Sunday, October 24, 2010

Adopt a Crop update: And, we're done. +Prizes & Gloating!

I am just realizing that after all my threatening about overloading your eyeballs with gardenblahblahblah, I actually haven't been that crazy on the subject this year. Probably because we've had, like, the coolest (in terms of temperature rather than general awesomeness) summer in 40 years and the garden was a little lackluster.

Or so I thought.

Tomato butt cheeks. Because I'm 10 years old and super mature.

See, you remember that I track the garden haul, right? Where I put everything that comes out of the garden onto my fancy scale and then write down the weights and track them all anal like in my spreadsheet so that I can know all kinds of random garden facts that make me feel like a big man when I'm cruising Whole Foods and can look a tomato in the eye and be like, "Hello tomato, at my house you'd cost me $.21 and taste twice as good so I'm going to pass on you and go fight some Russian woman for the last bag of barley." (Which totally happened, by the way, and I won in the end because the Whole Foods clerk took pity on me and rooted around until he found another bag lurking somewhere in The Back. Nice.)

The BIG potato haul: 2 lbs 2 oz. WOO. At least they're pretty.

Know what else is a true story? The fact that this year, it only cost me $.21 a pound to grow our own produce. That's it - less than a shiny hot quarter (do quarters get hot? It's unknowable.) for a pound of local and organic produce. And, that's $.12 less than it cost me, per pound, to grow last year's garden.

Are you dying to see 2009's garden fight 2010's garden? I don't even know why I ask because, obviously...

2009 vs 2010
Gardening costs: $91.34 vs $56.26= -$35.08: 2010 wins!
Total produce value: $1,130.34  vs $1,003.19 = -$127.15: 2009 wins!
Cost per pound to produce: $0.33 vs $0.21= -$0.12: 2010 wins!
Total pounds: 273.98 vs 264.31 = -9.67: 2009 wins!
Total pounds of tomatoes: 208.25 vs 147.4 = - 60.81: 2009 wins!

So, to sum that up in a way that makes some sense for normal people; I spent less putting the garden in this year which YAY, and despite a very cool summer and one less tomato plant, I only produced 9 fewer pounds of produce and reduced my overall cost per pound by $.12. And wouldn't you like to know that it DID NOT cost me $64 to grow a damn tomato. Just saying.

This was a cucumber plant I gave to our neighbors which grew BACK over to my side of the fence. Cute.

 Also, I learned that regardless of the variety, most any standard tomato plant I put in will give me around 50 pounds of tomatoes and by cutting back to 3 tomato plants this year, I sort of fucked myself in the total poundage category because that's a big deficit to make up. Thankfully, we grew some heavy weird watermelons and came in just 9 pounds shy of last year.

So, yay, the garden actually DID do well and DID NOT have a lackluster year even though it rained until fucking June of all things.

Because, had it been warm and sunny in May, as I'm accustomed to, the other alien creature in my garden might have had a chance to reach maturity before I unceremoniously ripped it from the garden on Saturday.

And now the aliens are in my house guarding my kitchen window from unwanted visitors.
People, the garden is done for. I ran six miles Saturday morning and upon finishing my run, immediately headed out back to take down the garden for the season.

Nigh - night, garden.

Yep. Sure did. And then I sat on my couch, drank a bottle of wine and screamed at my TV until it screamed back, "THE GIANTS ARE GOING TO THE WORLD SERIES!!!"

I can make the TV do my bidding if I just scream loud enough. I'm sure of it.

Anyway, the garden came out and I am here to report on my findings, give some lucky Adopt a Cropper a prize just for commenting and probably gloat a little.

Let's face it, I'm not modest. And I really like dispelling the myth that growing an organic garden is some sort of expensive heroic impossible effort.

It is not. Even though I like to act all dramatic like it is.


One garden does not equal one wheelbarrow.

Spiny evil fruits have spiny evil vines.

Bubba will eat anything.

There was a lot more shit out there to harvest than I thought. Which explains the dirty bucket I pulled in at the last minute.

I now have a lot of work to do in the kitchen.

My findings aren't all earth shattering. In fact, probably none of them are, but I was pretty stoked to bring in some final tomatoes and I really like the one with the prominent ass cheeks. I think I'll save him for last.

For prizes, then.

If you remember, I usually give away an Adopt a Crop prize made, appropriately, from the Adopted Crop. Like the pickle chips and arugula pesto and such. Yeah, well, the jelly melons aren't ripe (even the one Bubba ate so willingly was still a little north of ripe) and I'm not sure what I'd make from them anyway that would stand a chance of shipping anywhere in the world, so I'm not holding true to the theme.

