How to Grow Your Own Food – 2013 Garden Tally

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mavis butterfield one hundred dollars a month

This year I’m on a mission to grow 4,000 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables in my suburban backyard. In 2012 I was able to grow 2,028 pounds, and in 2013 I’m going double or nothing. I have absolutely no idea if I’ll be able to achieve my goal. But, as with any adventure, half the fun is getting there.   ~Mavis

{Swiss chard growing in our backyard garden may of 2012}

I’ve decided this is the year for Swiss chard. I am going to plant so much of the stuff, there is going to be an intervention. I still can’t get over how hearty the plant is. Like kale, you couldn’t kill Swiss chard if you tried. In fact, it’s the perfect vegetable for beginners if you ask me, and I’m pretty sure it’s been around since the dinosaurs.

Although I’m not the biggest fan of Swiss chard, our chickens LOVE to munch on it every chance they get. I don’t think I’m going to grow it in our garden boxes this year though, instead, I’m going to try and create some sort of vegetable landscape boarder near the chicken run. This way, I can harvest the leafy greens and toss it over the fence for them to enjoy.

I also plan on growing lot’s of pumpkins, zucchinis and potatoes in an effort to reach my goal of 4,000 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables in our backyard.

But, if you can think of some other heavy vegetable for me to grow, please leave a comment below. I’d love to hear your ideas.

Here is what I have harvested so far this year:

beets

Beets - 14 ounces

The beets are still chillin’ in the refrigerator, but I did find  a cool recipe to try, so I think I’ll make them later this week.

egg count 2013

Egg Count – 41 {2.7 per day average}

One of our “baby” chicks that we brought home in early September has begun to lay. It’s kind of exciting too. I have no idea which chicken it is yet, and so far to date she has only laid 3 eggs. I’ll keep you posted.

bean sprouts

Sprouts - 6 ounces

I’ve been on a sprouting kick lately. First there were alfalfa sprouts, and now I’m starting up with the bean sprouts again. If you have never tried to grow your own sprouts before, they are super simple and make a great addition to sandwiches and stir fry recipes.

Total Food Harvested in 2013: 1 pound 4 ounces {Only 3,998 pounds 12 ounces to go!}

Total Eggs Collected in 2013: 41

How is YOUR garden planning going so far? Still trying to decided what you are going to plant? Are you going to try anything new this year?

~Mavis

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Comments

  1. Sweet potatoes

    • You might not have warm enough summers for sweet potatoes. I would check it out first. The vines are quite lovely however for landscape purposes.

  2. If you just toss that chard over the fence, make sure you weigh it first!

  3. Hubbard Squash!

  4. Jerusalem Artichokes. Hardy, perennial, healthful…and you’ll never find all the tubers.

  5. I might try swiss chard if it is easy to grow. When is the best time to plant is? Or is it always a good time to plant is?

  6. I think you should grow a couple of those giant pumpkins that grow to 1000+ pounds. That will get you there!!!!

  7. We love spaghetti squash! Cooked with some grated cheese=yummy!

  8. we grew watermelon last year- loved it. some of them where pretty big

  9. Hey Mavis, can I ask why so few eggs? Don’t you have like a dozen chickens? Do you give them any artificial light?

    • We have a lot of chickens but one only 5 {or } that are laying right now. I know once the babies start laying, it’s going to be egg city around here. :) And no, I don’t do the artificial sunlight thing because they need their winter rest just like I do. :)

  10. Have youy seen the trucker who grows sprouts?
    ( Maybe for Friday night you can watch his 7 videos )

    http://www.youtube.com/user/parawade/videos

    I haven’t seen them all myself (yet) but he seems pretty gung-ho about sprouts.

    Since you are adventorous, have you tried eating nasturtiums?
    ( leaves + blooms are supposed to be editable )

    If you decide you don’t like them, maybe your chickens would like them?

  11. @ Mary Ann, you read my mind! I just finished reading a book about a giant pumpkin growers group in Rhode Island. It is the true story of their 2006 growing year. Who knew there could be so much drama, excitement and heartbreak in gardening? The author is Susan Warren and she did a great job of documenting these people and the trials it encompasses when you are growing for competition. You will learn about ‘foaming stump slime’ and different levels of human nature….good and bad! The book title is *Backyard Giants* and I’m planning on sharing my copy…..good read. Okay, did I ramble too much here?

