I couldn't help but put quotation marks on the word "harvest" in the title of this post. Last year my efforts at being an urban homesteader were very disappointing--I couldn't even manage to grow a few potatoes. So naturally I figured this year would be better...but I'm not so sure it was!
We did grow some string beans along the fence that did pretty well--we got enough beans for about 3 of our family meals. That's good, since I used leftover seeds from several years ago. And I have left many pods behind to dry out so we can have seeds for next year (although as I'm not sure what kind of seeds they were to begin with, I don't know if they're really sprout. I figured it was worth a try since it would cost nothing.)
And I did get a good amount of calendula for my healing salve. I filled a jar of extra virgin olive oil with dried calendula blossoms. It's been sitting in my back window for a couple of weeks now, and I think it looks so pretty and golden! I have some plantain leaves drying too, and once they are dry I'm going to top up the oil and add them, too.
I planted a number of chamomile plants but the harvest here was pathetic to say the least. I was hoping I would get enough to make tea for the winter...not quite! I think the chamomile must have loathed the damp and shady conditions in my back yard, because I only picked about a hundred tiny tiny straggly little blossoms...so after I dried them I added them to the oil for my healing salve, since the plant is known to be soothing to the skin.
I did make one single cup of weak tea, using a handful of chamomile and some lemon balm leaves...I found it funny. Some day I will do better than this! Some day I will have a lovely sprawling herb garden bursting with bountiful tea-making ingredients...just not right now.
My yarrow plant didn't get big enough to blossom, and my lavender died outright while it was still tiny. We only got 2 miniscule and sickly looking sunflower blossoms from the seeds we planted--so much for the cheerful bouquets the seed packet promised me! My stevia plant grew in leaps and bounds, but now I am not sure what to do with it because the word on the street is that the dried leaves taste terrible...
I am now working on drying some sage, basil, rosemary, and oregano for winter. I would have loved some thyme (which is delicious in my favourite winter meal, beef stew and dumplings) but couldn't find any plants this year. Maybe next year I'll order some seeds.
I planted four parsely seedlings, and they stayed ridiculously tiny! So much for that...
And then, for the pièce de résistance...behold our 2011 tomato harvest in its entirety:
Needless to say, seeing pictures of other people's enormous harvest of juicy red tomatoes has got me feeling a little jealous!
But I know it will not always be this way. Some day I will have a "real" garden...I just have to acquire a much bigger one so there are bound to be at least some accidental successes. We are hoping that maybe we will not be here in this virtually yard-less house by next year's growing season...So I will just keep hoping and praying, that this will be the last year I will have to try to grow things in a shady patch the size of a postage stamp.