Sunday, 11 October 2009

Keeping Track of Your Harvests

by: ChiotsRun

When it comes to growing food for yourself, it's easy to get overwhelmed and feel like no matter how much you're growing it's not enough, particularly if you only have a small garden space. I often feel like I'm not growing as much as I could and if I could only be better at succession planting, or cold weather gardening I could provide even more of my food.

Last year I didn't keep track of our garden harvests, except for the tomatoes, so I have no idea how much of our food actually came from our garden. This year I've been keeping track in a spreadsheet system that I set up (it even has a bar graph that charts the totals of all the different kinds of vegetables). Keeping track of my harvests has really helped show me that even though I don't have much garden space, I'm still providing a lot of food for us. (If you would like to download the Garden Harvest Spreadsheet head over to my blog, the beautiful one pictures is a MAC program, but there's a less pretty Excel version as well)

I was very discouraged at the end of September. The weather cooled much earlier than normal which means that none of my fall crops will mature. I was thinking back over the month and I felt like I hadn't harvested hardly anything. So I sat down to write my monthly harvest totals blog post for my blog and much to my surprise, my September garden harvest totals were only 10 lbs less than my August totals. I was able to harvest 142 lbs of food from our gardens in the month of September.

After listing all of the things I harvested my spirits were lifted and I realized why it's important to keep track of the harvest. They not only remind me how much of a difference I can make by growing a little of my own food, but they help keep me motivated to garden despite setbacks because it helps me look at the big picture. This method works well for me, I'm at my computer a lot during the day since I work from home, so I always keep my Garden Harvest Spreadsheet open, when I head out to the garden to harvest, I come back in, weigh it and enter it into the spreadsheet.

Are you in the habit of keeping track of your garden harvests? If so, what method works for you?