Mavis Butterfield | Backyard Garden Plot Pictures – Week 1 of 52

raised garden beds one hundred dollars a month

And so it begins.

Last year I was able to grow a little over 1 ton {2,028+ pounds} of fresh fruits and vegetables in my suburban backyard. And this year, I’m going to try and double that.

2 Tons = 4,000 Pounds of Food 

Yep, this is what happens when you live in suburbia without cable, when you have no desire to get your nails painted, go tanning, or to go hang out at the wine bar with “friends.”

Yes indeed, when you have way to much time on your hands, this is the kind of crazy crap a bored housewife living in Western Washington named Mavis does in her spare time.

She grows food.

And not because she’s going to eat it all herself, but because she likes GIVING it away.

According to her husband, she’s a total nutcase, and should be committed.

wooden teepee garden

backyard garden plot

wooden backyard

magnum glass greenhouse

backyard garden space

backyard garden blogs

eglu omlet egcube

western washington raspberry canes in winter

seattle garden blogs

mavis butterfield

Let’s get this party started!

Project #1 Burn them stumps!

Photo Credit 

Looking for a few seeds to grow? Head on over HERE for a giant list of seed Catalogs.

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  1. says

    You are doing such a nice project so I will follow your posts because I ‘m trying to grow some vegetables too. I did not have enough time last year but 2013 must be my year!
    I will start in march.
    Nice to see growing your vegetables at the other side of the ocean 😉
    Kind regards!

  2. Lorri says

    I am relatively new to your blog, but wonder why you grow things you don’t eat? Do you freeze or can for the winter ? I really enjoy your blog and though I don’t have a garden as large as yours nor as much time as I would like to devote to it, I like you am really looking forward to this years garden. I have all planned out, seeds purchased , thanks to you and the heads up on a seed sale at Botanical Interests. Seed starting area prepped just waiting for the end of February for starting the first of my seeds. I look forward to seeing your adventures as you grow 2 tons this year!

  3. says

    A friend shared your blog on Facebook – so happy to find you. I used to live in Western WA and have a bunch of friends & family still there. Your comment about wine bars, tanning and nails definitely hits home – I truly laughed out loud at that one because I was the crazy housewife you describe too. 😀 Good luck with your garden this year – happy stump burning!

  4. Angela says


    First, congratulations again on meeting your 2012 goal, and best wishes for meeting your 2013 goal. I have really enjoyed following your blog the last two or three months; it is enjoyable reading in all ways, so thank you.

    I’m sure over the years you have shared the following information, but I am curious as to how much space (1/4 acre, 1/2 acre, etc.) you actually use for your garden, and was the fence up before you started gardening, or has that been added? Also, if you don’t mind me asking, how much did it cost you to build your greenhouse? I am certainly going to follow you this year to see how things go!

    Kudos to Mavis from Tennessee :-)

  5. Robin says

    Giving food away rocks. I canned, dehydrated, and froze a lot of food my first years gardening and still do but you can only eat so much. Plus sometimes my family just likes eating out. Good luck on the 2013 goals. I know you’ll make it.

  6. Anne F. says

    Mavis and friends–

    Happy new year everyone! Good luck with the 2 tons goal. That is amazing to think about. I only have five raised beds and some containers so my goal will be more modest…maybe 500 pounds.


  7. says

    How do you store your extra veggies for the winter? Do you freeze them? Put them in freezer meals? Can them? I want to expand our garden too, though not nearly as large as yours, and I don’t really know the best way to store the food for the winter.

  8. Teresa Yb. says

    I hope you weigh the eggs this year!

    We are also increasing our growing this year with the intention of sharing more. There are some things we will grow more of for ourselves, but it is really fun to share GOOD food that is full of sunshine and love :)

  9. Michelle says

    Double last year? You sure are ambitious! I agree that you should count the weight of the eggs. I’ll enjoy following along with your 2013 adventure!

  10. Annabel Lee says

    So this is what your yard looks like TODAY? Those are pictures you just took? Do you not get snow? And how many acres do you have?

  11. Susan Robinson says

    Mavis, Mavis, Mavis!!! You are going to kill me. I held my breath for the last few days of the challenge this year because I wasn’t sure you would make it. ( I shouldn’t have been worried!) But now!!! You are doubling the yield!! Oh, my. PLEASE count the eggs! Seriously, you are one of the highlights of my day. I love your writing style and humor. Thanks for so much fun this last year.

