Garden data

A picture of a digital kitchen scale. Fair warning: my gardening is hitting the next level of nerdery this year.

Inspired once again by Rosalind Creasy’s approach to edible landscaping, I’m determined to keep some careful records of the yield in my vegetable garden. (Go here for an article about how Creasy planted a 100-square-foot garden and then tracked its yield.)

Screen shot of an excel spreadsheet tracking harvest quantities of each variety of produce in my garden.
Click on the spreadsheet image if you’d like to see it bigger.

To that end, I bought a new kitchen scale this weekend (the last one met a sad end in a sink of soapy water), and designed a pretty spreadsheet for myself. As soon as the garden starts producing, I’ll weigh and track what I harvest. I’ll also research grocery store and farmers market prices for each item, so that I can come up with a “value” estimate. Of course, nothing can account for the value of growing a pepper outside my door and being able to pluck it right before dinner. But still – there’s something interesting about knowing exactly how much your garden creates, and what you would spend to purchase that same amount of produce elsewhere.

Why am I trying this project? Curiosity, mostly – this winter, when I thought about what had produced well in last year’s garden, I realized that many things had actually done quite well, even though I had thought of the year as a “failure.” Having hard data offers on objective look at the garden’s production. Plus, there’s some useful information that could be gleaned: Over how long of a period does a certain crop produce? Does it fall off so much in its last month that it would be better to pull it out and put in something else? Are some crops more worth growing than others, especially when compared to their grocery store value?

I’ll keep you posted on the garden’s production in my monthly updates. And if you’re ever tracked your garden’s production, let me know in the comments how it worked out and what you learned!