A personal record of what's going on in my Northern Michigan zone 4 gardens. I use raised beds and grow organically. Nothing fancy--just trying to garden with nature in mind.

Monday, September 26, 2011

2011 Final Harvest Tally and Notes for 2012

The pumpkin vines have been pulled and the fruit garden gets it's final clean-up. In the background-the new lean-to addition on the barn can be seen. It's a much needed new space, and I'm eyeing that as mine. Don has other ideas. Silly man!

My "shop" (garage stall) is filled to the brim with harvest projects-herbs drying, geraniums being potted up to bring inside, sunflowers drying, squash curing , perennial seedlings being prepped for planting. I need more room!

The Pumpkin-on-a-Stick drying for fall decorating and buckets of apples waiting to be made into applesauce.

The Agastache really going full bore now in the final weeks. Shouldn't be long until I can harvest seeds from this one. Despite numerous nights in the upper 20's and low 30's, this stuff looks better every day. I think all the rock and the large expanse of concrete in the driveway keeps this area going long after frosts have done in the vegetable garden. Maybe I should be putting my Brandywine tomato here?????

2011 Harvests--Starting /Ending Dates and amounts

Spinach--5/8-early July--plenty for fresh eating-

Radish--5/14--early July--about a pound a week

Peas--6/19-7/21-- enough to last thru 8/13

Strawberries--6/18-7/21-- 75 Quarts

Broccoli--7/8--8 heads, Fall Crop--not ready YET

Carrots-7/8-9/5--Plenty for fresh eating all summer, plus final harvest ~5 pounds, more in ground for hopefully a late fall crop.

Kohlrabi-steady supply until July

Garlic --7/21--42 heads

Zuchinni-Never Mind--too many!

Green Beans 7/22-8/4--42 pints frozen

Cukes--7/29--65! Cripes!

Matts Wild Cherry 7/29--- About a handful a day until first frost

Cauliflower 7/31-- 7 heads, 8/16-- 3 heads., 9/12--5 heads (15 heads total/16 planted)

Cabbage 7/31-August--8 heads

Celery 8/2 -9/6 Four large bags chopped and frozen

Yellow Pear Tomato 8/9-Sept 5 A Good Handful a day

Supersweet 100 Tomato 8/11 Many Handfuls a day!

Yukon Gold Potatoes 8/12--1 milk crate full

Melon-Fastbreak--8/15-Sept 20 --13

Melon-Hearts of Gold--Plant fully loaded, none ripened due to lack of heat/not enough time

Brandywine Tomato 8/23-Sept 5-- 15

Russet Norkotah potato 8/23 --2 milk crates full

Jetstar Tomato 8/27-9/5 -----Too Many-STILL eating them 9/23

Onions 8/27---170

Green Peppers 8/29---A whopping TWO

Butternut Squash 9/3--X4

First Frost 9/5/11

Pumpkins---9 large, 5 small

Overall-I was pleased with the year. I wish I had gotten some of the Hearts of Gold melons, as they are the best .....but the Fastbreak melons were delicious and did satisfy the melon cravings. Our summers are very short and quite cool, so I'm glad there is a canteloupe that can deliver.

Pumpkin and Butternut harvests were the biggest surprise....very disappointing. Last year was far more productive, but again-cooler temps this summer were the villain.

I wish I had gotten more Brandywines. I couldn't believe how prolific the Jetstar were once they started. Loved the Yellow Pear--new to us this year and will return again next year. I have to narrow down between the Matt's Wild Cherry and Supersweet 100 though. Two cherry tomato plants is too many for us. I don't know which one I'll keep yet. Too close to call.

As for potatoes-after TWO disappointing years of Yukon Gold harvests, I'm beginning to wonder if I shouldn't give up on them..........but they are my FAVORITE. I will try a different supplier next year and if it's still a bad harvest, I guess I'm done with them. I can't afford the space for something that doesn't produce. But gosh, I do love them!!

Broccoli---next year plant MORE. It turned out so extra wonderful this year grown under the fabric. We could actually use 24 heads for the freezer and an extra dozen for fresh eating.

Shoot for 36 heads next year.

Carrots--keep up the steady sowing--a few rows every 10 days--and keep covered with fabric

Kohlrabi-don't try to grow through June/July---hates heat, gets woody

Cabbage--we don't eat enough to justify the space--skip?

Acorn Squash--I didn't grow them this year because we don't eat that many.....but I missed them. Sigh.

