Thursday, September 13, 2012

My Garden - The Aftermath

My garden was a bust this year.  I was so disappointed, as I had high hopes of a huge harvest.  But after tallying what I spent on it, versus what I got off of it, I realized that I would have been better off just buying my produce from the farmer's market.

Here is a rough estimate of the cost:

$25 plot rental
$30 to have a guy rotatill it
about $40 in seed and plants
$20 in supplies (tomato cages, trellis for peas, peat pots, soil, etc.)
About $115 all together

Approximately what I got off of the garden:

2 meals of peas
3 meals of beans
1 meal of potatoes
8 tiny onions
4 small butternut squash
6 large freezer bags of carrots - this was my most successful crop
2 cucumbers - and they were horribly misshapen
Zucchini - they had crossed with a winter squash that was planted nearby and so they were seedy and had hard skins
A very small amount of tomatoes - some Sungold Cherry tomatoes and about 20 Roma's & regular tomatoes.
2 teeny tiny red peppers

The spinach bolted before I had a chance to pick any of it.  The cantaloupe, one of the watermelon, one zucchini, and two cucumbers I had planted all died.  The watermelon plant that survived was only just flowering this week when I pulled it out, as were the remaining cucumber plants.

I realize that I was not as attentive as I could/should have been this summer, but it still didn't account for the poor harvests I was getting off of my plants, particularly the tomato plants.  In Castor I planted these same tomatoes and had such enormous crops that in 2009 I made a double batch of salsa, a batch of green tomato chow, a double batch of ketchup and froze two large Tupperware containers of oven roasted tomatoes that I use in soups, sauces, scrambled eggs, sandwiches and almost anything I can think to put them in.

Half Roma tomatoes, scoop out seeds & pulp, brush with olive oil,
sprinkle with salt & pepper and roast at 200° for 3 hours.
I was starting to think that it was all me, or really, lack of me, that was the root of the problem.  That was until one evening when I was weeding in the garden.  I stood up to stretch and turned around to find three deer standing 15 feet from me, happily grazing their way through the garden, knocking tomatoes and peppers off of plants as they went.  They just stared at me and then went back to their destruction.  I tried yelling at them and throwing some of the spoiled green tomatoes that were on the ground (that they had undoubtedly knocked off on a previous evening's foray).  They were completely nonplussed by my yelling and shovel waving.  One of them even came over to my plot, not 6 feet from me, to snack on my plants.  What can I say?! We have a significant amount of urban deer in Medicine Hat and there isn't anything we can do about it. So, inspite of my reservations about container gardening, I will be doing it in my fenced backyard next year, as there is no way that I could get a lesser crop in containers, than I did this year in the community garden.


  1. That is very frustrating, Alison! :( It's one thing if the weather, etc. is the culprit...but when you see the deer doing it & they don't even react to you, that is VERY frustrating!!! I'd say get some large containers next year & 'go for it'. In the meantime, hit the Farmers' Market on Saturday or the greenhouses & get some fresh veggies for the freezer!!

  2. Every gardener really hates a sudden weather change. Sorry to hear from your garden last year. Hope this year everything will be fine. God Bless.

  3. Curious about Medicine Hat!September 17, 2012 at 2:18 PM

    Hi Alison, may I contact you via email? I couldn't find a way to contact you on your blog, and I'm not on twitter. I found your blog while researching moving to / living in Medicine Hat, and would really appreciate asking you a few questions! Thanks!

    1. I think that most of your questions could be answered by checking out the links to the right of this post under "Medicine Hat Links" or looking at the City of Medicine Hat's website which is full of helpful information about the city. Here is the link to that site:

  4. Thanks, I've seen those links but figured that they are obviously all trying to portray the city in a good light! I wanted to hear personal opinions from people who live there or have lived there recently. Is the city developing/changing positively/growing quickly, would you say? I'm assuming you really enjoy living there since you moved back! What would you say is the best and worst part about it?

  5. What do I love about Medicine Hat? There are so many things. Probably the biggest influence on us living here is the fact that both sides of my family live in the area, which became more important when we had kids.

    The city itself is beautiful. The topography with the coulee's, the river and creeks make for a visually interesting city. There are beautiful old neigbourhoods with brick and sandstone houses and large trees. The city & government buildings are very attractive and well-kept. We have an abundance of city parks and recreational facilities. The schools are excellent and there are many specialty program options for your children if you are interested in that sort of thing.

    The city isn't too large, so it's easy to get around and traffic isn't usually an issue. The city has all the amenities you could want and if you need more variety when shopping, it's not far to travel to Calgary for a shopping day-trip.

    Medicine Hat is a relatively inexpensive city to live in, approximately 20% cheaper than the other major cities in Alberta, however you may be limited in finding a good-paying job as it also has the highest number of low-paid workers in Alberta.

    I don't feel like crime is out of control here, especially compared to other cities the same size.

    If you are really interested in living here, I would recommend a visit to the city to check it out. I would say that the links on the side give a pretty accurate depiction of the city.

  6. Thanks!!! Crime and safety was something I was wondering about.

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