Food production for 2021


2021 pear harvest, a mix of nashi, cooking pears and sweet pears - grafted on the same tree

Another tough year of the pandemic, but fruitful in the garden. There's always something productive to do in our backyard - with great rewards for effort.

Production was down on the previous couple of years, with 470kg of produce in total on our 580m² block with a Garden Farming area of 387m² (land size, less roof area). This equates to a yield of 1.21kg/m² in a year that we recorded 712 mm of rain, significantly higher than the long term average (560mm). 

We also harvested a couple of roosters and 251 eggs, down from 807 last year, as a fox outwitted us and decimated our flock in May. I choose not to get more chooks for a while, to see what sort of apple harvest we would get and find out what life is like without them. Apples will be harvested in 2022. Wooly aphids have infected one tree in particular, I haven't sprayed to see if the ladybird population would take care of them - not very effectively at this stage.

A couple of exciting first harvests (in quantity) - hazelnuts, enough to last us most of the year, and mullberries - way more than we could pick and eat. We got this lovely Christmas card in our letterbox from a neighbour, who obviously enjoyed them too (along with the many birds that joined in).


This card came with a lotto ticket, and we won $8! A lovely gesture.

I had been making up liquid manure with the chook poo the previous year, but couldn't for most of 2021. Instead I'd been making up various plant teas, whereby I would soak various soft plants for 3 - 5 days (too long and they get very stinky) to make a concentrate that I would water down in a bath full of water. I'd also mix 'worm wee' from my small commercial worm farm in there too. The fermented plant matter is consumed quickly by the worms, or can be placed as mulch around plants. I'd like to make a bigger 'bath style' worm farm to increase 'worm wee' production and make better use of the plant matter. This process has been evolving and I've been getting right into it in the latter part of the year.

My plant tea set up. 20lt buckets ferment plant material, then pour through sieve into the bath.

The issue I was having with the tomato russet mite appears to have improved with the application of wettable sulfur. From 21kg in 2020 to 69kg in 2021 - much better, and we were able to preserve quite a bit. I'd like to produce more though, as we love them. 

Our grapes on the north facing deck trellis were badly affected by powdery mildew (I think), so much so that we didn't get a harvest at all. We got 60kg in 2020. Wettable sulfur is a treatment for this too, so i've been spraying that on the grape vines later in the year, while also trying a watered down milk solution and vinegar solution. I suspect that the soil is deficient in sulfur, which is something that came up in soil tests when we first moved to the property over a decade also. We still got our sultana grapes on the west boundary, about 13kg, which was a big improvement on the 3kg from the year before.

As in previous years, there's lots that isn't included in our reporting. Most salad greens, herbs and many berries (especially strawberries) don't get counted. Many things get eaten in the garden before we can weigh them, and even more doesn't get harvested because we don't need or want to harvest it - like mountains of Jerusalem artichokes and cherry plums.

  • Eggs (2021 harvest total was 251 eggs)
    •  Only had chooks from Jan to May
  • Vegetables (2021 harvest total was 189kg) 
    • Down from 233kg, but 67kg less pumpkin - so a good result.
  • Fruit (2021 harvest total was 255kg)
    • Down from 315kg, but no cherry plums harvested (41kg in 2020) or main grape crop (60kg in 2020) - so a good result. 
    • Huge harvest of Satsuma plums (88kg), lots of preserving (drying and pasteurizing)
  • Herbs (2021 harvest total was 2.2kg)
  • Other - (2021 harvest total was 11.2kg) 

See detailed spreadsheet results below, use tab at base to change the year. Updated with new results as the become available. 

I'm pretty happy with the result for 2021, all things considered. It's a lower yield, but a better variety of produce. It's great to have the family help out with recording the harvest, it's a bit of a pain to do, but I think it's worthwhile to demonstrate what is possible.

 Looking forward to harvesting our first decent crop of persimmons in 2022, and apples too!

See our 2020, 2019 and 2013 food harvest result post here


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