I know so many-especially in the south-have struggled with their gardens this year-between the heat and the bugs it must have been tough. Up here in the north, I guess it was an okay year--not nearly as prolific like last year, but heck, I live up here because I despise heat. So, I don't get the melons I love so much, or much for Brandywines either, but I grow a mean cauliflower, so I'll be satisfied with that, I guess.

This will be the last post for a bit, aside from updating some notes for 2012 as I think of them. I have nothing new going on. To those who have emailed-thank you so much-I really enjoy getting to know you.....and I am always happy to share seed if I have it to spare. And a huge thank you to those whose gardens continue LONG after mine--you are what keeps me going up here. Remember--pictures!! And lots of them. It is my gardening lifeline!

Have a wonderful fall!!



  1. Your 1st picture of your garden is just breathtaking. Truly one of the prettiest gardens I've seen. I am jeslous of your cauliflower/broccoli crops. It's a good thing I'm the only one who craves them.

  2. Your garden looks amazing! What a harvest you had this year! I guess never have to buy produce, how I envy that!

  3. I think that lean-to has your name written all over it!

    I have to agree with you about the Yukon Gold potatoes....they are our favorite too! Looks like a successful gardening year! It was a tough one for everyone.

    Please do some posts....I want to see your fall projects!

  4. That was a very impressive harvest list!! So many yummy things in your garden... I'll miss your postings, but I hope you'll have a wonderful fall.

  5. It's good that you keep such great notes for future reference!! And you will have to keep US updated on any new great recipes that you run across, since you will have extra time to cook
    :-) Have a great hibernation!!

  6. What a great summary and photos! I love that your garden is so calming and organized to look at, I just wish you would have gotten more of those Brandywines LOL... but you are up on me since I can't grow broccoli or cauliflower well a'tall! I sure hope this means you are just taking a break before the next installment or seasonal blog? I would hate to miss out on your updates!

  7. I do that; clear logical thought about what I will and will not grow. Then Spring comes, and I turn into a lunatic planting everything I can get my hands on in the most inappropriate places!

  8. Your place looks so inviting - your neighbors are fortunate to get to enjoy all the beauty you create! Love the addition to the barn. And I agree - it really should be your space - just yours. Take a blogger vote - bet you win!! Seems like an appropriate reward for all your gardening efforts - wonderful harvests!!

  9. Tami-thank you-I'd share some cauliflower if you were closer--I love it, but have just a wee bit too much!

    Daisy-well, you'll still find me at the farmer's market getting fruit. I've not had much luck with that-----if I could figure out a way to drape that fabric over my trees though.....

    Robin, thanks-and I sure wish there was a way to convince hubby I need that space, but he's pretty happy with it.

    Anke-best part about fall? Getting to catch up on blogs! I'm sooooo behind.....

  10. Melanie--I'm just going to keep busy checking out your recipes!

    Erin-thank you! And next year--more Brandywines. And NO teasing from you!! I get so jealous of yours.....but happy too!

    IG-I know. I do it too. It's those darn catalogs they send out in the dead of winter. I always say I'm going to stick to a list....and then THEY ARRIVE. Sigh.

    2Tramps--gosh you're wonderful! I'm going to tell Don RIGHT NOW he has to give up the barn because you said so---LOL!!! Yep. That'll work!

  11. Oh, Sue, your pictures of your gardens are always so beautiful. And your record keeping makes me hang my head in shame. I don't know why some glossy magazine hasn't snatched you up as a gardening contributor and paid you millions for your talent.

    I'm having severe apple envy over your apples for applesauce. My two sources for apples this year can't deliver because of crop failure. A few of our trees are loaded but you know it's always a crap (can I say that on a G Rated blog?) shoot up here to see if we can eke out a long enough fall for them to ripen.

    You can't stop posts on this blog. Make things up. I don't care. Show us pictures of your snow. I'll miss this blog too much if you close down for the winter.

  12. Mama Pea-you're are just so funny. Of all people, YOU should not want to see pictures of snow. Which, by the way, you will be shoveling REAL soon.....LOL!
    We haven't had apples in two years, so even though my hands are numb from peeling, I'm freezing TONS this year--just in case. I've missed having them. When I open the garage door-the smell is so good from storing them in there. It's gotta be driving the mice (bears?) nuts.

  13. ooh, I just LOVE visiting here...you are truly a master gardener worth watching. and I always seem to learn something along the way. thanks, Sue!! (btw, the rug in that pic of the dogtrot cabin kitchen was painted on the floor. looked like painted oilcloth until I got right on it.)

