Crop report

Unlike our friends over at City and the Mountains I haven’t taken the time nor had the patience to weigh the produce we have collected from our kitchen garden; maybe in the future I’ll try to keep better records as it’s interesting to see exactly what comes of all the hard work.

On the other hand we do have a fairly accurate record of the yields from our top field, probably because we only planted two crops!

As I detailed in one of my earlier posts we planted 150Kg of potato seed over a 900 M² area back in late April, the land wasn’t considered to be good for spuds, or anything for that matter, but I wanted potatoes and so I got potatoes! So when we finally picked them in early September, with the help of friends, family and neighbours, I was disappointed to find that we only harvested around 700Kg (maybe a bit more as we dug quite a lot by hand for the wedding). A combination of poor soil, a very dry summer and no doubt a little lost foliage eaten by our friends from Colorado all conspired against a good crop. Looking at the price of potatoes, twice that of last year, it would seem that everyone was blighted by the same problems. Gosias aunty lost all of their potatoes as a result of flooding in June, their lowland location meant that the tubers were trapped under water for many weeks, so the family is thankful that we at least had something to show for our efforts.

Putting this all into context we have to look at the cost to produce these potatoes and dividing the fuel cost between rye and potatoes, adding a bit more for the harvest, I’d say we have spent about 300 Pln (£60). That works out at roughly 50gr (10p) per Kg. Considering that you can buy them in the shops for about 1Pln (20p) per Kg it might seem like a lot of hard work, but then they are ours and they are free from fertiliser, pesticides and herbicides; which adds more than monetary value in my book.

The oats on the other hand cropped well, when we harvested in early August, with the help of the neighbours Massey Ferguson 307, we managed to reap about 1500Kg; a good fodder crop for when we eventually get some livestock on the go. Lets just hope the rats and mice don’t help themselves to too much over the winter!

Once again putting a cost on this is essential to determining the viability of future crops, so adding the fuel, seed and harvesting costs together we reach the sum of around 650 Pln (£130). In actual fact the farmer harvested the oats free of charge as part of our wedding present, but I have added the cost as if he had charged.  So that comes in at about 22 Pln  (£4.40) per 50Kg sack of oats; the going rate at the moment is about 25 pln (£5) per sack! A waste of time? I think knowing that the crop is ours and free of any additives does make a big difference; if we intend to feed it to our pigs, sheep, goats etc. in the future then at least we know what we are feeding them. Ideally we would like to stay away from commercial feeds altogether, even if it means that livestock takes a little longer to mature, knowing what fattened them up would sit well with me and hopefully add a premium to their value should we ever sell outside of our community.

I’ll make a quick note about the other ‘vegetable crops’ that I mentioned in my original post, if only to reiterate how poor the land is as a growing medium. Our cabbages are little more than cricket ball sized and the pumpkins just about reached the softball court. Mind you we have still had quite a few coleslaws from the cabbage and the pumpkin seeds are drying on top of the cooking range; an extremely healthy snack and very versatile cooking ingredient.

So what plans for the top field next year? Well we have already planted rye where the oats where (the 24th September), and we plan to plant clover and beans in the area that we had the spuds, cabbage and pumpkins; hopefully adding some much needed nitrogen to patch for the future. The very top of the top field that we left in oats as a green manure will be the potato patch for next year, but we hope to ship in some manure in the spring to help them along and increase the yield.

I was going to post a little about the kitchen garden but I can see that you have most likely lost interest if you got this far; I know I have, so beware I’ll leave it for an other post. Until then and hopefully with an update on the house in between, I’ll leave you read something more interesting :)

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11 thoughts on “Crop report

  1. You’re absolutely right I think in not making cost the deciding factor. Same for me goes for home-made bread; I can buy the horrible stuff from the supermarket much cheaper, and even a passable wholemeal loaf a bit cheaper, and no work, but I still prefer to make (and eat) my own. On this I found myself for once agreeing with David Cameron rather than a prat writer in the Daily Mail (found in a waiting room; I wouldn’t buy it) who completely missed the point of making it yourself, even with a breadmaker.

