Have you ever thought about how much food you and your family need for one year? If not you’d be amazed, as we were, by the answer.
Our new garden may seem big with hopefully a large bounty at harvest time, but when we compute exactly what we need to feed just the two of us for one year the garden should have more in it.
We preserve food by canning, dehydrating and freezing. Because we cannot have a root cellar where we live keep fresh food through the year is not possible.
Since there are just the two of us we use pint jars for most foods. Quart jars are used for pie fillings or for dry canning and storing dehydrated foods.
Figuring on each pint jar of vegetables providing 2 servings, we need two pints per meal for lunch and dinner. In addition we need meat and potatoes, and extras such as pickles, relishes, jams or jelly, and fruit. We also need milk, eggs, butter, and pantry staples such as herbs and spices, leavening, etc.
There are 365 days in a year requiring 4 pints of veggies per day = 1,460. Add to that at least one pound of meat per meal (1 lb of meat pressure canned = 1 pint) = 730 pints. We also like fruit once in a while so lets add 2 pint per month for an additional 24 pints.
If we have pasta once weekly we need 1 quart of tomatoes = 52 quarts Do you realize how many tomatoes it takes to make a quart of pasta sauce? It takes a minimum of 6 pounds tomatoes per quart. And if you want thick sauce, it takes much more.
So at the very least two people need a pantry stocked with at least 1.500 jars of just vegetables. Certain vegetables store better in the freezer, such as corn, spinach, chard, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts. Others store better if dehydrated such as cabbage, zucchini and summer squash.
We also pressure meat putting up 1 pound per pint. We can chicken, pork and beef. Along with quart jars of bone broth, soup stock, soup/stew base, and meals such as pork and beans, chicken pot pie base, etc.
A vegetable garden can be a lot of work, but the end result is worth every minute of spent energy. Using heavy mulch greatly reduces the need for weeding from days to minutes per day. It also reduces the need for frequent watering. Once soil has been prepared and the seeds have been sown the remainder of work for the gardening season is primarily in harvesting.
Based on an average week of food shopping at only $150 per week, it would cost us nearly $8,000 annually at the grocery store. Building our garden cost a fraction of that total and is mostly a one time expense. I will be saving seeds from this year’s garden to grow food next year. And our new chicken flock will feed primarily by foraging and will also produce eggs and next year’s flock.
Food for thought?