  14. Sue, I always have great intentions to keep track of the harvest in the spring but my follow through is not too good. By the middle of the harvest time my records are so far behind that I give them up and just enjoy the harvest. It's been my pleasure to supply many folks with tomatoes and green peppers this year. I have not really preserved much for myself this year. I will expand the garden next year so I can continue to give away produce and maybe preserve some for myself. It's just more fun and easier to just give away what I don't use. It is fascinating to see how much you have produced in your gardens this year. I'll have to be better at record keeping next year. Yeah. It could happen. :0)

  15. Dmarie-thanks so much. And I suspected that was a painted floor-sure looked neat!

    David-I usually don't keep very good tabs either, it's just this year I was actually HOME all summer and so it was a simple thing to just mark on my calendar what I got that day when I came in with the stuff.
    I love that you are able to give away produce-I'm sure you have some very grateful neighbors. I had an abundance this year on some things-strawberries and zuchinnis and loved to surprise friends with a quart of berries. No one EVER turns down berries!

  16. Hello Sue, happy fall to you! You had a very impressive harvest list. I would be happy with just some of what you were able to grow. The sunflowers would be one of my favorites. I love visiting your blog to see what was going on in your garden. I will look forward to next spring to see it all start over again. Take Care and thanks for visiting my blog.

  17. Your vegetable garden was more productive than mine this year. I am amazed at all those sunflower heads! The squirrels here would have a heyday with them here. I can't get a harvest at all.

    Aren't agastaches awesome! I love mine, too.

  18. Eileen-I think I should thank YOU---I so enjoy seeing a completely different set of birds than what I'm used to! Happy Fall to you too!

    CG Sue-I know you had a rough time of it with the squirrels-they really can be a pest. We only have the black squirrels here, and they always disappear in the summer. I have no idea where they go, but I guess it's a good thing!

  19. Oh my goodness you have really had a blessed harvest this year!! Everything has just looked so great and I love the sunflowers. Those apples look so pretty and I bet your applesauce will be delicious!!

  20. Great harvest even if the pumpkins were sparse.

  21. Alicia-yes, it's always considered a successful year if we have tomatoes!! Hooray for the Brandywine!

    Deb-sparse but HUGE. I have an extra with your name on it.
    Will call about the orchards when I get home!

  22. Does this mean I have to wait for spring to see more of your gorgeous photos? Bummer! Now if you go changing the name of your blog for 2012, I hope you come by and give me a ling. I had to go lookin' this year! Love you...I'll miss you.

  23. AG-you know I'll be bugging you with comments until the end of time. You'll never get rid of me---bwa-ha-ha!!! I worship the Queen of the Lettuce!
    And you know-there's always the OTHER blog-I've got some good fall pics up now. Go look. I'll wait.............

  24. Oh, Sue. Don't you know the photo of the road through the gorgeous fall foliage is already my desktop picture? The wild turkeys on the fence are awaiting their turn. I think I had those downloaded just minutes after you posted them. I might be old, but I'm not slow ;-)

  25. Awesome review of the planting season and how the veggies did. I always enjoying seeing how other gardeners plan and tally. I always learn something new. The agastache is a knockout. You garden lines look good even without all the plants.

  26. GonSS-Thanks ---I always look forward to seeing how everyone else's garden turned out-triumphs and failures, because if we can get help from others, it can save a lot of mistakes. And believe me--I've made some doosies!
    Have a great weekend! I think we might actually see a little sun!

  27. Oh, to have enough space to grow that much...and to have good soil would be wonderful.

    I have enjoyed your posts since I started visiting!

  28. Rose-thanks. And I don't have good soil. Just sand-with a whole lotta donkey doo mixed in. It's getting there, but has a long way to go.

  29. Nice update, especially glad to learn about fastbreak melons. It's a real challenge here in Seattle to grow anything called a melon. Will have to try it out next year!

  30. Wow. What an AMAZING SUMMARY! Fantastic record keeping, jeepers. I do almost none.

    Seriously, I want to study this post for a while.

    So, logistical question, is your garage (drying, plant starting, etc. extraordinaire) mouse proof?

    You clearly get SO MUCH great WORK done there, I'm completely inspired! I'd love to start plants in our garage, but I assume mice would eat everything.

    Wow. You are my new gardening hero. Jeepers! =)

  31. You are WAY more productive in your garden than I am. Once the summer wears on, I get lazy and let everything just grow up on it's own. I like a carefree garden! That agastache is lovely indeed!

