So, we went gardening yesterday.

I cut broccoli and ended up with a plastic grocery bag FULL of broccoli heads.

Then my nephew and I hauled 3 truckloads of straw from the barn down to the garden, then had to carry it in a smaller cart to more “remote” areas of the garden. It was hotter than a witch’s…well, you know. I got overheated at one point and actually got cold chills. Not good.

But, while Alex and I hauled straw, my sister picked yellow beans and Lisa picked green beans. Lisa discovered that the cucumbers were raring to go too and got three good sized ones. Zucchini was next and, by the end of the day there were 15 large zucchinis waiting to be made into something wonderful.

We cut the ends and snapped all the beans in half, then blanched them and put them up in FoodSaver bags. The final count was 12 lbs. of yellow beans, 9 lbs. of green beans, 4 lbs. of broccoli, plus the 3 cukes and 15 zucchinis. And we’ve barely scratched the surface of what’s going to inevitably come out of that garden.

Healthy but still not-yet-producing plants include potatoes, tomatoes, peas, acorn squash, pumpkins, watermelons, corn, scallions, round onions and strawberries. The strawberries won’t produce until next year, most likely.

In the end, I think having this garden is going to save us a lot of money over the winter and spring, as food costs continue to climb and gas still hovers at the $4/gallon mark. We need to sit down and see if we can guesstimate how much it has cost us to grow our vegetables, though, and evaluate if it’s actually saved us money, or if it has cost us more than we thought. For example, it’s a 30 mile drive to our garden. Lisa’s truck gets just about 30 miles/gallon so it costs us $8 round trip to go. Up to this point, it’s only been once a week but now that the beans are going nuts, it’s likely to be 2 days a week until things settle down…until the next wave of crop needing harvest hits. Mother nature has been very kind to us and has supplied us with the perfect amount of rain and sunshine for our garden so we’ve had very little watering to do — the bulk of it was early on when the seeds were first sown.

We decided yesterday that we need to keep a journal so we can better plan next year’s garden. How many plants produced how much stuff, mistakes we made, that sort of thing. Lisa and my sister are talking about doubling the size of the garden next year so we’re going to want to map it out better, so we can get between the rows better than we can right now.

In all, it’s been a fruitful venture (pardon the pun) and I know that Lisa and my sister have enjoyed it immensely. Me? I’m not so sure but have been happy to help out when I can.

So, here’s a slideshow of our garden:Garden 2008