How much am I growing?

I want to get some sort of an idea of how much of my food I’m actually providing from the garden. Is it 5%, 10% or even more?

I’ve been thinking about how I’ll do it.

It’s obvious it has to involve weighing.

I’m already weighing the yields I get; well…..within reason. I don’t weigh every lettuce leaf or bunch of parsley, but I do weigh the big stuff…..fruits and vegetables. I eat a bit of stuff on the run, as it were…..pick and eat a few strawberries, grab a mandarin off the tree or pull up a carrot while I’m hand watering, and so on. So that bit’s not hard.

I need to compare what I grow with what I buy and I’ve realised that’s not hard either.

All I have to do is list what weight of groceries I buy each week. I don’t even have to weigh anything because it’s all nicely printed on the docket. I’ll only have to weigh the greengroceries because I get them at a roadside shed (where some of it is locally grown), but that won’t be too hard.

So I’ve prepared an exercise book where I’ll record weights grown on one page and weights bought on the opposite page. It shouldn’t be too onerous; I only shop once a week so all I have to do is copy the docket items into the book. So that I’ll always remember to weigh what comes in from the garden, I’ve put the digital scales permanently on the bench with a pad and pen beside them.

I’m hoping I”ll be pleasantly surprised by the results.

First result:

At the end of the first week I bought 8969 gm from the supermarket and harvested 1471 gm of food from the garden = 16%. Interesting!

7 Responses to “How much am I growing?”

  1. Frogdancer Says:

    I’ve seen blogs that do this. I’ll be interested to see how you go.
    ps. Mick has invited you to the end-of-year gardening club meeting at his house next Sunday. Want to come?


  2. Clare Says:

    Yes it’s a way to start but the quality matters – 200g of herbs are worth more than 200g of potatoes. Not to mention the extra benefits of home grown – higher nutrients, less chemicals. Any detailed tracking will help you understand stuff that most of us don’t think about – real costs. I can’t suggest an easy way to track quality with grams but just remember grams of vegetables aren’t equal.



    • foodnstuff Says:

      Hi Clare, thanks for the comments.

      I agree quality matters and the best way to do it would be to work in actual kilojoules of energy provided, plus nutrients, but that would be far too complicated and I know I’d never keep it going even if I managed to start.

      Providing I’m eating a diversity of foods, I think it’ll be safe to assume I’m getting the full range of nutrients, and energywise, if I’m neither losing nor gaining weight (which I’m not), I’ll assume kilojoules and activity levels are nicely balanced.

      By the way, I’m not sure I’d agree that 200 gm of herbs are worth more than 200 gm of potatoes. It would need a comparison of energy levels and nutrient status between the two, something that would be interesting to do. I don’t know if that’s what you meant?


      • Clare Says:

        I was thinking of price as a measure if a major aim is to reduce spending on food. I agree nutrients would be another way, but as you say, not as easy to calculate. Weight seems the simplest way to go – but it might be of interest to also calculate the dollar value (on the docket for shop bought), use an average $/kg value for grown (though it would vary seasonally). That way you get both percent grown versus bought by weight, and by price. Clare


  3. The F. Relic Says:

    But wouldn’t you need to average it out, over a year say, before you can know better how the figures compare?
    I mean, you could buy a 10kg pack of rice but that is going to do you all year, or more, so it doesn’t exactly compare with what you take out of your garden and eat, mainly in the here and now.


    • foodnstuff Says:

      Yes, I know I’d need to average it out over a year (was hoping someone would see that…good for you, KP), and that’s what I’ll do.

      Estimating how much food you can provide for yourself isn’t easy. I know the way I’m going to do it isn’t the best way (see comment to Clare above), but it’s a guide and better than being completely clueless about it, or overestimating it, feeling good and then starving when the supermarkets run out because it looked good, but wasn’t.


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