Sunday, 26 August 2012

My Garden: Trials and Tribulations

Tomatoes! 
As Pamela over at Feral Homemaking pointed out in a recent post, gardening is a hobby that can cost you dearly in both time and money. Depending on what you grow, there can be a significant outlay for buying seeds, compost, special fertilisers, etc., and it can take a fair bit of time to make sure everything is sown, watered, transplanted and weeded!

I agree with Pamela that it's best to view gardening as a hobby, rather than a surefire way to lower your food costs. It's fun, and you'll probably have SOMETHING to show for it, but you don't always get the yield you were hoping for.

For example:
  • Pigeons ate my carrot seedlings
  • My onions are still pitifully small due to bad weather
  • My peas were chomped by slugs
  • The currant bush has some strange virus
  • Haven't seen much from my swedes yet!

As I said at the start of the season, there are a lot of unknowns between sowing the seeds and harvesting the crop!

My entire potato harvest...
You certainly couldn't feed a family on my harvest of potatoes. I planted five potatoes I think (from chitted potatoes, not seed potatoes, so no real cost outlay) but they died back too early, possibly from a combination of bad weather and dodgy stock potatoes to begin with! (Note to self: buy seed potatoes next year). My “bounty” contained six medium sized potatoes, about eight small ones, and another eight or so truly tiddly ones!

But as they say, you win some, you lose some (and you learn a lot on the way).

My tomato plants are finally starting to fruit and I'm going to have a LOT of cherry tomatoes to eat in a couple of weeks. The plants are throwing out flower trusses faster than I can pollinate them! Our cabbages are looking pretty good too! :) There are a few that could be harvested soon, with some more developing more slowly that will provide greens throughout the winter hopefully (although I'll be at Uni by then!).

How are all your lovely vegetables doing? It's been a bit of a mixed bag here with the weather, but my Nana (veteran gardener extraordinaire) said her plants have been a bit useless this year too, so I don't feel too bad!

Do you think you've saved money gardening, or is it a black hole for time and money? :)

10 comments:

cumbrian said...

Planting a garden's like backing horses, some you win, some you lose. Every year's different.

You're lucky to get any potatoes, I gave up trying, the slugs always beat me to most of them.
But my beans seemed to do OK.

gotthisfar said...

your potatoes look great! don't be disheartened! I can barely grow some herbs on my windowsill!

saving for travel said...

Congrats on your cherry tomatoes (Mr Sft's favourites) and cabbages. We slimmed down our planting this year to just potatoes, onions, strawberries and raspberries. Raspberries weren't great but the strawberries were amazing!

We hope the potatoes will keep us supplied for the next few months and onions for a good whiled to come.

I do admire people that save themselves lots of money from what they grow. We have a long way to go, but Mr Sft finds a lot of happiness in his garden at the end of a busy day.

Sft x

Meanqueen said...

My tomatoes look a bit like yours, but I wonder if we are going to run out of time for them to ripen.

Not as many potatoes from my plants this year, maybe I didn't water them enough.

Runner beans a plenty though, some going in the freezer, and I'm just about keeping up with eating the courgettes, they don't freeze very well.

I have some cucumber plants going great guns in the greenhouse, but again we might run out of daylight hours for them to mature enough for eating.

lizzie said...

You save more money the more skilled you become.
Among other things I grow all my own herbs and freeze them and swiss chard which keeps me in greens the whole year and is so much better to grow than spinach.If you are looking to save money dont grow things that are relatively cheap to buy like potatoes and root vegatables; they can be fussy and take up a lot of room. You could make a little poly tunnel quite cheaply. Mesclun is a good thing and quite expensive to buy.

lizzie said...

Mean Queen, put your unripe tomatoes in a shoe box with a lid and they will ripen. Not quite as good as vine ripened but still edible.

Pamela said...

Tomatoes--once they ripen, it's a deluge. Though a happy one for tomato lovers. I'm impressed you're successful at growing cabbage--the gardeners in my plots are finding pests are going for their plants like nobody's business.

I'll bet next year you'll have a bumper crop of potatoes since you know what you want to do differently!

Pamela said...

Tomatoes--once they ripen, it's a deluge. Though a happy one for tomato lovers. I'm impressed you're successful at growing cabbage--the gardeners in my plots are finding pests are going for their plants like nobody's business.

I'll bet next year you'll have a bumper crop of potatoes since you know what you want to do differently!

Kris said...

We are able to save money by gardening, but it's hard to predict how much or on what items, since each year brings something different. The most consistently successful items are tomatoes and greens--we do a variety of greens, such as different leaf lettuces, swiss chard, spinach, and kale--one of those typically produces a large amount, but hard to predict which one! They like cooler weather so as fall approaches you might be able to plant more and get a crop (we've even done lettuce in a container with surprisingly good success). Squash, beets, peppers have all met with variable success.

We slice our cherry tomatoes in half and use a dehydrator to deal with our excess.

Little Rosie said...

My crops have been poor this year, if I had known I wouldn't have bothered. The only minor success was lettuce plus a few courgettes. My tomatoes are like yours, we haven't had enough sunshine to ripen them, I expect to have been eating them in august. I'll be wrapping mine in brown paper with my fingers crossed.