Website and Garden Report – May 2015

garden report may-1 completed its 8th month of blogging with the close of May. It turned out to be a slow month on the website but from where I was sitting it was a very busy month.  We started our Website and Garden Reports in March 2015 to track our homestead’s food production along with costs.  We also report on our website statistics as a way to stay focused on building our blog readership and revenue.

cucumber trellis-6


It was certainly an expensive garden month but I feel good that all major garden purchases are behind us for the year.  42 of 48 garden beds are planted with 13 containers also coming alive.  Raspberry and blueberry bushes are flowering and a couple wild blackberry plants that have been growing out back since I was a kid are also about to flower.  Things look good in the garden- in fact the best they ever have for me.  I am holding myself more accountable to the garden this year as I am committed to writing about it and having post after post of failure doesn’t sound like fun.

A couple changes I have made this year was direct watering the seeds that I sowed and the baby seedlings with a watering can instead of standing up on my hill shooting water from a hose with my head in the clouds.  I am spending at least a few minutes everyday walking the garden to look for issues that might arise and I have put in an effort to reinforce my hardwire cloth fence to keep out critters.  The end of last year I received some old railroad ties that were being thrown out.  My brother in law brought them to me to recycle and they are now the base to my fence around the garden.  It is much harder for a groundhog to get under one of those.  Another thing I worked to improve was my trellising.  Last year I lost a number of tomato plants because I waited until the were too large to try to trellis them.  This year everything that needs a trellis (tomatoes, pole beans, cukes, pumpkins, and peas) was put in or around one when it was planted.  I am hopeful for a great year of vegetable gardening.

This months expenses and production…


  1. Seedlings – $143.64
  2. Stakes – $31.92
  3. Hay – $37.50
  4. Seeds – $26.86
  5. Garden Supplies – $14.98
  6. Landscape Fabric – $31.96


Total for Month: $286.86


  1. Sprouts – 1.75 lbs

Total for Month: 1.75 lbs



  1. Seeds – $70.64
  2. Seed Starting Supplies – $27.57
  3. Garden Supplies* – $37.96
  4. Landscape Fabric – $31.96
  5. Stakes – $31.92
  6. Hay – $37.50
  7. Seedlings – $143.64


Total YTD Expenses: $381.19


  1. Sprouts – 5.50 lbs

Total YTD Production: 5.50 lbs

YTD Cost of food produced per pound  – $69.31

*Garden Supplies consists of gloves, hose nozzle, shovel



I had a blast working in the garden this month.  It was probably the most time I have spent in the garden in a month since I started 5 seasons ago.  Spencer was out there with me every morning that I was on vacation, being almost no help at all, but it was still a great time trying to teach him about plants and vegetables.

A quick count of everything planted (plus what I plan to plant this week) puts me around 850 total vegetable plants in the garden.  On top of that I have 9 more containers with baby greens growing, 30+ raspberry bushes, 2 blueberry bushes, and 2 blackberry bushes. That number should rise I as cut and pull and try replanting second crops of things like green beans and radishes.

With my major expenses out of the way I can relax a little.  I will need to buy more hay to finish my pathways and too mulch some of the plants.  I ran out of newspaper to lay down on pathways so that project is on hold for a little bit. I need a few bags of mulch for the flower garden, and I will probably buy a few more seedlings at the end of season sales.  I was hoping to be under $500 for the year and that seems doable at this point. I will shift from a planting focus to caring for them and free up more time to enjoy the garden.



May turned out to be a little disappointing traffic wise on the website.  A large part of that was because I only posted 6 recipe posts (by far the fewest in a month in 8 months of life).  Far more people are searching for recipes then articles about vegetable gardening.  My food sharing traffic was way down.  Here are the numbers…

traffic may 2015

In May BWA had 2280 visits from 1855 different users who viewed 2993 pages.

Here is where the top ten sources of traffic came from…

source traffic may 2015

The good news for me was the percentage of visits from people directly typing in and the percentage of people who came to my site from our BWA Post Email subscription both went up.  Also my google organic traffic went down but not significantly as I would have thought with the decrease in traffic.  Those three traffic sources are what I want to grow the most.  I do not have to submit to food sharing sites, or send out social media updates for that traffic.  Those are people who tune in or find my blog on their own and I am certainly grateful for that!

I do not know what the traffic from guardlink is and I am afraid it is spam.  I will have to research this month and find out where that is coming from.  Pinterest and Tastepotting referrals were both down significantly but that is a result of me spending less time submitting to them.  I need to get back on track.

BWA’s most popular posts from May were…

french toast-11

1. Cinnamon French Toast – 159 views

mustard chicken wings-7

2. Mustard Baked Chicken Wings – 157 views


3. Daffodil Cake – 127 views

getting chickens-1

4. Getting Chickens – 95 views

apple granola-7

5. Apple Granola Bars – 81 views

Daffodil Cake is my all time most viewed post on BWA since inception.  Getting Chickens is my first non recipe post to crack the top five.  I am surprised to see Apple Granola Bars make the list despite being a maniac favorite, I posted that recipe all the way back in November.


  1. Google Adsense – $7.36

Total – $7.36


  1. Bluehost – $6.95
  2. Food Blogger Pro – $29.00

Total – $ 35.95

NET FOR MAY 2015:  -$28.59

On the bright side I lost a little less money this month doing what I love.  My adsense revenue almost doubled despite significantly fewer page views.  Still a long way from paying the bills though.  My only expense other then hosting is my Food Blogger Pro subscription which helps me through all the things I still have no clue about (like running a website).  Next up for me is watching their Props for Food Photography course.


Increasing Revenue – My affiliate links again did not produce income so I will have to dive into looking at other options to increase revenue.  In the end I believe we will have to rely on ourselves to make money by creating things like ebooks, cookbooks, original photography etc.  Time has been our biggest issue with pursuing these options but if we want to build this business we will have to make time for creating.

Social Media – I am still struggling with this.  There are a number of things planned for Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter but I haven’t got to making them happen.

  • Pinterest – Join more group board, get Rich pins (bold text pins), and work on creating better image graphics with text. You can follow us on Pinterest at blogwithapples.
  • Facebook – Daily updates with links, and explore paid promotions advertising.  You can follow us on Facebook at bloggingwithapples.
  • Twitter – We just signed up so we are diving in trying to figure out out to make this grow our blog.  Follow us as blogwithapples.

Building our Readership – In May BWA joined the Bangor Daily News Blog Network.  You can now view our posts on their website as well here.  I am really excited to join their amazing group of 130+ bloggers.  We wanted to do this to expand our audience especially locally here in Maine.  Although my pageviews on BDN Blogs aren’t counted on my website report I hope this increased exposure leads to a larger readership.



I am getting anxious to start harvesting some greens and turning them into recipes for the blog.  We are also planning a large post on “What to do with Maine Lobster” and “Lobster Rolls” to coincide with the 4th of July towards the end of month.  I absolutely love lobster and I need the rest of the maniacs to get on board with cooking and eating our great shellfish!

I will also be attempting an antique recipe for Orange Cream Cake (as soon as I work up the nerve), it is a complicated looking recipe but it looks interesting enough to try.

Thanks for reading!


(please note some of the links above are affiliate links and we will earn a small commission if you click on them and then purchase something!)


Jeff McIntosh

About Jeff McIntosh

Jeff's family lives in his childhood home on a 1/4 acre in town lot. Despite the small space to work with, they have challenged ourselves to produce as much of our own food as possible — and cook it! They document their journey at Blogging with Apples.