  12. Mavis, I’ve got the perfect recipe for those bean sprouts and eggs: Egg Foo Yung! This is my copycat version of our favorite Chinese restaurant:

    http://chinese.food.com/recipe/egg-foo-yung-for-2-with-oriental-sauce-292268

  13. I think you should grow some Quinoa!! It looks so pretty. Plus it is yummy. I do not know how heavy it is but it looks like it yeilds a lot. Has anyone else tried to grow Quinoa?

  14. Jess McCarthy says:

    I agree with the watermelon suggestion. And you could try cantaloupe and honeydew.

  15. Okra is prolific, at least in my hot no shade drought garden this year. Maybe won’t work in PNW.

  16. Mavis I have a good swiss chard recipe for you. It’s called ‘swiss chard and sweet pea manicotti’ from Giada on Foodnetwork. It is really good, although it is quite a ‘heavy’ dish. I’ve made it many times, and sometimes make stuffed shells instead of the manicotti. The shells are a bit more managable. Here is a link to the recipe.

    http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/swiss-chard-and-sweet-pea-manicotti-winter-recipe/index.html

  17. Hey Mavis,
    You have a wonderful site here. Some suggestions for you. How about melons, like canteloupe or honeydew. You could also try eggplant (there are several varieties and they are all good and quite heavy too) Some of the heirloom tomatoes are quite large. Also the big boy and better boy sandwich tomatoes are large too! How about gourds. They are heavy before you dry them out. Cauliflower, broccoli can be quite heavy if you can get the heads large enough. Ooh, and Brussel Sprouts. Good luck!! Karen

  18. swiss chard artichoke lasagna is also super delicious. I made it for friends after they had a baby and it completely changed their minds about chard :)

  19. I’m getting 2 eggs a day from my 4 chickens. Up until the beginning of the year I was also getting bell peppers, chili peppers and I had green tomatoes. I’m in Northern CA. We’ve had a week of hard freezes and my plants all died. :( I’d hoped to experiment with keeping them going all year.

  20. Cucumbers! Great for salads & pickles & for just eating out in the garden (although you’ll have to keep a scale out there too so you can weigh before munching!).

  21. I am working on the garden plan – currently the “garden” is LAWN so there’s a lot to do before spring!
    My local Lowe’s has seeds for GIANT pumpkins (alleged to reach 500-600 lbs.) Difficult to get an accurate weight, though without some major equipment!
    If you take the suggestion about sweet potatoes, each “hill” yields about 2 lbs.; this link might be interesting for you (from MO extension): http://extension.missouri.edu/p/G6368

  22. Need an idea to use the beets in your fridge?

    Red Beet & White Bean Hummus
    1 medium beet
    1 15 oz can white beans, rinsed and drained
    1 large garlic clove, unpeeled
    juice of 1/2 lemon (about 1/2 tbsp)
    1/4 cup olive oil
    1 teaspoon salt

    1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
    2. Wash beet well and place with garlic clove on a sheet of foil. Bring up sides of foil and fold to make a packet leaving room for heat to circulate inside the packet containing the beet and garlic.
    3. Bake for 45 minutes or until beet is tender when poked with a knife.
    4. Remove skin off of the garlic and the beet (I use a zip lock bag on my hand and slip the skin off so my hand doesn’t turn red).
    5. Place all the ingredients in a food processor and puree until smooth.

    From: http://weelicious.com/2009/06/08/red-beet-white-bean-hummus/

  23. Laura Arnett says:

    Hey Mavis, I am new to your site and I’m totally loving ya already. Try growing butternut squash- it’s heavy and it stores for a very long time. We cook it like sweet potatoes in a casserole. So yummy baked and topped with butter and brown sugar and cinnamon. Not to mention they are so expensive in the produce section :)

  24. You might try something like the Long of Naples squash. They are very tasty and humongous! Typical weight for one of these squash is about 20 lbs mature, but you can also eat them before the skins harden like summer squash.

    http://rareseeds.com/long-of-naples-squash.html

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