Monday, January 12, 2015

Harvest Monday, 12 January 2015

Harvest Monday is going to be a bit different for me today. Though technically it isn't about tallying up how much you spend and how much you get, I do that every year. I put the results in my sidebar. Last Harvest Monday I had the last squash tallied in for last year. So last week I got my new 2015 side bar tally sheet up. Last year's results get put on the bottom and this years gets started. There are no harvest yet as everything is frozen solid for quite some time, but I do have expenses.

The first expenses that go in are my amortized costs for the garden. I just make a guess at how long a large purchase will last and use that has how long to amortize over. A lot of the short term ones have expired, but I still have things like the soil that made up the garden (7.44/year), my plastic composter (5/year), tomato cages (if only I had known that I couldn't eat tomatoes a couple years earlier they wouldn't have gotten bought 18.01/year), some bricks(0.81/year), and the materials like wood and corner braces that make up the raised beds (106.22/year).

The amortized bill is remarkably low this year at $137.49. Last year it was $321. The difference is in two things. One is my fertilizers. I typically amortize a bulk buy of fertilizers over two years. However I still have tons of fertlizer and that time has expired. The second is that the large bamboo purchase I made at the beginning of the garden has expired. The bamboo is still going strong. The short 4' ones are starting to get brittle and might need replacing soon, but the big ones show no signs of rotting out yet. They are much sturdier. I might even cut some in half and use them for the four foot ones.

Other things will get added to the spent tally over the year, but the major thing that gets added in January is the seed bill.

Usually I get my seed orders in at the end of December. I'm a bit late this year as I finished ordering yesterday. Not that it really matters. Usually I like to get the order in early to get my onions seeds in time to start them at the end of January. But this year I've gotten lazy. Onions take a long time from seed to transplant stage. So I'm ordering from Dixondale this year. I'll see how it goes.

Dixondale $19.83
Walla Walla
Red Zeppelin

I always buy new seed of carrots, onions (not this year though except for bunching onions), spinach, celery, and corn every year. I can't count on the seed surviving to the next year. The other exception this year is corn. Fedco has packet sizes. The A size is the typical. B size is usually twice as much. Last year I knew I needed two packets of corn as one wasn't enough. So I ordered the B packet without really looking. Well it turns out the corn B packet is four times the size. When it came it was obvious. I should look closer. So I immediately put half of the corn into the freezer in a sealed container. Last week I did a germination test. I put 15 seeds into a ziplock with a wet paper towel. I put it near my heat and waited two days. 15 out of 15 of those seeds germinated. This year I won't need to buy corn.

I always order from Fedco which is a cooperative of growers and buyers of seed. I like their philosophy. And they tell you the generalities about where the seed come from, be it a multinational corporation or a small farmer. They are located and specialize in seed for the Northeast where I live. And they are pretty inexpensive and have no shipping costs if you order enough. Which I do. This year I spent $58.50 for an equivalent of 36 packets of seed (the C packet is 8 times the amount of seed of an A packet - I use a lot of bok choy seed as I often direct seed it and the seed last for years).

Fedco $58.50
Golden Gate Pole Bean
Blizzard Snowpea
Diplomat Melon
Sensation Melon
Lemon Cucumber
Scarlet Keeper Carrot
Mokum Carrot (B)
Nelson Carrot
Andover Parsnip
Gold Ball Turnip
Evergreen Hardy White Onion
Camelot Shallot
Space Spinach (B)
Summer Lettuce Mix
Krausa Parsley
Hon Tsai Tai Purple Choy Sum
Shuko Bok Choy (C)
Arcadia Broccoli (B)
Diablo Brussels Sprouts
Winterbor Kale (B)
Winner Kohlrabi (B)
Tango Celery
Brilliant Celeriac
Sweet Basil

Fedco doesn't sell everything I want. My next stop is Pinetree which is also a New England company. I like them because I can get small amounts and their shipping is cheap. So I can fill in my needs usually.

