Sunday, December 30, 2012

Farewell 2012!

As the year finds it end, we can look back at the year and consider all that has occurred, this year was one of great fortune. We had ample rain and this meant excellent crops while others had no such luck. The weather was not disagreeable overall, we toiled, planned and executed to the best of our ability and yet our rewards were great. We here at the test gardens were amazed when the numbers came in, and below are the absolute final numbers for the year with all harvests in and all work noted as completed for the year.

Table  1A: 2009-2012 End of year costs & monthly averages
|           |   2009  |  2010  |  2011  |   2012 |
| Avg. P/M$ |   67.65 | 105.68 | 160.41 | 109.25 |
| Per Year$ |  676.47 |1268.15 |1924.81 |1310.90 |

Table 2A: 2009-2012 Year End Labor Hours and Total Harvest Weight
|            |  2009  |  2010  |  2011  |   2012 |
| Ttl lbHarv.|   0.00 |  25.25 | 111.55 |  71.03*|
| Hours PY   | 000.00 | 191.75 | 258.50 | 173.50*|
| Hours APM  | 000.00 |  15.97 |  21.52 |  14.45*|
| Hours APD  | 000.00 |   0.53 |   0.71 | 000.48*|

Table 3A: Yearly Square Foot Area of the Test Gardens
|            |  2009  |  2010  |  2011  |   2012 |
| # of beds  |   9.00 |  13.00 |  16.00 |  23.00 |
| Total Area | 327.99 | 391.13 | 419.06 | 284.43 | (sq ft)
| Area incr. |   -.-- | +63.14 |+ 27.93 |-134.63 |

*Labor hours and harvest amounts adjusted for final harvest of the year on 12/30/2012.

Essentially at the end of the year we now know what it costs to grow your own. Some of you who may read this may balk at the numbers, but you have to consider that farmers get subsidies, and use chemical fertilizers and pesticides and often use gasoline powered machines and varied levels of automation. I might add farmers often buy whole sale for a projected year’s worth of operations where as I don’t since the test gardens operate on six-month financial periods. With that in mind, to level the playing field, lets assume that labor was none of the cost of operations and take out the cost of crop testing and reduce all my material costs to bulk wholesale levels.  With the aforementioned factors included my cost per ounce would be $4.81 where as my cost in materials per square foot would be $4.61. Essentially I am getting about a 1:1 ratio which is really good for a back yard garden. If I cut out labor costs, and altered material costs to a wholesale level ($355.45), then counted against the harvest totals we have a averaged cost of $0.313 per ounce. Needless to say this is quite reasonable when compared to the medium tier produce found at most supermarkets. In short corporate agriculture, makes their food cheap not by their own capability but on the dole of the tax payers. If I had a subsidy; I too would be pricing product at their level as well, however for the gardener of any skill this should stand as proof of why you should start or increase the size of a garden as part of your resolutions.
But enough about the numbers, new years is coming at us rather quickly and I’d like to look at the year in a different light.

Not unlike any other profession that requires one to be unflinching and ever ready a New Year rushes to meet us, will its weather be so kind or will we face heavy drought as we have in years past? I cannot and, will not dare speak for any of you, but I hope for more of the same of 2012, the positives outweighed the negatives. Many new things were tried at the test gardens and major expansions were made, and they paid off greatly if even just our yearly surplus sale was an indicator. To that end it is now that I must thank all of you who read this blog for your kind support. The Sustainable neighbors group also has been incredibly supportive, and their  leader Marsha Howe is responsible for suggesting more then one study that revised a lot of our own thinking here at the test gardens. We’re glad to have her back in the sand hills, and wish her the best in her endeavors and look forward to another year of mutual cooperation to further the great tapestry of work that bears a lot of names but always is sustainable. Also I must thank Sustainable Sand hills for their promotion of everything organic and sustainable; without them the cause would no doubt be set back a bit and we might find ourselves fighting a harder uphill battle.

I will not go without one more thank you for the year, thank you to each and every client who supported the operations of Bordeaux Light Landscaping with your patronage. Without all of you, I’m not sure how far BL2’s many projects would have gone. You guys are excellent people and for your incredible open-minded approach you deserve to take a bow, you folks are what makes the sustainable organic universe keep spinning.

As a final thought for the year of 2012, when it comes to gardening and finding solutions to the limitations of the current food supply I do think that George Bernard Shaw’s quote rings true.

“You see things; and you say ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were and say ‘Why Not?’” –George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) from ‘Back To Methuselah’

So I ask why the heck not, 2013 will have some very interesting things afoot at the test gardens, and I can promise for the adventurous at least six edible plants you wont see in your books nor on the internet.  For those not so risqué I can ensure that the best of 2012 will return with a few cool new additions. In case you’re wondering what will return for your gardening delight next year here is the confirmed list below.

Cucumber, Armenian
Eggplant, Striped Togo
Eggplant, Turkish Italian Orange
Okra, Burgundy
Pepper, Lemon Drop
Pepper, Tobago Seasoning
Spinach, Red Malabar
Tomato, Red Currant

The above reflects less then half of the entire planned plant list for next year’s sale, but I can assure you this, some of next year’s plants will blow your mind! Exploding heads aside, I wish you all warmest season’s greeting sand may you have a happy but safe new years.

As always Keep ‘em growing folks, and remember, frost does it’s damage through dehydration, water your cold seasonal plants before a frost but don’t wet the leaves to reduce damage!

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