How Much am I Growing, Anyway?
At some point last year I got the idea to start charting how much harvest I was actually managing to gather. I like the idea of knowing, down to the gram, how much time I'm wasting in the garden.
Gardening is often thought of as an efficient hobby. You can find lots of articles about the cost-savings of growing your own food 1), about the environmentalism of not shopping for groceries when you can grow your own 2), and of course of the mental health benefits offered from such a joyous hobby (there's zero capitalism involved here, except maybe in saving some dough on therapy).
I'm not sure about the facts of any of this, honestly.
For starters, having a garden *isn't* all that cheap. I look at the cost of establishing my garden, and even having done it on the cheap, it was still upwards of several hundred dollars to get it done.
Additionally, I pay money every year to add new topsoil, mulch, any additional irrigation supplies. Not to mention the plants and seeds I actually have to buy to, you know, *have a garden*.
It's one of those hobbies that can be exactly as expensive as you want it to be. But even at a bare bones level, you're going to pay for space, you're going to pay for soil, you're going to pay for water, and you're going to pay for plants themselves. The cheaper you make this hobby, the smaller your field will be - and the less cost effective it measures out to be.
I also doubt the environmentalist factor entirely. I for one am gardening in suburbia, so basically anything I do that is supposed to help me be “carbon neutral” is really just a small drop in the bucket towards helping the environment because I'm already making catastrophically detrimental choices by living in the 'burbs.
One could form something like a roof top garden in the middle of the city, or take over an abandoned lot like Novella Carpenter in her memoir *Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer*. Attacking space that is misused or not used at all and turning it into a net positive surely has some environmental benefits.
But I'm getting rambly and far ahead of myself.
The purpose of this project was to measure out how much I actually manage to grow every year in a given season. It's a simple enough calculation - doing harvests every few days and just logging it all season until I wind up with one big calculation at the end of the season.
This is mostly to sate a few curiosities - how much tomatoes did I actually grow? - but also to help tell me if that specific variety of something is worth planting again.
To that end, you can find a link to the spreadsheet here and see an embedded version below.