By the end of the first week in November, we were starting to take the last real harvests of the 2015 season. Kale, collards, Fox Cherry tomatoes, Hot Portugal peppers, a few late-planted bush beans, and a few stray Shishitos were in the mix.
Our first frost was November 25th, but it was only for one night; temperatures rebounded back up into warmer territory immediately and the next frost was not until mid-December. Many of the largest, ripest tomatoes and peppers we set aside for seed saving day. I was ready to throw in the towel on our Brandywines, but Continue reading 2015 Veggies – November & December
We had saved seed from our own crops: Brandywine Tomatoes, Fox Cherry Tomatoes, Hot Portgual Peppers, Shishito Peppers, Blue Lake Pole Beans, and Genovese Basil. I also like to think that local farms have done some of the homework in terms of selecting varieties that grow well in this area, so I supplemented our own harvest with a couple of peppers from the farmer’s market in Union Square: Hot Cayenne and Hot Serrano.
Our Hot Portugals were yummy and mildly spicy-sweet, but they took a hecka long time to flower and mature, and I had wanted them for adding heat to our pickle jars earlier in the season. They arrived months after pickling day, and would have been twice as long as a jar anyway—way too big. So I added the Cayenne and Serrano varieties to our seed saving mix this year. They are the right size for a pint jar, and I am hoping there will be a few harvestable ones in early August.
In order to track our progress each year, I try to quantify the harvest as best I can. I keep a written journal of most of the important activities and progress in the garden, and the journal includes a penciled-in log of any harvests that happen during each week of the season. When I have the chance, I copy that handwritten data into a little spreadsheet I made which handles some of the calculations I’m interested in and updates the totals automatically for me. This spreadsheet is designed specifically for small gardens, not farms, and possibly not even for very large gardens. It’s targeted for situations where you harvest small amounts and can keep track of harvested items as single units (for most things) or small bunches (for herbs), rather than as large bulk amounts such as bushels.
The concept behind this spreadsheet is that once you add in some typical values at the start of the season for the weight of a given variety when harvested (like the average weight of one cherry tomato), the spreadsheet does all the rest of the calculations as you add to your counts each week. It does its math based on counts, so that you don’t have to keep weighing each time you harvest, just tally how many single items you harvested that week.