Sunday, July 22, 2018

How Much To Raise To Eat All Year

I've been working out how much to raise to feed us both fresh and preserved foods for the year. From there, I can work out how much square footage of garden needs to be built, and how much animal housing needs to be created.

Another thing to consider is food storage. We'll need to make sure that most foods won't require cold storage. I have plenty of experience with canning, drying, and pickling of foods. The Gentleman Friend is a champ at smoking meats. 

Part of my research involved old agricultural extension bulletins, and I compiled this list of quantities of foods needed per person over a year.  The original resources were based on a family of four, so I worked the figures to reflect amounts per person. 

Milk – 75 gallons – 5 ounces of cheese counts as 1 quart

Meat / Poultry / Fish -100 lbs broken up as: 40 lbs fresh, 30 lbs cured, 30 lbs canned (5 quarts)

Eggs – 30 dozen

Fats – 60 lbs as butter, bacon, oils

Sugars – 50 lbs (includes 5 lbs honey and 15 lbs molasses)

Vegetables – 300 lbs Tomatoes 2.5 bushels, can 30 to 40 quarts. Green vegetables 60 lbs fresh, 125 lbs stored (includes cabbage) 25 lbs canned (about 10 quarts)

Potatoes – 180 lbs sweet and white potatoes

Fruit and juices – 100 lbs fresh, 20 lbs dried (which is about 5 pounds after drying), 100 lbs canned (50 quarts)

Flour & Cereal – 160 lbs wheat (for bread and cereals)

Dry beans – 15 lbs dry peas & beans

Nuts – 10 lbs – 5 lbs each of peanuts and tree nuts

When I started looking at these numbers, I realized that when broken down to a weekly amount, I was not eating sensibly in far too many categories. 

Here are the numbers:


Milk - Initially, we'll still be purchasing most of our milk and cheese. Our plans do include getting a couple goats. 

Eggs - One of the first additions to our new homestead is going to be several ducks for eggs.

Meat / poultry / fish - We're also going to be raising meat rabbits. I've had experience with angora rabbits, and feel confident that meat rabbits would be a nice addition. Ducks in the poultry category. Our new place is very close to Lake Texoma, so the Gentleman Friend is going to be doing a fair amount of fishing to fill the freezer.

Fats - Yes, we are thinking with either getting some "bacon seeds" or finding hunting area that will let us get some wild bacon and lard. Since goat milk needs a separator to get cream for butter, butter will most likely need to be purchased until the equipment budget can support getting a milk separator. Vegetable shortening and vegetable oil will need to be purchased.

Sugars - We like the thought of raising bees. With the numbers of fruits and vegetables to be grown, having pollinators is necessary. I have grown and processed sorghum for molasses before. It's a fascinating crop with plenty of uses. I will likely grow some sugar beets as a fodder crop for the animals, and I'll put some time in on experimenting with home-processed sugar. I expect we'll still be purchasing most of our sugar for our tea and coffee.

Beans – Broken across several varieties for both eating fresh and drying for storage. 45 plants total. Kentucky Wonder, Pole Lima, Speckled Calico, and Jacob’s Cattle Gold.

Beets – Succession planting for beet greens, baby beets, and beets for storage. 100 plants (or more) Using a beet mixture that has a wide variety of colors, sizes and days to maturity.

Cabbage (and other brassicas) – I like Gonzales Mini Cabbage, but I am also getting a mix packet for other sizes and days to maturity. I will likely have 10 plants. Brussels Sprouts are a treat when roasted with some Italian dressing, or simply garlic with olive oil. I've never had a lot of luck with cauliflower, but broccoli has produced for me in the past.  Turnip, rutabaga & kohlrabi are also good bets. 10 plants each.


Corn - One of my favorites. There are lots of heirloom seed options for both sweet and flour corn. 5 rows each, separated by a couple weeks to avoid random cultivar crosses.

Cucumber – I have experience with Lemon Cucumber, and the Poona Keera variety has some of the same qualities that I particularly enjoy. Both are never bitter, even if heat-stressed. 6 plants.

