Every so often, I catch myself trying to compare the garden this year to the garden at the same time last year. The two years are so different from each other, it isn't even close to a fair comparison. About the only thing they really have in common is that they are both definitely not your average Minnesota growing seasons. Last year spring came way early, and everything had at least a month head start. This year, we had snow on the ground during the first week of May, and many things are a good month behind.
But the comparisons are hard to avoid today as I write the first "Measuring Up" post of the season (which just happens to be two months later than last year). Still, while it's easy to focus on what I haven't yet been able to harvest this year (tomatoes, peas, raspberries), I think the more interesting observations focus on some of the good things that have come as a result of our crazy start to the growing season:
- Last year the strawberries were done producing by this time, but even with the late start, this year has already topped last year's harvest--and I'm still picking a small bowl of berries daily. The berries have been bigger, better, and more abundant this year (it probably has more to do with the patch becoming more established in its third year than the weather, but it's a positive difference, nonetheless).
- A year ago, the spinach and radishes suffered under the early heat. I may have been able to get more plantings in the ground by this same time last year, but they were also very quick to bolt. This year these cool season crops have thrived in the cooler weather. This has been the best crop of spinach I've ever grown (in fact, I haven't even really noticed that the basil isn't quite ready yet, because we've been enjoying a steady supply of spinach pesto).
- Spring's delayed arrival allowed me the opportunity to get around to dividing the rhubarb plants this spring (had the rhubarb started to come up earlier, I'm confident it would not have happened). As a result, the rhubarb harvest is notably lower this year, but the break is a good and necessary one for the health of the patch.
When you start to take everything into consideration when adding up this month's totals, it's actually not nearly as different from last year as I would have expected. I'm only off by a mere 3.3 pounds from last June
, which isn't bad at all:
In fact, it's a great number! In the end does it matter that the nearly 20 pounds of garden produce had a slightly different make up than last year's? Not at all! (truth be told, it's probably a good thing that I'm making more spinach salads and fewer rhubarb scones this year).
It just goes to show that with every season there will always be some things that do really well and some things that are a bit more of a disappointment, and from year to year, those lists might be as different as can be. Even despite our best efforts, we just have to accept that some years are going to be better for an early tomato than others. The most important thing is to focus on what the garden has to offer right now.
The tomatoes will come with time, as will the peas and the zucchini and everything else. Today, I'm enjoying the strawberries and spinach while they last!
What are you enjoying from your garden right now?
Labels: garden harvest totals