Harvests from the garden in 2015

I have just spent some time totting up the time spent in the garden last year and the yields:

Harvests from the garden in 2015
  Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Total %
Onions 57 477 19 245 798 7
Cooking greens 106 544 913 922 2485 22
Salad leaves 311 154 25 50 540 5
Roots 1492 17 623 1954 4086 35
Pods / fruiting veg 0 209 2072 0 2281 20
Fruit 0 0 252 1000 1252 11
Seeds 0 0 0 51 51 <1
Other 60 0 10 70 1
Total g 1966 1461 3904 4232 11563  
Total kg 1.966 1.461 3.904 4.232 11.563  
Total kg 3.573 2.927 14.001 1.502 22.003
Total kg 0 0 1.695 4.015 5.813

As I anticipated root crops an greens constitute the majority of the harvest.  I was initially a bit disappointed that the yields decreased compared to the previous year, on closer inspection this is the result of:

  • Growing a decent crop of beans, peas and courgettes in 2014 (when they constituted the majority of the yield) and far fewer this year.
  • Due to the appalling wet weather I have not yet being able to harvest many of the roots grown during 2015.  Some skirret is harvested, one mashua, one oca and a few Jerusalem artichokes.  Still remaining in the ground are at least a dozen mashua, some oca (not sure how many), also Jerusalem and Chinese artichokes, burdock, carrots, root chicory.  Had I been able to harvest them I am sure the yield would have been considerably greater.  If I remember, when I do harvest them I will come back to this post and update it.  3.8 kg mashua harvested on 4 February 2016
  • Some crops were not harvested because I left them to bulk up more – perennial leeks, Babington’s leeks.
  • There are always masses of greens, both for salad and cooking but I don’t always pick what there is.  Partly because we are not there all the time and partly bad organisation.  Had I been more attentive yields would have been higher for these.
Comparison of yields in 2014 and 2015
  2015 2014 Change
Onions 798 595 +203
Cooking greens 2485 2603 -118
Salad leaves 540 494 +46
Roots 4086 4104 -18
Pods / fruiting veg 2281 13895 -11614
Fruit 1252 151 +1101
Seeds 51 0 +51
Other 70 161 -91
Total g 11563 22003 -10440
Total kg 11.563 22.003 -10.44


Time spent in the garden in 2015
Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Total %
Sowing seed / taking cuttings 2.5 8 0 0.5 11 11
Planting out 7 10 4.25 4.5 25.75 25
Management / maintenance 2.5 9.25 7.5 7 26.25 26
Preparation of new areas 19 18 0 2.5 39.5 39
Total 31 45.25 11.75 14.5 102.5 100
Total 2014 38.5 6 12.5 2.5 59.5 100
Total 2013 2.25 54.25 17.75 3.75 78 100

I spent 102 hours gardening in 2015 – equivalent to fourteen seven hour days.  This was twice as much time in the garden as in 2014.  I had prepared more ground in 2014 than in 2013 so the resultant growing area for 2015 was larger and needed more time.  I also had more time available and as I used that to prepare some additional beds for next year – nearly 40% of the total.

Management and maintenance – ie “weeding”, removing or cutting back plants that have finished their growth and moving things round – took 26 hours, compared to 9 the previous year, again reflecting the increased growing area.  However 26 hours equates to under four days of work doing what most conventional gardeners spend a lot of time doing!

2015 2014 Change
Sowing seed / taking cuttings 11 5.25 +5.75
Planting out 25.75 19.5 +6.25
Management / maintenance 26.25 9 +17
Preparation of new areas 39.5 29.5 -10
Total 102.5 59.5 +43

As time goes on and there is less scope for extending the growing area and things become more established I would expect management and maintenance to take up a larger proportion of the time, but not a great deal more actual time.

In addition to the basic numbers I really want to emphasise the less tangible harvests, such as pure joy.  The garden has been incredibly beautiful, with an astounding amount of flowers.

This is burdock in flower growing amongst flat leafed parsley, also in flower.

KODAK Digital Still Camera

Flies love carrot flowers

I have had such pleasure watching bees, flies, butterflies, moths and other unidentified things buzzing constantly through spring to autumn and such a wealth of flowers on plants left to go to seed, in particular flat leafed parsley, radish and carrots.  I have seen several frogs and toads underneath the polycultures furthest from the house.  It is really damp down there and they are constructed of lots of old twigs, branches and decomposing ‘stuff’, which seems to leave little nooks, crannies and passageways for these lovely amphibians to get through or just to sit about in.  There are plenty of beetles and spiders too.

and bees love hyssop!




About Anni Kelsey

I love forest gardens and forest gardening, nature, reading and everything good about being alive. I have written two books - the garden of equal delights (2020) - about the principles and practice of forest gardening; and Edible Perennial Gardening (2014) - about growing perennial vegetables in polycultures, which is basically forest gardening concentrating on the lower layers.
This entry was posted in Borderland Garden, Edible Perennial Gardening, forest garden development and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Harvests from the garden in 2015

  1. Pingback: winter | gardens of delight

  2. Pingback: Masses of mashua and plenty to spare | Anni's perennial veggies

  3. mortaltree says:

    The burdock and parsley picture is really striking. Definitely one of my favorites.


  4. Simon says:

    Hi Anni,

    Happy New Year.

    Great to see your summary of last year. It’s inspired me to summarise my produce. One thing I had been trying to get a handle on was productivity per unit area for this kind of gardening. Do you know how the area of your garden?

    I’m so impressed by your record keeping of the time you spend in the garden too. How do you keep track of it? I wish I had done something similar. This year the summer felt a little overwhelming with soft fruit and I’d like to have a better handle on how much time I spent in the garden.

    Best wishes,


    • Anni Kelsey says:

      Hi Simon
      Happy New Year to you too!
      I am very pernickety about recording my time – I basically note when I go out into the garden and when I come back in and record it in my notebook with a brief summary of what type of task I was doing. I also write down what I planted and usually where so I can check later if it came up etc. In practice I never get round to the latter.
      I am not sure about the area of the garden but will try to estimate it when I am next there. There are sort of designated veggie growing areas, but I also have bits and pieces in the hedge and in with the flower beds so its not straightforward. I agree though that it is a good idea to know the area as it gives another thing to compare. The only caveat to that is that I am not aiming for maximum output for area as would be in an intensive approach. I am personally more concerned with maximum output for my time and effort. However it is true (and I hope not contradictory) that I would obviously like to make the best use of space, particularly as it is limited.
      I hope your garden does even better this coming year, I was impressed by the way it came on so well last year.
      Best wishes


      • Simon says:

        I think I might have to try your approach to recording time. I don’t think it would take much more that I’m doing to record produce and changes I make to the garden like planting.

        I totally agree about the importance of maximum output for a given amount of time and effort. That’s my aim too I think. From what I’ve been looking at it seems that allotments are probably the most productive form of growing per unit area, but I don’t have the time to look after one well. For me a garden needs to be more than an allotment too. From my sums this year I reckon I’m probably getting more on an a per area basis than an organic farm (about twice) but about a quarter of an intensive allotment, although it is hard to find good numbers. Compared to allotments though I think lots of people have enough time to grow a low-maintenance garden based around edible perennials.

        Good luck with your garden this year and congratulations on your gold-medal winning year in 2015!


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