Pinetree $19.44
Earliglow Strawberries (10 plants)
Golden Acre Cabbage
Point One Cabbage
Green Rocket Michihili Cabbage
Dwarf Blue Curled Kale
German Giant Radish

Sadly I wish those two companies had everything I needed. But they don't. Sigh. I really liked Bolero Carrots. Though I am hoping that the Scarlet Keepers I'm trying this year from Fedco taste as good from storage. I order these from Renee's since they have the cheapest shipping and I'm only ordering one thing. $6.04 for just one packet of seed. Ouch!

Renee's $6.04
Bolero Carrots

I would probably buy more things if shipping weren't so huge for one item. For instance I'd buy some Monument Michihili from Kitazawa seeds or some choy sum (Fedco only had purple, which I got to try, but I know I like the regular kind). I messed up when I ordered from Renee's too. I wanted to try the Romanesco zucchini that Michelle grew last year. They sell the seeds. I was ordering from them. I should have ordered that one too. Maybe next year.

Harvest Monday is a day to show off your harvests, how you are saving your harvest, or how you are using your harvest. If you have a harvest you want to show off, add your name and link to Mr Linky below.


  1. Dear Daphne,

    You have already purchased lot of seeds, and so far, you are well organized. I am new in gardening, and I am thankful to you for hosting this 'Harvest Monday'. Happy gardening..

  2. This is one of my favourite times of the year - seed ordering (and receiving) time!

    I really would have liked to have everything done by now but I'm still a few days away from finishing my plan & getting my seed order finalized. I was getting a bit antsy about it but then realized that I didn't place my orders last year until 3rd & 4th week of January & I was still ok. Fedco didn't ship outside the US until just last year, but since they don't list specific shipping charges for Canada (they would charge based on size, weight, etc), it kind of scares me off from ordering as usually the charges are much more than you would anticipate.

  3. We do the same thing and are amazed at the ship value of what we grow, Whether we save that amount is debatable. Would we really actually buy red currants at shop prices? If we did I doubt we would buy the same quantity as we produce. Our conclusion is that we may not actually save money but we do eat better

    1. Should say shop value - someone had moved the keys

  4. I love how you keep track of all your expenses!! It makes it fun to see that it is worth it both for the health benefits of a garden and financially!!

  5. I didn't expect to be contributing to Harvest Monday today, but I have a harvest, so why not show if off, eh? I'm not as disciplined as you are about record-keeping, so I have no idea how much I spend on my garden - I just know if I can afford it or not! As to the value of its yield - it's priceless, because you have to take into account the pleasure you get from growing stuff as well as the price it would fetch if sold in a shop.

  6. Wow, you are well organized! That's my new year resolution to organize better.

  7. Your seed packets are very neat! Like Mark I don't record what I spend but tend to be pretty frugal,only buying things as a last resort. I might start weighing my produce this year though, looks fun!

  8. I love Mark's comment ... the value of gardening is priceless! But it's still great to know how much you spend. I have received very few seed catalogues so far and am definitely behind schedule. I guess I'll have to suffer with the online catalogues just to get my order in soon!

  9. I've always admired your discipline when it comes to keeping tracking costs/returns associated with the garden. I wish I had the patience or accounting know-how. Luckily, I won't have to spend much on vegetable seeds this year as I still have tons left over from last year. Flower seeds on the other hand is a different story. I also purchased 5 more apple trees to add to the 15 or 16 fruit trees that I planted last year. Lord knows where I'll be able to plant them. I just can't help it.

  10. I still haven't placed my seed orders yet, but I've pretty much figured out what they will be. You must really love those Bolero carrots! I may have to try them too, fortunatley I can buy Renee's off the rack around here.

  11. Great job! I found it interesting that you always order new carrot and spinach seed every year. I have the Fedco catalog. Want to look at it but doubt if I will order as my garden is so small and the shipping costs so much for just a small amount. Nancy