$193 of produce in December!

A belated Happy New Year, and now that I can truly say it, welcome to summer!

After a rather odd December and early January (no thanks to the current La Nina), with frequent deluges, easterly winds, and short hot spells, summer seems to have returned to some form of normality.

Our tomatoes are ripening full throttle by now (I picked 1.5 kilos today, having been away for the long weekend) and its great to have so many varieties - green, red, yellow, a dark reddish black, red with yellow stripes, and yellow blushed with pink. We now have enough to eat them everyday, and put some aside in the freezer for winter.

Our courgettes, which normally begin to succumb to powdery mildew in late February-March (as a consequence of the humidity) were in their full 'silvery splendour' in mid January, nearly putting a halt to our courgette production. I rarely use sprays, but the prospect of losing out on 2-3 months of courgettes brought me to spray them with copper oxychloride, and this seems to have, at least temporarily, succeeded. We are enjoying 'Costata Romanesco', an Italian heirloom, but its yield can't compete with the commonly grown, plain green 'Black Jack'


 Our berry patch gave us an abundance of raspberries in December, averaging nearly 100 g per day (a standard chip is 120 g), there are cucumbers to be picked, the rhubarb is loving the warmth and rain, and our capsicums are looking promising for a good crop in a few weeks time. The garlic has yellowed, and needs to be harvested soon, and the first few parsnips have germinated. A good hit rate on the parsnips now will result in many mid-winter nights being graced with freshly dug, roasted parsnips - yes, I am preparing for winter already! But its not all going well - my Thai eggplants, having yielded three small fruit from six plants, have shriveled dead and dying leaves and I think this crop is a complete write off. Time to cut my losses, pull them up and plant something more productive.

And on that note, if anything is finishing in your garden now, get planting other winter crops that are best established now for harvesting from June to September. I think of it as a way of 'banking' summers productivity for a rainy day. Aside from parsnips, leeks need to be planted now as they take about six months to grow, and February-March is a good time to establish brocolli, kale, and cabbages for harvest in late autumn and winter. I havent grown kale before but will use Kings Kale Mesclun Mix to trial several varieties (at the cost of one packet of seed) to see how well it grows, and how edible it actually turns out to be!

December's production was off the charts, with the abundance of berries that are astronomically expensive at the supermarket. This highlights that the 'benefit' is not what we save for not buying it (as we would never buy 30 chips of raspberries in a month) but the hypothetical cost if we were to buy what we grew. I guess we eat a lot more fruit and vegetables than we would if the supermarket was our only source, and that has to be good for our family's health.

December 2011
produce weight kg/# packs  retail value
alfalfa 3 2.15 6.45
beans 1.51 12.99 19.63
beetroot 0.36 4.98 1.79
raspberries/boysenberries 2.88 41.50 119.64
courgette 1.57 4.99 7.85
lemon 0.34 3.98 1.36
mesclun 3 3.50 10.50
oregano 1 2.99 2.99
thyme 1 2.99 2.99
rhubarb 1.10 5.98 6.58
rosemary 1 2.99 2.99
silverbeet 2 2.79 5.58
strawberries 0.10 11.00 1.10
kaffir lime 1 2.99 2.99
cucumber 1 1.29 1.29


water ($1.30/1000L)

seedlings broccoli

copper oxychloride



benefit minus costs


January 2012
produce weight kg/# packs  retail value
alfalfa 3 2.15 6.45
beans 2.60 12.99 33.77
beetroot 0.13 4.98 0.64
raspberries/boysenberries 0.74 41.50 30.71
courgette 2.82 4.99 14.07
lemon 0.19 3.98 0.74
mesclun 3 3.50 10.50
oregano 1 2.99 2.99
rosemary 3.00 2.99 8.97
silverbeet 2 2.79 5.58
strawberries 0.06 11.00 0.66
basil 4 2.99 11.96
cucumber 10 1.29 12.90
tomatoes 6.99 2.98 20.83
garlic 0.06 22.98 1.31


water ($1.30/1000L)
seedlings lettuce

seeds (kale, radish, hyssop)



benefit minus costs


Keep the watering up, and may the harvest continue!