You're going to have to come to peace with this on your own.

However, I AM going to give a garden prize to a random commenter and it will be a collection of preserved things from my garden. There will probably be pickles, a jam of some kind and then maybe something strange or unexpected. All I can say for sure is that they'll be edible and will not have any component of African Horned Cucumber Jelly Melon.

You can thank me later on that one.

SO! Leave a comment by 11/15/10 and I'll randomly choose someone to get a random box of preserves from my garden. Random!

Oh, and if you're curious about the flavor of the spiny melon that tried to kill me when I tore it from the garden (for real. I have wounds.), it does in fact taste a bit like banana and citrus. I imagine I'd like it if it were to ripen fully and not try to slit my wrists when I harvested it. Though I may never know because I doubt I'll try growing it again. It was too mean.

But what will I grow next year? Well, I already have some thoughts but nothing concrete because, of course, there's the requisite mulling of seed catalogs during the cold winter months which I must do in earnest so that I can choose some equally ridiculous things for next year's garden as I sit pining away for fresh tomatoes and fantasizing about a warm summer garden while I wear all my biggest and ugliest clothes.

I'm pretty sure this is how all these bizarre heirloom vegetable varieties stay in circulation. I mean, no one's going to the nursery all hot for African Horned Cucumber Jelly Melon starts in April, after all. No, weird shit like that only sounds fun and good when it's cold and crappy outside and when you haven't laid eyes on fresh melons for months. So when you see something like that looks like a medieval weapon but turns out to be a "banana-citrus like" melon - you jump on it like a muther. WOO! I will have this bizarre thing! No, I don't know how it grows and I don't care! Woo!

You know what I mean.

Now that I know this about myself (because I am a prime example of how shit like this happens), I am going to try to train my eyes on the tomato and bean pages so that, in the event of a Weird Alert, all I end up with is a foot long red bean or zebra stripped tomato. Anything, really, as long as it's not covered in spikes. I don't need that in my life.

So, yeah. The garden is done. The fava beans have been planted to overwinter. I've broken down most of the final harvest. The final numbers show that we had a pretty good season produce-wise and I'm looking to give away some preserves.

You know what to do.


  1. You never cease to amaze me. Of course, all my garden yielded so far is a few hearty helpings of basil (I'm not complaining)and two good mitts of mint. Currently, I'm waiting for the $110 lemon to ripen; it's making me a nervous wreck. Congrats!! Now make with the preserves! [I should be so lucky!]

  2. Mmm. Preserves from Finny! Sounds good. I hope that I win. Not anyone else. Me.

  3. Awesome! I've loved reading about your crazy garden adventures and it has motivated me to be better about my own garden, though it's nowhere near as productive or fun as yours looks. Would love to try anything you preserved.

  4. You gotta love a man like Bubba who will eat almost anything!!!

    I would love some of your preserves if I am a winner.

    shinz3 at cox dot net


  5. I'm scared that if I win I'll have to try it. Matt will eat anything but I feel like I would have to provide photos. And I would do it- just for YOU, Finny.

    I like how your tomatoes have butts.

    And I think the cucumber wants a shared custody arrangement. Maybe your neighbors are abusive? Maybe they touched him in his no-no parts? INTERVENE!

  6. Oh, Finny I should win! I am your newest BIGGEST fan. I even found you on twitter(that sounds so stalker-ish) but hey, you did tell us how to find you. I'm rooting for your Giants (Texas beat my Yankees). and I am the mother of a finny too.......signed, Trish in NJ.....

  7. POTATOES! Why was there no detail about the potatoes? Other than the total pounds harvested, I mean. Have you eaten them? Did you love them? Will you grow them again?

    Now get in that kitchen and get to work. Harvesting is only the beginning.

  8. I want Jelly Melons. :::sigh:::

    I'm gonna try again next year - after we move the raised bed to a bona-fide full-sun location. Annnnd amend the bed, heavily, with used chicken bedding. I've heard tell that chicken poop is a good snail deterrent.

    Ah well, maybe next year's garden will better (It's GOTTA be. This year's sucked out loud!).

    Word verification "blura" - how I feel after too many G&T's

  9. Most of the time I love my apartment, but when I read your posts about gardening it makes me wish I had a yard... since I don't have a yard to grow things to make preserves, I'll just keep my fingers crossed that I am the random winner.

