2015 Garden Results
I have had a few people asking questions about how our church garden did this year and the related costs, all of which I am glad to share. This is the first year we kept detailed records because we wanted to know if it was worth the effort.
The garden produced a total of 2249 pounds. The breakdown is as follows:
Tomatoes: 1143, Zuchinni: 30, Yellow Squash: 223, Pole Beans: 21, Cucumbers: 243, PH Peas: 36, Okra: 188, Cantaloupe: 182, Hot Pepper: 74, Turnip Greens/Turnips: 109, Bell Pepper: 74 each.
2249 pounds isn’t a bad number considering all of the factors. Some individual things did well and couple won’t be planted next year. Success is relative. Our quantity and quality was not near what we hoped for, however, we still produced over a ton of food at a pretty reasonable cost. One major reality with having a pantry operation one day a week meant that some of the produce would spoil before it could be distributed. So we picked Tuesday afternoon for the Wednesday pantry and Saturday morning for Sunday, which was offered in the welcome center to anyone at no charge, donations accepted. More half the food went to the food pantry and the balance on Sunday morning. A small portion was given the crew and to those who worked the garden off and on.
The plan was to produce as much as 4,000 pounds. An educated guess and it was a large but doable goal. I have to say, this was the worst gardening year I have ever experienced. We learned and adapted from previous years but we had every kind of set-back a gardener can have except an earthquake. Mother-Nature was brutal. I won’t go into all of the factors except for one. Right around 4th of July week we had several inches of rain and flooding which brought us within a breath of losing all of our tomatoes, 70+ plants. They were all wilting and dying fast. We quickly did all we knew to do, which at the time I was certain it was not going to be enough. I credit God’s help in ultimately saving them.
The bottom line costs? Our net cash cost this year was $749, which calculates to a number of 33 cents per pound for everything. We have about $650 banked to start 2016 season. We began the year with zero except for a little money in the garden fund that was left from last year, which we did not touch. After putting out the word we received $440 direct cash donations. Another $200, designated to the garden, went into the church offering that is in the $650 garden fund for 2016. Actual cash cost to the church or pantry budgets, $0.00. Incidental cost of water and electricity was well under $75.
The help situation for 2016 is still in question. Intend to solicit folks to commit to short periods of few weeks maybe rather than whole season. Also, offer a program for anyone to grow things at home to contribute to the pantry to get more involvement. Details to come out soon.
Thanks to the regular crew: Dick Phillips, Sue Perkins, Larry Brown and ET Martin. They are four amazing people that understand hard work. BIG THANK YOU to those who gave sizeable direct cash donations: Frieda Wimbley, ET Martin, Sue Perkins, Larry Brown, Greg Brandon and Nicki McQuistion. Thanks to those who helped us when we needed extra help: Curtis and Chelsea Gagne, Greg Brandon, Amy Brown, Roxanna Mascaneras (and Scouts), Nicki McQuiston. Brother Denman, Thanks, for plowing and disc work.
Billy Knight, Co-Chairperson, Food Pantry Garden