  12. Deborah says

    Way to go Mavis! 2 tons, I know you can do it! Can’t wait to see what all you are planning on growing. My goal for 2013 is 750lbs. I enjoy reading your blog each day and love all of the tips. Keep up the great work! Happy Gardening!

  13. Tessa says

    Two tons?! Holy bananas that is a lot! I can’t wait to watch the journey. Thanks for putting all the great info on your site. I have gotten so many great ideas and recipes. I know I am looking to expand my garden next year, and maybe do some shared gardening with a friend! Thanks for sharing Mavis!

  14. LaToya says

    I agree with the HH – you ARE a total nutcase. But I don’t think you should be committed. Because if you were, where would I go for online entertainment? Too cheap to pay for porn, and I am not going back to those save the drama for your mama wenches – heh. Grow on with ya’ bad self!

  15. Susie says

    Now MY boyfriend thinks I’M a total nutcase. I read that you were going to grow 4,000 lbs this year and immediately jumped up off the couch & ran in to his office, and said “Guess what?!?! Mavis is going to try to grow DOUBLE what she grew last year!!!! Can you believe it?!?!?!” We just canceled our ridiculously high cable service for an antenna, and he said “See? You don’t need tv.” You frayed my nerves those last couple of weeks, worrying if you would make your goal. Hope you’re planning on weighing the eggs this year, AND the gleaned fruit. Not sure about the Reclaimed Food. Would that be fair? Nah.

  16. Penelope says

    I think it is great!

    I’ve been toying with the idea of doing the same. But I’ve only got a 30×50 garden that I’ve let the strawberries take over another 5 feet of and putting raspberries on the other end of that. But I’ve got my orchard area and my herb garden… and I’ve got another bed that is outlined with my garden hose under the snow right now. Maybe I’ll just play copycat and see if I can. I have enough people to eat it all…

  17. PonyRyd says

    Agree with the others, you should weigh the eggs this time. Also, have you considered aquatics? Fish and the extra vegetables will add to the total.

    Happy New Year! Looking forward to a bountiful 2013!

    • Mavis says

      That’s a tough one. I don;t know how much they would weight, but 6 plants will give you enough for light snacking after a year or two. I would buy as many as you have room for. I hope that helps.

  18. Susan Blesh says

    I was going to set the goal of 4000 lbs (used 1000 lbs per family member), but decided to try and get enough to can and freeze to last us through the planting cycle next year. I am not sure what the final poundage will be, but am excited to see how much I can harvest. I love your gardening blog….such an inspiration!

  19. bonnie fuentevilla says

    I was curious as to how you water ? Garden hose ? Also, where did you purchase your chicken coop ? Thanks !

    • Mavis says

      Garden hose and sprinklers LOL. Hopefully it will rain every 3rd this summer. :) is where I bought the coop. It’s not cheap, but uber cool.

  20. Karin says

    4,000 lbs.!?! Holy cow Mavis! That’s a lot of food. I hope you schedule in a little time for sleeping. Thank you for your blog. I love it. You’re very inspirational and a lot of fun too! I’m going to try to upgrade my gardening efforts this year. I’m thinking of setting a goal… not sure how many lbs. I should aim for. Good luck to you in the new year. I can’t wait to read all about your adventures.

  21. says

    That’s a lot of food! I know I can’t even come close in my much smaller suburban back yard, but I think I’m going to give it a try with keeping track of what comes out of the yard. What do you use to weigh your produce?

  22. Maggie says

    I’ve been thinking about how you can grow 4,000 lbs…grow a lot of watermelon, cantaloupe, pumpkins; all the heavy veggies :)

  23. Lisa says

    “Suburbia?” Doesn’t look like my suburbia!
    Anyway, just looking at your photos is so relaxing, even though I know it means a lot of work to make it look like that, even in winter.
    I have the room for that many raised beds, but my dogs wouldn’t like their play area taken from them. Besides, this will only be my second season of a “real” vegetable garden, and I need to control myself! One new thing a year. Like the boysenberries. But, then I got blueberries too. And I learned so much about container gardening. And I want to do seed starting in the house with a home made grow light.

    You are inspiring! I notice you are using Botanical Interests this year. They are one of the very few companies that carry one of my favorite tomatoes. Ace.

    I notice someone asked about raspberries. I was told my 9 boysenberry sticks will end up producing way more berries than 3 people will need.

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