Reflection: 2020 Garden Harvest

banner - 2020 harvest report

2020 was my first real year of garden production aside from the few strawberries and heads of romaine I grew in 2019. When I started out in 2020, my goal was to record and track my garden imputes and outputs to use for a possible portfolio project to get into a bachelor’s program. That was a joke. Me doing 4 additional years of school, not the garden tracker. As the year developed, my attitude toward the project evolved from a professional standing to a general garden journal to keep track of what I planted, where I planted, how much I planted, what I harvested, and what did and didn’t work for me. It definitely falls into one of my more prized possessions at this point.

A shot of the first page of my harvest data in my garden journal

The harvest data that I collected in this format was all transcribed into a Google sheets document with formulas and all sorts of important information so that I could take all the items harvested, apply a dollar amount to it, and using that data to determine the success or failure of my year. I will get more into my record keeping and how I do it in another post.

10 dirty, just pulled radishes sitting in a sink
My first radish harvest!!

The first thing I planted in my brand new garden plot in 2020 was radishes and I transplanted my chives into the bed. One of the first things I learned when planting was that I did not need to plant 2+ seeds per hole for my radishes as my germination rate was excellent. I also learned that the spacing I had understood (which was each square foot could take 2 rows of 6) was something I didn’t really have to care for. I now plant my radishes in 3 rows of 5 in 1 square foot. Anyway, when looking at my harvest records, radishes were my first 2021 harvest, pulling 10 out of the ground on April 23rd (to note here, I planted 29 seeds and only got 10 radishes out. That means I had to kill 2/3 of my seedlings because every. one. of. my. seeds. took. Looking back, this makes me pretty irate.

Germination Rate

The percentage of planted seeds that develop into seedlings
A radish which has gone to seed, pulled from the ground and cut open to reveal that it is hollow with what appear to be roots inside of the cavity
Did you know if you let a radish go to seed, this is what the inside of it ends up looking like? I had no idea, I still don’t know why, and I am still weirded out by it.

So the radishes were planted for Jim (husband man) as he likes them to snack. This season they will also be planted for Cecilia (daughter person) as she’s just as weird as Jim and loved snacking on them this past year. I did a number of radish planting throughout the 2020 season, and ultimately I ended up harvesting 64 radishes in total; not bad for a $2.30 pack of seeds. Also not bad? I let three radishes go to seed and I ended up with more radish seeds for this year than I can count. I will be planting more in 2021 as Jim and Cecilia can go through 20/week if I let them. My goal is 1 square foot a week.

I want to point out here that when purchasing radishes from the store, they sell them in bunches of around 10 roots, for a cost of around $1.48/bunch (in season). With this in mind, I grew almost $`10 worth of radishes in 2020, which means after 25% of my crop was harvested (or approximately 16 radishes) the rest were all profit! Putting my harvest into numbers like these really helped me to feel accomplished and satisfied with my growing.

A number of emerged basil cotyledons before their first true leaves emerge, in a pot
My little basil seedlings that I ended up killing

Looking at all the produced harvested from my garden in 2020 and my hand dandy spreadsheets, my most successful crop of all was basil, grossing approximately $140 worth of produce in the one year, which is nuts. I bought a total of three basil plants (I can’t seem to get a good start going from seed) and ended the year with more than 12 basil plants. The plants cost me around $3.60 for all three, which means I “made a profit” of $136.40 on my frickin’ basil. THAT IS NUTSO BANANAS! Like I can’t comprehend nuts. You’ll note in the image below that I count basil per pack; this is the amount in one small package that I would normally purchase at Superstore, and I did this measurement by using a pack I had from the last time I had purchased a herb there, and putting as much basil in there as they do. I probably put more in, because it was easier with the sheer amount I was harvesting, but it worked as a general measurement as weight was not a good indicator for how much basil I was usually harvesting.

Another crop that did particularly well was peas! In 2020 I planted 6 (yes, only 6) pea plants and my yield was about 12lbs of peas. And this didn’t include the peas I sent to seed or the ones my loving husband and daughter stole off of my plant when I wasn’t looking or measuring. So from each plant I got a full two pounds of produce. Nuts.

one year old picking cherry tomatoes off a plant in a pot
The offending tomato theif in action.

