How to Grow Your Own Food – 2013 Garden Tally


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

Here is what I have harvested so far this year:


Beets – 14 ounces

egg count 2013

Egg Count – 25

Well, the slate has been wiped clean, and starting from zero is going to be hard, but here we go.

This past week I was able to harvest 14 ounces of beets when I was sprucing up the garden beds. The beets have been scrubbed and are currently sitting in the refrigerator so if you have any awesome recipes, feel free to send them my way.

Last year there were a lot of people wanting me to weigh or count our eggs. So I decided to go ahead and keep a tally this year of how many eggs our backyard chicken produce.  However we think of them more as pets than food machines, so I will not be saving my feed receipts or adding their weight to our garden totals. I have to much to keep track of as it is,and I don’t need to add one more thing to my list. But, I thought it would be fun to see how many eggs they do lay, because quite frankly I have no idea.

Also, in case you were wondering, the average LARGE egg sold in grocery stores weighs 2 ounces, which I thought was rather interesting.

Okay, any questions, any thoughts about this years garden? Any predictions? Do you think I can pull this off? Let me know in the comment section below, and I will try to answer your questions.

Lets get growing!


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  1. Glenda Sessions says

    Heck yeah you can do this!!! I am rooting for you, along with many of your other “cheerleaders”…go girl!

    • crlzmmr says

      I wonder this too.
      How many chickens in your flock?
      About how many eggs do you get each day?
      What do you do with so many eggs?
      25 unused eggs seems like such a lot…do you barter/give anyway?
      What do you do with old chickens that don’t lay anymore?

      • Mavis says

        We have 3 – 4 laying hens right now. So far I have collected 25 eggs total in 2013. Yes, we eat a lot of eggs and give away the extras to our neighbors when we have a surplus. But right now we use them all. As for the old chickens that don’t lay, we keep them. These birds are our pets. :)

  2. says

    I for one believe it! You have inspired me to greatly expand my veggie beds this year.

    But I do have a question, your backyard seems to be surrounded by tall trees — and you are in Western Washington, right? I know you guys have milder winters than we do here in DC, I mean you’re harvesting beets now! But does it get hot enough and sunny enough to grow eggplants and peppers? Is your backyard full or part sun? Maybe you could write about sun challenges. Something I face in the suburbs with so many trees and buildings nearby.

    Anyway, I’ll be checking back.

    • suzanne says

      Not Mavis but I live west across the sound from her. I personally do not grow a good crop of sweet peppers or eggplant most summers. The last 5 years or so it seems spring slides into fall and it’s just not warm enough. Getting a greenhouse this year tho, should do the trick. I believe her beets were planted late spring and we can hold root crops in the ground if it doesn’t freeze. Things don’t really start to grow till the days get longer.

    • Mavis says

      I can grow eggplants and peppers in the greenhouse. Where the raised garden boxes are there is full sun, the area we just cleared though is heavily shaded so I’m not sure what I am going to do yet. :) We’ll see what happens.

    • EC says

      i am from DC and live in western washington now. you can grow lettuce here in the winter! it’s amazing. there is no growing a good tomato, though. the sun just doesn’t get intense enough here for good tomato flavor. let me put it another way – we don’t have AC and don’t miss it! weird! and there are many summers here where i’ve never worn shorts. it just doesn’t get DC hot. the sun loving vegetables grown here are lacking in flavor, but you can other other delicious things year round. (and the city allows chickens.)

  3. Sara says

    Alright I too belive you can do this HOWEVER…..Mavis I have seen you try and peddle carrots on the streets. How on earth are you going to use 2000 lbs of veggies. Is their a little piggy going to stay with farmer Mavis? Or are you growing for the local food bank. ( which would be even more awsome!) YOU GO GIRL

  4. Annette Shaw says

    Hi Mavis! I live on the eastern side of our state near Spokane. I love your site and aspire to be as good a gardner as you! I was wondering if you’ve heard of We do this in our community and it comes out to $16.50 a week leaving us $8.50 for essential groceries and meat for the remainder of the week. eeks!

    Also, I have found seeds to be terribly expensive this year and discovered They have a container with many of the same varieties that I use so I thought I’d give them a try for much less. They arrived very quickly and even come with a guide on how to save the seeds from your harvest to plant next year. They are kinda a survivalist needs company but for my needs they are perfect!

    Good luck in your endeavors and now I’m off to dehydrate a few apples!

  5. Heather says

    I have no doubt that you can do it! Wondering though what is your favorite veggie to grow? Will you be trying the potato tower again this year or something else with them?

  6. Patty says

    Good luck with your quest to harvest 4000 pounds Mavis! I still want to hear you’re including your egg weight to your pound total. If you’re going to count the eggs, just multiply by two for the total ounces per week or month. If you get an average of 25 eggs a week you’d add 162 pounds to your “garden weight” for the year. Go Mavis!

  7. Dottie says

    I noticed that there are several sizes of eggs produced- curious how to incorporate these into measured recipes? Or do you use the standard sized ones for recipes and save the smaller for unmeasured things like scrambled eggs, etc?

  8. Jamie says

    Wow, Mavis! I am totally inspired by you! I also plan to double my garden this year thanks to being motivated by your blog. I will be adding 3 raised beds this year to double my space. What are the dimensions of your raised beds? I know it probably just depends on my backyard space but I’m just wondering what a good size is to go for. Thanks!

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