Large food in a small suburban backyard
2021 was my 9th year growing food in our own backyard. What a year it was! Am I right? Our world has gone through one of the most difficult experiences of our lifetime. COVID-19 has affected every continent, every country, every city, and every person. It truly is something we’ve all gone through together. Many people have been negatively impacted in ways I cannot imagine. I recognize and am incredibly thankful for, the privilege we have of owning a house in a suburban location with a backyard. It has made quarantining at home tolerable and has allowed us to stay safe and isolated when many people could not. It’s also confirmed for me how important it is to know how to grow and preserve food.
In addition to the global pandemic, 2020 gave us the worst wildfire season we’ve had here in western Oregon in my lifetime. There were days this summer when it was not safe to go outside because of the air quality. We were in the house for two weeks just due to the smoke. The hot orange sun blazed through the smoke to reach my ash-covered plants. Thank goodness I had installed the irrigation system because I was not able to be outside to water during that time and I would have lost everything.
Many people in neighboring towns lost their homes and all of their possessions to the fires this year. We packed up our most beloved photos and mementos in case the evacuation order reached us. Thankfully it did not but it was very frightening.
In spite of all of this, the garden rallied and gave us some of the biggest harvests yet! This is the story about how I grew 178 pounds of large food in a small suburban backyard!
Strawberries – 1.25 lbs
We actually harvested more than this but we ate them before getting in the house to weigh them. Irresistible!
Basil – 1.63 lbs
Radishes – 2 lbs
Kale – 2.63 lbs
I had a few good harvests but overall I had a terrible time with aphids this year and had to pull the kale shortly after the wildfires were put out. The air was just too heavy and hot and I think the aphids just thrived in that environment.
Carrots – 2.75 lbs
Beets – 3.31 lbs
Raspberries – 3.4 lbs
Onions – 8.3 lbs
We ate a lot of onions and then dehydrated a batch and ground it up in the food processor to be used as onion powder this winter.
Squash – 54.75 lbs!
These lucky plants got to grow in the new raised bed by the patio. The soil was fresh this year and full of nutrients. They did quite well I’d say. Wow!
Eggplant – 10.19 lbs
These beauties got to grow in the new raised bed with the brand new soil. I could have gotten even more eggplant if the squash hadn’t blocked a lot of the light from these smaller plants. They struggled until they were big enough to stretch past the squash and then they took off.
Green Beans – 13 lbs
I planted half the number of seeds this year compared to 2019 but got more than half the volume of produce. Last year we harvested almost 20 lbs of green beans, this year 13 lbs.
Blueberries – 13.8 lbs!
Last year we got 6.8 lbs off of three bushes. This year one bush did not produce at all and probably needs to be replaced. We still got twice the volume off the other two bushes. Incredible!
Cucumbers – 16 lbs
Tomatoes – 42.38 lbs!
I planted six varieties of tomatoes this year. Some varieties did better than others but the true winner was the Japanese Black Trifele. I got 24 lbs off of that one plant. Amazing!
Cabbage – 3 lbs
In case you weren’t counting, that’s 178 pounds of food from our small, suburban backyard garden! I did not accomplish my goal of tracking the cost of my inputs and the prices at the Farmer’s Market to see my profits but I’ll shoot for that next year. With everything this year threw at us, I’m amazed at this harvest. How did your garden do?