How much did I grow?

Back in November last year I wrote this post about recording all the food that came into the house in one year. I wanted to see how self-sufficient I am. That year is now up and it’s time to look at the results.

I put all the weights as they came in on a spreadsheet and it’s been calculating totals and percentages along the way.


Food picked from the garden          139.104 kg

Fruit & vegetables purchased          176.011 kg

Groceries (non-green) purchased          417.314 kg

Total food purchased          593.325 kg

Total food in (purchased + grown)          732.429 kg

Food grown as % of total food in          19%

Food grown as % of total greengrocery items          44%

#I don’t buy greengroceries at the supermarket. I buy them at Sunday Markets or a local roadside store.
#Food picked from the garden doesn’t include leafy greens or small things I pick and nibble on the spot, like alpine strawberries or the occasional carrot.

So I grew almost half of my fruit and vegetables but this was only one-fifth of my total food. I suppose I’m doing a lot better than anyone else I know, but I’m still a long way from being totally self-sufficient in food.

As an added extra, I broke down the various foods into type and here are the totals to the nearest 0.1 kg.  (Sorry about the snake-like appearance of the figures. I had all this tabbed in MS Word so that the numbers appeared in a nice regular column, but on copy/pasting, I find that WordPress doesn’t support tabs. Dumb! Why do I pre-write posts in MS Word? Because b_ WordPress has lost too many posts on me!):

Tomatoes        29.6
Potatoes        22.9
Eggs            15.0
Oranges        12.3
Limes            7.0
Lemons            5.0
Zucchini            6.3
Carrots            6.3
Beans            3.9
Asparagus        3.9
Apricots            3.0
Mandarins        3.0
Pumpkin        2.7
Rhubarb        2.3
Oca            2.2
Yacon            2.2
Cucumber        1.8
Persimmon        1.7
Tamarillo        1.6
Apples            1.2
Celery            0.8
Plums            0.6
Peas            0.5
Beetroot        0.4
Capsicums        0.4
Guava            0.3
Leeks            0.2
Jerusalem artichokes    0.2
Broccoli            0.2
Mushrooms        0.2
Blueberries        0.1
Radish            0.1

Tomatoes and potatoes are way out in front, with eggs a reasonable third (thanks, Girls). Citrus aren’t too bad either, with oranges on top for the group, but then I do have 4 orange trees! Zucchini are easy, but I’m pleasantly surprised at carrots, because I’ve always struggled to grow them successfully.

It wasn’t a good year for fruit. I didn’t net the trees (let them get too big), so the possums/parrots got most of it. The single blueberry plant was in its first year (in a pot) so I’ll excuse that. Wasn’t a good year for pumpkins either, or cucumbers, although I still have bottles of pickled cucumbers in the fridge, but I shouldn’t have had to buy pumpkins over the winter, as I did.

I need to pick up my game with celery and beetroot; they’re not that hard to grow after all. Peas are a dead waste of time and space, although not so much in space, as they can be stacked above other plants, but so much of the harvest gets thrown away in the pods (I can’t eat edible-podded peas). I grew sprouting broccoli instead of heading broccoli and there wasn’t much of that. I’ll go back to heading broccoli, I think, for next season. I remember having some really good heads in past years.

I didn’t want for greens—there was plenty of silver beet, kale, lettuce, endive, chicory, bok choy and what have you, but I didn’t bother weighing just a few leaves each time.

The spreadsheet drew a week-by-week graph (which I can’t reproduce here—Wordpress would have a cardiac arrest) and as I expected, harvests dropped off considerably over winter. Fortunately I had bottled, dried and frozen quite a bit of the summer harvest excess.

So that’s it. I’ll still weigh the eggs (so I can see how the Girls are performing), but I won’t continue with the exercise. I’m happy I can go back to pulling up a carrot or an orange off the tree and eating them on the spot. Taking it all inside to weigh was a bit of a pain.

What the exercise did do was reinforce my belief that if we are to survive the coming collapse of industrial civilisation and have enough food to eat, then we have to get together as local communities and work at growing it together; not only growing it, but sharing the excess in true permaculture fashion. We need animals in the system for protein* and we need people willing and able to keep animals while sourcing their other food needs from those who specialise in vegetables & fruit. (I was pleased that keeping chooks for the first time enabled me to have, at least, a minor source of protein).

But how to get the average Joe to understand what’s coming and to begin to prepare for it, I don’t know. Privately, I think we’ve had it!

Oh, well, it was an interesting exercise……

*I’m not a vegetarian and never would be by choice. I believe humans evolved to eat meat and need meat protein and other meat nutrients in their diet. Besides, I like meat.


5 Responses to “How much did I grow?”

  1. Frogdancer Says:

    You still grew a sizeable proportion of your diet yourself, so that’s awesome.
    The boys and I are not looking good in comparison….


  2. narf77 Says:

    Just starting out on the growing thing and got veggies in this year. I would be very interested to see that excel spreadsheet. Could it be linked? I, too, type my posts in MS Word. WordPress has done me wrong too many times! The only thing that I do is insert my photos after I paste my post. I guess the protein issue is an important one BUT despite you being a meat eater it’s also important to know that you can combine legumes, grains and nuts/seeds to get plenty of protein and you won’t die from a lack of protein if you are forced to eat a bit less meat/eggs etc. I totally agree with you about people sticking their heads in the sand but am on a personal quest to find out who is homesteading and what there is available in our local environment. I am thinking about starting a group at Beaconsfield community centre to share homesteading ideas/ideals and see if we can’t forge our own little community of like minded people. I tried the sustainability groups BUT they seem hell bent on everyone needing to spend a fortune on greening their houses…when you are a penniless student hippy its a pie in the sky dream to afford to buy solar panels, large water tanks etc. and it does more damage than good to guilt people out about their lack of technology when it simply isn’t an option. What IS good, is telling people how to go lateral and how to get the results that they want with minimal cost and THAT is where I am digging away at the moment. Bartering, thinking outside the box, looking for clues and solutions that don’t cost the earth and there is an amazing sense of freedom in knowing that you can do it yourself and you don’t need a fortune to do so. Cheers for the great post and for itemising your harvests and shopping etc. You would get along really well with the son and heir who has spreadsheets for his entire life for the next 5 years! I admire that kind of dedication and commitment 🙂


    • foodnstuff Says:

      That’s a very good way to begin. Look around your neighbourhood and see who’s doing what….what resources and skills do they have, including what sort of people they are (are they going to fold up in the face of negative change or will they rise to the occasion…what are their strengths and weaknesses, etc).

      Small steps….


      • narf77 Says:

        Small steps are at least “steps” and in Tasmania the locals are very loath to make any steps sometimes. Years of a severe lack of education and a deluded idea that “you don’t need school, you can always get a job with the forestry” has made the local population somewhat loath to embrace anything new. I am not a native Tasmanian, I am from Western Australia and I sometimes feel like I am from another planet when it comes to planning, organising etc…don’t they learn these things here? Apparently not! A subdued uneducated population is an easily led population! I say we need to undermine (tunnel mine?!) the established norm and show people that they can do things for themselves that don’t involve massive costs and that can only improve their lives/families/communities. I would love to get together with like minded people (not prima donnas…I can’t stand them!) to thrash out some ideas for all sorts of positive change…as I said… small steps are the best kind…no-one racing off hell for leather and falling off cliffs ;). Slowly slowly catchy monkey 😉 (that’s what broke the camel’s/gunns back…)


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