How to Grow Your Own Food – Weigh In Wednesday

This year my goal is to grow 2,000 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables. I think I can do it. With 16 raised garden beds, a greenhouse, a raspberry patch and a few more planting beds sprinkled throughout our property, I believe growing 2,000 pounds of food is an attainable goal. Even if I do live right in the middle of high maintenance suburbia, and my neighbors think I’m nuts. ~Mavis


This past week I was able to harvest 28+ pounds potatoes, tomatoes, a wee bit of broccoli and plenty of bok choy, kale and Swiss chard for the chickens.  If I am going to reach this goal of growing a ton of food in the back yard, I’m going to have to dig deep and find some other sort of vegetable crack to harvest in the backyard… and quick.

I now have only 61 days to go, and it’s going to be tough. I would love nothing more in the world right now than to go out back and rip up all the plants so I could take the rest of the year off from gardening.

But I can’t. Because I’m in it to win it.  Even if it comes down to 11:59 pm on December 31st and I’m out there with a headlamp on harvesting that last leaf of kale.

Wish me luck.  I’m going to need it.


Here is what I have harvested so far this year:

Banana Squash 6lb 2 oz

Basil 1 lb 9 oz {how to make pesto}

Beans 21 lbs 3 {green bean salad, how to can green beans, dilly beans}

Beets 58 lb 20z {how to can beets}

Blueberries 4 lb 9 oz {mixed berry pie recipe}

Bok Choy 9 lb

Broccoli 5lb 7 oz {pasta salad with broccoli, carrots, and sun dried tomatoes}

Broccoli Rabb 1lb 6 oz {chickpeas with broccoli raab and bacon}

Cabbage 58 lb 4 oz {how to make sauerkraut}

Carrots 117 lbs 6 oz {carrot cake jam recipe}

Cauliflower 4 lbs 11 oz {cauliflower hummus rocks!}

Chives 1lb 3 oz {chalkboard painted herb pots}

Cucumbers 55 lbs 5 oz {cucumber salad}

Anna Swartz Hubbard Squash 184 lbs 1 ounces {Hubbard Squash Pie}

Butternut Squash 41lbs 6 oz

Golden Hubbard Squash 22 lbs 5 oz

Sweet Meat Squash 15 lbs 1 oz

Kale 5 lb  {how to make kale chips}

Lettuce 15 lb 1 oz {bbq chicken salad}

Mint 4 lbs 12 oz {Fresh Pea Salad with Spinach, Feta and Mint}

Onions 34 lbs 9 oz {Kentucky Fried Chicken Cole Slaw}

Oregano 4 lbs 15 oz

Mushrooms 9.25 oz {read more about how I grew mushrooms}

Peas 38 lb 13 oz {fresh peas and bacon recipe}

Pears 8 lbs 15 oz {how to make pear jam}

Peppers 5 lb 8 oz {Homemade Salsa}

Potatoes 123 lb 8 oz {potato soup recipe}

Howden Pumpkins 59 lbs 11 oz

Cinderella Pumpkins 45 lbs 4 oz {roasted pumpkin seeds}

French Pumpkin 13 lbs 4 oz

Jarrahdale Pumpkin 39 pounds 7 oz

Spaghetti Squash 36 lb 10 oz

Sugar Pie Pumpkins 3 lb 10 oz {how to make pumpkin puree}

Misc. Pumpkins 352 lbs 11 oz.

Acorn Squash 12 lb 14 oz

Radish 16 lb 6 oz {how I bartered radishes for avocados}

Raspberries 2 lb 9 oz {how to make a raspberry buckle}

Spinach 2lb 5 oz {garlic spinach dip recipe}

Sprouts 10 oz {how to grow sprouts}

Strawberries 18 lbs 9 oz {strawberry basil jam}

Swiss Chard 31 lb 2 oz {rainbow Swiss chard recipe}

Tomatoes 186 lb 11oz {roasted corn salad with tomatoes and feta}

Zucchini 257 lb 11 oz {how to make zucchini relish, zucchini salad, zucchini brownies}

Miscellaneous 8lbs 2 oz {This means we let someone come and pick vegetables, or did not get a chance to weigh them individually, and this was the total weight of all the vegetables combined}


Do you have anything left to harvest this year, or are you taking the winter off?

Total Food Harvested in 2012: 1944 pounds 3.25 ounces

I have spent a total of $516.21 on seeds, soil, plants and supplies for this year.

If I could only have one gardening book on my bookshelf this would be the one. The Gardener’s A-Z Guide to Growing Organic Food By Tanya L.K. Denckla. This book is loaded with growing methods of practically every vegetable the backyard gardener is going to grow in their garden. I received this book several years ago and it’s still the one I use when I have questions. Amazon currently has this in stock and ready to ship.

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  1. LaToya says

    So only 56 pounds to go? You can totally do that!
    And I can totally see you out there with a few minutes to the new year harvesting from the garden – ha, you’re such a nut – – love it!

  2. cptacek says

    How about turnips? We planted turnips for our cows to eat in the midwest…surely in a greenhouse on the west coast it would grow?

  3. Mary Ann says

    You’ve done a fantastic job! You really should count the eggs you’ve harvested, though. I’m sure there’s been more than 56 pounds of them this year!!! Estimate, add, and give yourself a much deserved break!

  4. Julie2 says

    We all think you are doing great!
    Would it help not to harvest anything for a few weeks? Let it get as big/heavy as possible then harvest all at once (for a shocker). Im sure those potatoes yesterday would have kept growing for another week or two.
    You dont have to have a new harvest total each week.

  5. Penelope says

    How about short season root crops in the green house? Turnips (45 days?), rutabaga, beets, radishes, carrots (but i think carrots take too long to germinate). All these things could bring your totals up faster than greens and they can all be picked before full maturity and still be tasty. You’d have to move fast, but it could work, don’t you think? Regardless, you have done fantastic! I’ve been trying to figure out how much I would need to grow if I wanted to provide all my own produce for the next year… you’ve inspired me to think I really could do it. My garden is about 30×50 and I have fruit trees and some berries. And I’ve almost got my husband convinced that I should use my coupons for free money at home depot for cinder blocks to make the base of a green house. I even have a fall garden because of your inspiration. I guess I really should just say thanks!

    (and I agree about adding in those eggs)

  6. Angie Smith says

    I planted garlic tonight, which I’ll harvest next summer (July-August). The kale is still growing well, and there are a few cabbages, carrots & beets that haven’t been harvested yet.

    Thanks for your updates – it’s fun to see what you’re up to!

    Radishes grow in about a month. Do you have room for a bunch of them in the greenhouse?

  7. Christopher says

    I agree with the radishes. I think they are your best bet with such a short a time; plus they will grow in the cold.

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