will try some determinate tomatoes for sauce and paste as well as a variety of eggplant.


This was my first year growing paprika and I was impressed. Beautiful looking pepper and very prolific--I dehydrated and ground nearly 2 pounds of paprika for the spice counter. I enjoyed cubanelle last year so repeated it this year. We had a wet July which killed all of the sweet peppers before they even flowered and killed the jalepeno after it managed to make a few fruit.
  • 94 cubanelle (2 plants)
  • 392 ember (1 plant, pretty and prolific)
  • 3 jalepeno (1 plant, didn't like this year's rain)
  • 232 paprika (2 plants, very prolific)

I didn't count the yield on beans as I also plant these all season long whenever I see a bare spot. I don't like fresh beans so I pick them as dried and have enough to use in chilis and soups all year.
  • black eyed peas
  • black turtle beans
  • cranberry beans
  • kidney beans

I was lucky enough to inherit 2 fruit trees with the house. The trick is to be home during picking season which usually coincides with fall conference season. The pears were happy this year due to more rain than usual. I missed most of the persimmon crop as the first hard frost hit while I was traveling.
  • 56 asian pears
  • 43 persimmons
What's Under the Hoop

Currently I have these winter crops under 2 hoop tunnels and they are doing well: 
  • 5 daikon radish
  • 5 rutabaga
  • 4 leek
  • 4 kohlrabi
  • 3 carrot
  • 4 fennel
  • 6 chinese cabbage (almost ready to pick)
  • 3 bok choy
I'm getting another hoop tunnel for Christmas and plan to plant some seeds on Christmas day.