My plants that didn’t do very well were my tomatoes (I planted too late, I didn’t give them proper care, and so many other things went wrong here, including a short and cute tomato thief) and I only ended up yielding cherry tomatoes, and only like 4 lbs. from the 6 plans I had. I can do better.

Looking at squashes, I yielded 37 lbs. from my cucumbers and 56 lbs. from my pumpkins, though I did only get three pumpkins total.

1.5 year old sitting with a large pumpkin in front of a white door. Child has her hand on the pumpkin stem
Cecilia weighed only 3 lbs more than this big guy.

The last crop that did particularly well was my mints, though I did do a fairly big harvest part way through the year and decimated the plant. This year I will not be doing that and hopefully harvesting far more so that I can dry it out for tea. Jim’s favorite outcome from this year’s garden was probably the tea (thank you, dehydrator)!

What I got out of this year (aside from my excellent yield which totaled $642.11 when converted into grocery store prices) was reassurance that I can grow things, I do not have killing hands, and with a little bit of patience, anyone can grow. I will be applying everything that I learned and retained to my garden this year, and I am low-key hoping that my bountiful garden full of edible annuals, beautifully arranged as landscaping, will piss off the nosey neighbor that neigh-sayed my weird front yard pumpkin patch this past year. Because I’m just that kind of person, I guess.


A photo of a single page of a note book, graphed out in squares with a colour code for planting
This is where my 2020 garden started, but definitely not where it ended up!

I feel like there may be a lot of new blogs that are released in and around this time of year. Somewhere between new years resolutions and the new number on the calendar inciting change. I think I’m closer to the second. Basil Bee is something I’ve been working on for a few months now, but my original intention was no where near a blog. It was an edible landscaping company. While that dream still exists in some format, it lives on as more a consulting gig than a full blown company. Like landscape design. No, not “like” landscape design, as a landscape designer. I’m learning to be more careful with my words.

Let’s hear it for the parasite that has over-hauled my life, Cecilia
This wonderful photo of Cecilia and I was captured my Mariel Nelms Photography. Click on the photo to see more of her phenomenal work!

This blog, while started at an opportune time of year full of new goals and plans for others, is a necessity of mine, or at least it feels that way. I’ve been half-assed blogging for a few years now with my “full time” gig. I say that term in quotes because between having a baby in 2019, having a few emergency surgeries along with her, then the 2020 pandemic overhauling my industry (did I mention that I’m a wedding coordinator by day?) I’ve lost a lot of what previously existed as a full time job, and honestly, I’ve lost the passion to write about it. While weddings are my thing, it’s where I want to be and what I want to be doing most of the time, it’s not safe right now and safety is numero uno. Anyway, I was half assing the blog because while I enjoy weddings immensely, I have so many more things to write about than just the latest trends and the best ways to save money, and they didn’t all fit into the format and tone I set there. (If you want to learn more about my bee empire, aka my wedding planning business, checkout

Basket filled with mostly green yums with some red tomato and purple basil. Included in the basket are cucumbers, basil, sweet peppers, spicy peppers, cilantro, cherry tomatoes
One small harvest from my 2020 garden, just because
you’re seeing “pickling” cukes, basil, more basil, cherry tomatoes, mini what were supposed to be beefsteak tomatoes, and so many yummy spicy peppers.

Enter Basil Bee. This is a lifestyle blog. My lifestyle. I write whatever makes me happy here and some of the content will be valuable to you for more than entertainment, and some will be more valuable for me than for anyone else. And that makes me happy. I can share about the things I make and create, the things I wish I had time for, and the random stuff I’m learning through school and being a mom. This satisfies that necessity I feel to tell a story, to share my thoughts, to maybe try to make a difference. I feel like I have so much to say and while I don’t know who might want to read it, I know at least it’s not stuck inside me any more. Hey, maybe it’s just therapeutic.

So over the next however long I’m here doing this, you will get a good feel for me, for how I do things, and maybe even learn a thing or too.

Welcome to Basil Bee.


noun: to make a plan or do with meaning
watch for this word though the year, it’s a buzz word for me.