  32. Sue, I forgot to tell you that I will indeed be overwintering that plecanthrus, as a matter of fact that one spent all winter in my basement, and never skipped a beat. It didn't bloom, but the leaves stayed healthy and green all winter long.

  33. Tom-as much fantastic info as I've gleaned from your blog-I'm glad I had SOMETHING you could use! Thanks so much!!

    Biobabbler-The garage is NOT mouseproof--but you will notice an abundance of plastic buckets--which I use to put crates on, or balance screens on, etc. The mice CANNOT climb the slippery plastic no matter how hard they try. As long as I keep stuff spaced far enough apart from stuff they CAN climb, it's okay. I've not lost anything in several years of doing this.
    And thank you so much for your VERY nice comment!

    Ms. Robin-thank you for the info on the plectranthus. That is some STUNNING stuff-I'm glad you keep it going. I'm definately trying it next year!

  34. Biobabbler-I also forgot to say--I've tried leaving comments on your blog, but they "disappear" (?)--the problem with your broccoli might be either too much nitrogen, or it bolted last fall, and so it won't produce---it just stays a plant. Pull it up, honey, and try something else!

  35. Now THAT'S a harvest! Well done! And the barn/lean-to is just lovely :)

  36. Tanya-thanks! I'm still trying to convince dear hubby that I could sure use that space!

  37. My Dear Sue,
    Your garden is so lovely, I can't imagine the work it takes to keep it so neat and tidy!?
    I am in line for the agastache seeds, right? And did we ever decide about the winter sowing containers?
    It would be so wonderful for you to photograph the winter sown things, in a post by itself. I could use the motivation!
    When I have to decide what to plant because of the space and time limitations, I look to see the difference in taste and the price. I think I agree with you about cabbage.
    But home grown potatoes, at any price-must stay!!

  38. Sissy-Thanks. And yes-you are in line for the seeds and containers. Please email me your address. I will get those out to you after next week (family arriving-no time this week!)
    I agree so much about the potatoes--- Well-EVERYTHING grown at home. I don't care what it costs-the taste difference between homegrown and store bought is world's apart.

  39. always a little disappointed to find no new posts here...but can't stay disappointed for long, since there's SO MUCH beauty to look through already. thanks again for sharing, Sue!

  40. 2011 has been very good to you and your garden there in northern Michigan. You are a busy lady. Let us know what's happening up there in the winter. I bet it's pretty.


  41. Dmarie and Donna-I do post to my other blog on occasion-I'm trying to keep the garden separate for my reference--easier to find "garden" info I need. Thanks so much for your lovely comments! They really made me smile!

  42. Hi Sue, I just checked to see if you had another blog, and noticed you mentioned it above, but I didn't see a link to it.

    Thanks for your nice comment on my GBBD post. We are expecting a hard freeze in a night or two. I am feeling much dread, but there's nothing I can do.

    I hope you have a great week.

  43. Corner Gardener-Thanks so much for stopping by-
    my other blog is http://thestuffthatkeepsmeawake.blogspot.com/

    It's my "off"season blog of photography and MISC. I wanted to keep my garden blog separate so I could look up things easier.
    Sorry you're going to get your frost--I have certainly been enjoying an extended gardening season thanks to being able to see gardens from you and others who haven't been "frosted-out" yet.

  44. I love your garden something to inspire too

  45. Hi Sue,

    I hope you're having an awesome week! I thought you might like this infographic I helped build about the health, mental, and financial benefits of gardening (http://blog.lochnesswatergardens.com/how-gardening-benefit/).

    If you think your readers would like it too, please feel free to use it on Sue's Garden Journal blog. There's code at the bottom of our post that makes it super easy to post on your blog. It's all free (of course). If you have any questions about posting it, let me know and I'll try to help.

    I don't know where else to contact you so I just posted a comment here. :)


    ~ Janey

  46. Hi Sue, Just got back from Europe and will miss your posts. I know that your bounty might not have been everything that you wanted but you have my utmost respect as as wonderful gardener.

  47. Oh my!! Your Agastache is beautiful!! I need to get some of those seeds for next year! If you can grow them, we probably can too. I wish I could get nice big sunflower heads like that! One year, when we were visiting our son in ND, we brought some home with us and the birds loved them. We tied the whole head on the feeder and they had quite a picnic. The last time I tried to grow them, a bug bit the stems in two and that was the end of them.

    You have had a very plentiful year! Beautiful!!

  48. Judy-thanks! The trick to sunflowers is to sow the seed VERY heavily--lots for the bugs, and SOME for you!
    Have a great weekend!