  10. About the potatoes. Is it just me, or do some of them have a sort of, uh, phallic quality to them in that first photo? Totally tubular, man.

  11. Okay, a math question that wasn't clear to me. How did you determine the value of the crops to do your calculations? Did you mention this portion of the formula?

    You are again encouraging me to notch it up. I'm getting a scale. And a spreadsheet. And a giant acre of land in Colorado.
    With chickens.

    Can we just plan on you coming to visit for our Fin/Donk trip next year?

    Also? I think you should be selling this photography and story. A memoir on your garden with your photos is absolutely marketable. Imagine each chapter with one of your recipes? I'd buy 10 copies.

  12. Its just unfair that you got 50 pounds of tomatoes from each plant, while I slaved away for months over NINE plants, and got MAYBE (I didn't actually measure, although I totally will next year, because I am both competitive and anal) 2 pounds. But, I do still have kale, chard, arugula and jeruselum artichokes that are growing despite the frigid nights. *sticks tongue out*.

    I mean, good for you! I'd love some homemade jam!

  13. Well done on another successful garden season. Your motivation with all things garden (soil amending, canning, bean-tower building)never cease to amaze me.

  14. i loved your garden posts.
    i planted a co-op garden with a few friends two years ago and we had a blast harvesting and canning and wearing matching garden boots and funky hats.
    their was a christian preschool across the street though and we had to listen to kumbayah music while harvesting sometimes, so we had to make sure we cussed a lot and shocked the teachers into taking them inside.
    my kids are grown, what do i care?
    i'm just kidding.
    sort. of.
    anyway... please enter me in your random preserve winner contest.
    i would be the happiest girl ever.

  15. Awesome haul, as always :)

    Love the garden stories, and well, crap, anything you post. HOW UNORIGINAL I KNOW. Yup, that's me.

  16. Oh, wow. I just remembered your blog after forgetting about it for about a year, so I have lots of fun reading ahead. i LOVE your spreadsheet! I'm gonna copy you. Next year is about the garden. I have no idea how you get 50 lbs from 1 tomato plant, but I'm guessing that watering them is part of my problem. :-) In case I win, I'm Erin underscore Buhl at yahoo.

  17. OK, I am having some serious tomato envy!!! Yes my tomatoes have asscrack, even multiple cracks on many. But being that my hubby and I are first year gardeners and possibly that I live in the hot ass dessert (we had an evil-never ending summer this year) our tomatoes came out to be the size of small change!! Then we fertilized and HELL YEA! now they're the size of maybe golf balls!! WOOHOO!!! They're still the best darn tomatoes we've ever tasted, so we just use them as snacks as we tend to the rest of our garden. But it would be nice to use them in your beautiful looking tomato sandwiches!! Oh well....maybe next year!!!

    Love your blog, I'm so very inspired and always happy for the laughs!! Keep it up!!

  18. Note to self: Do not read Finny's blog while eating chips (out of bag) and salsa (out of jar). You will end up in the awkward position of explaining to boyfriend just WHAT in the hell you're doing at 12:33 AM wiping masticated chip bits off computer screen. Whilst wearing a 11-year old hoodie from the junior college your brother dropped out of and Uggs. To which I answer "FUNNY!" and "COMFY!" because I have been reduced to Neanderthalic grunts from the hot salsa acid burning through my nasal passages. TMI?

    Word verification: 'surdi' Surdi you didn't just tell that story to the internets.

  19. I like random veggies. Count me in.

  20. loooooooving this post (sorry, i lurk). super jealous of your haul, love the spreadsheet techniques (as i'm an engineer and would totally do something like that), and of course the great pictures and dialog.
    do you have a how-to on your raised beds? i'm going to be putting some in next spring, and i love your set up. do those boards slide down the row for easy working? what genius! thanks for the inspiration!

  21. too late but I live for homemade jam!


[2013 update: You can't comment as an anonymous person anymore. Too many douchebags were leaving bullshit SPAM comments and my inbox was getting flooded, but if you're here to comment in a real way like a real person, go to it.]

Look at you commenting, that's fun.

So, here's the thing with commenting, unless you have an email address associated with your own profile, your comment will still post, but I won't have an email address with which to reply to you personally.

Sucks, right?

Anyway, to remedy this, I usually come back to my posts and post replies in the comment field with you.

But, if you ever want to email me directly to talk about pumpkins or shoes or what it's like to spend a good part of your day Swiffering - shoot me an email to finnyknitsATgmailDOTcom.