    • Glad to hear that you found the Daily Mail :)
      Doing a bit of research recently I discovered that it is possible to mill your own wheat, rye and other cereals in a handy worktop machine, a small investment but at least it means we will have total control over our bread ingredients; not to mention porridge! Roll on next years harvest :)

  2. Hey Eddy, I try never to work out the cost vs harvest. I usually tell people it’s probably cheaper just to buy from the store, but that takes away all the fun. Growing crops is much more than just reaping the harvest…you get all the exercise of bending, digging and weeding, you get to use your brain in figuring out how to outwit the critters, and you get the satisfying feeling of growing for your own survival. The harvest is the frosting on the cake. That and knowing where your food comes from…knowing it’s not grown on sterile soil, sprayed with all kinds of pesticides (russets), or picked with slave labor. We are always happy with whatever we get.
    Looks like I’ll have to wait for the kitchen garden report. :-)

    • Thanks Pat, your words are so true; we only looked at the cost of the top field as we had to pay so much in fuel and a little in seed to get up and running, it’s good to know that it hasn’t cost more than buying in and as you and other commentators have said we know what’s in it! Of course if you counted the labour cost then we are defiantly at a loss, but as you say that is the fun and reward of the whole process. As for the kitchen garden, well it just keeps giving; although the unseasonably cold weather will put a stop to most things this week as the first frost is upon us, hard to believe that this time last year we still had temperatures in the mid 20′s. All the best Eddy & Gosia

  3. . . . of course, if one day we find out pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers are indeed good for us, and increase our lifespan, well then, you’ll have to rethink the whole thing.

      • Yes it does . . . nature has killed far more people than technology has.

        Don’t mistake my comments as not supporting what you do.

        It’s just that without people controlling their reproductive process, technology is what we must count on to feed the current populations. Even proponents of “natural” living admit that under the best circumstances, they could feed perhaps as much as 2 billion people (just heard that on some talk; I’ll try to find it again), which I’m all for as long as I am in that 2 billion, and not the other five.

  4. If I have worked this out correctly, it means that you will be mostly eating porridge and chips for the next year? I need the second instalment, to see what side dishes or green vegetables you are going to be having with that stodgy combo!
    Well done anyway, I am sure those animals will look forward to all that nice organic stuff, and you will soon be able to have some pork chops with those chips mate.
    I am actually very impressed, as I have grown a total of nothing, unless you count Mint and Rosemary, and they get a bit samey on a sandwich! So, great work. Let’s not forget Eddy, you have built a house too!

    Regards to you both, and all the Winko Gang in Poland. Pete.

    • Thank you as ever Pete, your words of encouragement always put a smile on my face; much needed as we push on to get the plaster finished before the cold weather takes a grip. I’ll have to investigate how to roll the oats as I like a bit of porridge in the morning! As for the spuds, they have already been shipped off to Rzemien to be sorted to feed for the family and the chickens; we receive our ration on the weekend visits. All the best to you, Julie and Ollie. The Winkos

  5. Nice update, Eddy! Your potato and oat yields are good for a first year crop! I wanted to chime in with some encouragement! The prices of the commercial varieties which you compare your crops with are misleading. If you can produce such clean, healthy, and absolutely superior crops for less than the price you would pay for the cheap junk in the stores, you’re doing awesome! You can taste the difference and the nutritional profile is far better, due to containing more nutrients and using little to no chemical inputs. Bravo for your hard work! Every year you grow these crops, the better you’ll get at it and your yields will grow as your land gets better for producing a bigger, better crop. Also, by feeding your future livestock such awesome clean feed, you’re producing animal products that are far superior to anything available in the market, and probably better than what you could get from local producers. Farmers who are concerned with the origin of their livestock’s feed are rare, in my experience. It is REALLY hard to find non-GMO animal feed in my area, and I have heard the same from many in other areas in the US. Your animals will be healthier and the end-product they produce will be of much higher quality. Keep it up and keep us posted – I know it’s tough when there is so much to do! You’re doing much better than I, as I haven’t posted almost all summer! Busy, busy, busy, eh?

    • Thank you for your encouragement, you are so right about the food provenance, it’s the reason behind all the hard work and I’ll feel a lot happier when we are able to support ourselves with our own crops; cereal and animal alike. Thankfully GM hasn’t taken off in Europe and I’m thankful for that, I just hope the politicians have the resolve to stick with the restrictions; the ban on certain pesticides this year shows some promise and I just hope that common sense takes a hold of the powers that be and some of the damage done over so many years can be reversed. I look forward to reading your next update when the cold of winter drives you inside :) But in the meantime keep making the hay if the sun is still shining :) All the best Eddy & Gosia

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