If you’re growing food in a small space, you may be wondering how much you can harvest at different times of year. Below I’ve drawn a graph showing the weight of the harvest for each month, from my London balcony and window sills. It starts in May 2010 (when I started weighing) and ends in November 2011 when we left London. Here’s the graph:
The best harvests were in September – over 25kg for the month in both 2010 and 2011. The smallest were in December, January and February – between half and one kilo each month – but still just enough for a weekly salad or two!
The biggest improvement between 2010 and 2011 was improving the harvests early in the year. By planning more carefully and sowing more early maturing crops like peas and early potatoes, harvests in May, June and July 2011 were nearly double that of 2010 (over 10 kilos each month in June and July). You can read more about planning in this post Maximising space: multiple harvests from one pot.
Overall, for the comparable months, yields increased slightly from 2010 to 2011. May – November 2010 yielded 63kg. The same period in 2011 yielded 69kg (about a 10% increase). I was hoping for a larger increase – but October was badly affected by our house move and in truth I also got a bit lazy about keeping up with the salad sowing over the summer!
How did these figures translate on to our kitchen table? Well, for five months, from June to September we hardly bought any fresh veg (except potatoes and carrots), and in August and September there was a surplus – mostly tomatoes and chillies. Then in March, April, May,and October all our salads, herbs and green leaves for stir fries came from the balcony – and we often had plenty of these crops to give away. And in November, December, January and February we would harvest about a salad a week + green leaves (like cavelo nero) every week or two, + the occasional sprig of herbs. Much less in winter, then – but somehow they tasted particularly delicious and special – and well worth the effort!