Eggplant – I’m growing a variety called Turkish Orange. They resemble orange tomatoes on tall, productive plants. 7 plants

Lettuce – I’m using a mixture of leaf lettuces that will be used in succession plantings. Per medical advice, I should be eating a salad a day, so I’ll be growing at least 70 plants.

Melon & Cantaloupe - I’ll be growing 2 plants in each of 4 varieties for 8 plants total. American Melon, Green Nutmeg, Minnesota Midget, and Hale’s Best. The Gentleman Friend is quite enthusiastic about watermelon, so 1 or 2 plants will probably be added.


Okra - I don't particularly care for okra, but the Gentleman Friend enjoys it. At least a couple plants will be in the garden.

Onion – I’ll need to get sets locally – 100 sets. I’ll also plant a packet each of chives and bunching onions.

Pea - 70 to 100 plants in succession planting for both fresh eating and drying.


Peanuts - I've always wanted to try growing peanuts, and the Gentleman Friend enjoys peanut butter. I think 5 plants per person.

Peppers, HOT - This is Texas. I’m just not interested in bell peppers. 5 plants of Chinese 5 Color, 5 plants of Black Hungarian, and 10 plants from the hot pepper mix packet.  Chinese 5 Color & Black Hungarian are both jalapeno-level peppers that have nice color and flavor.

Potatoes –  I am planning on having several plants each sweet and white potato plants.

Radish – I really like radishes. A little butter, some sea salt… Radishes are so quick to grow, I’m not even going to put a number on these. I’m using a mix of colors, sizes, & days to maturity.

Spinach - I’m ordering a mixed packet. Again, I’ll be sowing these in succession for fresh eating and freezing. 180 plants overall.

Squash – I’ll be growing 2 plants each of Butternut, Acorn, Yellow summer squash, and Eightball zucchini. Possibly a Hubbard variety for animal feed.

Swiss Chard – I like a variety called Bright Lights. The different colors are interesting, and the ability to harvest repeatedly from the same plant is great. 20 plants total.

Tomato – I expect to end up with at least two dozen tomato plants. Rio Grande is a small paste tomato that tolerates a fair bit of heat. Aunt Ruby’s German Green and Kellogg’s Breakfast are two of my favorites. Both are great producers with fantastic flavor.


Fruits - We plan to add several fruit trees and vine fruits. Mulberry, grapes, blackberry, peach, plum and cherry are my first choices. Strawberries are a must.

Wheat - I haven't grown grains for home use before, but we've decided to put together a fodder growing system for the ducks and rabbits. Adding a 60 x 120 patch to handle some of this may or may not be possible initially. It may be better to find an organic grower that would be willing to trade for our specialties.

Herbs – Cutting celery is my answer to the difficulty of growing celery in this climate. I’ll have a couple plants of it, and will try to keep one plant in a container so as to keep it growing over winter. The other edible herbs I’ll be growing are dill, oat grass, nasturtium, rosemary, cilantro, mint and several varieties of basil.

I’ll also have several varieties of sunflower, Hopi Red Dye Amaranth, Elcampane, Golden Marguerite, Indigo, Henna, Woad, and Black Hollyhock for use as dye plants.

A multiflora petunia mix and some marigolds will add to the appeal of the front yard, and I’ll be growing three varieties of gourds for crafts. Bushel gourd is used to make storage containers, Luffa gourds can be eaten like a summer squash when young, but the main use is as vegetable sponges / scrubbers. Spinner gourds are tiny bottle-shaped gourds that are useful for a number of crafts.


I'll be having a patch of cotton for fiber use. I have two varieties - Nanking Brown, and Red-Foliated White - that I grew a couple years ago. I have a fair amount of seed, and will see where that gets me.

A number of foods and spices will still need to be purchased or traded for. Black and green tea, coffee, black pepper, salt top the list here. Surprisingly, ginger and turmeric can be grown in pots and are actually quite attractive as houseplants in the winter. 




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