Friday, March 2, 2012

March Garden Economics Update

It’s been quite a while since I blogged an update on the garden.  Reason being I’ve had my frustrations and it just hasn’t been that interesting.  After planting my garden back in October I had to leave the state for several weeks and a neighborhood girl was supposed to take care of my garden.  Unfortunately, the girl didn’t do much of anything and everything died, which is rather an impressive feat.  I am still not entirely sure how she pulled that one off.  Even the onions died which I previously thought was nearly impossible.  So I had to restart everything mid to late November.  Being temperatures are quite cool in mid to late November it is not ideal for starting a garden.  Germination and growth is extremely slow, what took a week in October might take a month in November through December.  I half heartedly planted anyway, and to compensate for the lower temperatures I created a one foot tall “greenhouse” over the planted beds.  This “greenhouse” simply consisted of clear plastic sheets propped up with sticks.  Then I sort of forgot about it for several weeks.  When I finally got around to checking on it in December everything had germinated and was growing like crazy.  The small “greenhouses” had created a much warmer environment with much higher humidity.  The need for watering also decreased significantly.  By late January everything was doing extremely well, and by late February I removed the “greenhouses” due to warmer temperatures.  So what started as a huge problem, followed by a half hearted attempt at a solution, has ended in a great success story.  I may use this greenhouse idea next winter to speed up growth and decrease watering needs. 

College garden
Eggplant  2 lbs. 14oz $8.59 ($2.99/lbs.)
Tomatoes 3 lbs. 7oz. $10.28 ($2.99/lbs.)
Chard 8oz. $2.50 ($2.50/8oz.)
Radishes 1lbs. 4oz. $3.97 ($1.19/6oz. bunch)
Snap peas 1 lbs. 8oz. $6.24 ($4.99/lbs.)
Cilantro 6oz. $1.98 ($0.33/oz.)
Total produce: $33.56
Total cost: $0.00
Net: -$0.18(previous months) + $33.56 = $33.38
Time: 5 hours (previous total) + 7 hours = 13 hours

Home garden
Chard 1 lbs. 6oz. $6.88 ($2.50/8oz.)
Radishes 1 lbs. 10oz. $5.16 ($1.19/6oz. bunch)
Cilantro 4oz. $1.32 ($0.33/oz.)
Snap peas 8oz. $2.50 ($4.99/lbs.)
Basil 8 oz $7.96 ($1.99/2 oz)
Total produce: $23.82
Total cost: $15.55 (for plastic and sticks to make greenhouse)
Net: $7.10 (Previous months) -$15.55 + $23.82 = $15.37
Time: 6 hours (previous total) + 8 hours = 14 hours

Rain wise, the desert is extremely dry right now.  We did have a good rain back in December but nothing significant since.  Currently the National Weather service says we are in a La Nina weather pattern, which typically means dry winter weather.  Mid March though is one of the most consistent times of the year for rainfall.  So hopefully in a few weeks we will get a good shower.  March and April also are the end of the winter cool season garden and the beginning of the summer warm season garden.  Currently we are harvesting cool season crops like snap peas, beets, onions, chard, lettuce, cilantro, and radishes.  Within the next month we will hopefully be planting corn, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, summer squash, and okra. 
So everything is going pretty well at this point.  With the minimal amount of effort I have put into the garden recently I am quite excited about the results.  Things should get better from here on out.  With the weather warming production should increase considerably in the coming months. 

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