Replacing the Grocery Store Challenge - Day 3 - How Many Pounds

Welcome back to the Challenge!  This week we will talk about how many pounds of veggies and fruits we need and how much space.  Why is this so important?  Some of you might not like this part of the challenge, but in order to have enough of one type of food to last us a year, we need to know how much to grow.

Now, I have been gardening for a few years and the results of how many pounds and space needed was a lot different than what I had expected with some vegetables.

Before the next week is over, you will be ready to order seeds if you haven't already!  That is the fun part.  So, look at it as a reward for finishing these math challenges!  I know I am chomping at the bit to get my fingers in the dirt, but being in zone 5 means I still have awhile.

If you missed Day One and Day Two challenges,  I highly encourage you to get those started.  Go HERE.

We figured out last week how many servings we need for each fruit and vegetable to last a year.  Now we need to figure out how many pounds that will equal.  Once we figure the poundage, we can then figure out how much space.  Then, we can adjust our numbers if we do not have enough space and go from there to figure out how many seeds we need to buy.

I did all of this in pretty much one sitting and my mind started to wonder numerous times.  Needless to say, I won't assign you all of the above today!

So how do we figure out how many pounds we need of each veggie?

Divide the number of servings by the number of servings per pound.

Here is one of my examples from the chart below.

Beans = 4.4 servings per pound.  
I need to multiply the number of servings times 2 to get a larger amount for my family.  So, 8.8 is the number of servings per meal.

I figured we eat beans about once a week.  So I take 8.8 times 52(weeks in a year) and get 457.6 servings a year.  If you haven't figured out the total amount of servings per year, go ahead and do that.  Remember, if you only eat beans say twice a month, you would take your servings(mine would be 8.8 for beans) times two for the monthly amount, then multiply it times 12(months) instead of 52(weeks).

Now that you have your yearly servings figured out, divide that by the number of servings per pound.  If you look at the chart below in the first column, take the last number(this is my servings, yours might be different) and divide it by the first number(number of servings per pound will be the same for everyone).

My beans would be 457.6 divided by 4.4 = 104 pounds needed per year

Go to the second row.  Notice I have it marked Number of Pounds per 100 ft/Number of pounds per 100 square feet/Pounds Needed per Year.

The first two numbers are averages.  I know not everyone's yields will be the same, but it is good to get a general ballpark figure here to compare to.  The third number will be different for everyone.

Here is mine for beans: 45/14-23/104

45 is the average pounds yielded from a 100 foot row.  14-23 is the average pounds yielded from 100 square feet.  If you can identify more with the 100 foot rows, use that measurement, if you usually go by square feet, go with that one.  Remember 100 sq ft is 10 x 10.

I know this takes a lot of thought and brain usage!  Keep it up, don't quit!

Day three assignment:  Figure out how many pounds you would need in a year for each vegetable and fruit.

With some fruits like fruit trees and berry bushes, there really is no need to figure out the space required.  If you know how much each bush or tree should produce, then use that as an indicator of how many trees or fruits you need in the future if you do not have them now.

Some items were left blank for my chart(last chart).  I either could not find correct yields, or I do not have that in my garden.

The chart below has some title changes.  If you haven't printed one out, go ahead and do so, if you have already, just write in the changes.  Either way, these are free and you can print them out as many times as you want!

This chart below is my finished one.  If you like to work ahead, feel free to use it as a guideline or if you feel your servings and the amount you can grow are similar to mine, copy it for yourself.  You might want to check out Johnny Seeds for their seed calculator.  Otherwise, my next assignment will be posted Thursday.

  My Veggie Chart by  

Not all of you can grow enough to last a year.  Once you figure out the amount needed for a year, you can figure out how much space is required(next assignment).  Then you can adjust the amount you plan on growing based on the amount of space it takes.

Remember, we are in this together!  Feel free to share what you are doing, what you are struggling with, any questions you might have, any good ideas, etc.

We can do this!

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  1. The wife and I are so excited and have definitely taken up this challenge. We are also located in Zone 5 and are looking to feed up to 7 people also, so we are mirroring a lot of what you have listed. We have just finished our list with how many pounds of what we need. One question I have for you is that you have winter and summer squash listed. What varieties do you like and have planned to grow?

    1. Hello! So glad you joined the challenge! I have a lot of problems with squash bugs, and I really am hoping to combat these nasty things this year with something that actually works and is earth friendly! Anyway, the Waltham butternut squashes seemed to grow the best and weren't affected as much by the bugs. I will definitely try those again this year. Blue Hubbard is another good storage variety. As far as summer squash, I am a bit old fashioned and like the yellow crookneck the best. Nothing beats the buttery flavor! I also like zucchini elite or marketmore, but this year I am trying to grow as many heirlooms as I can. Yellow crookneck is an heirloom, btw! Hope this helps!

    2. I have a horrible time with squash bugs too - but when you plant the next year do not plant in the same area and you have to pick them suckers by hand - I have a son that just thinks that is "cool" and well this momma just let him have fun pickin away - then kill them or they come back every yerr

    3. I have been reading a lot about the squash bugs over the past winter (our last two years of squash crops have been wiped out). These pesky little critters do not like beans or corn - this year I am doing a three sisters garden - hopefully that will eliminate both the squash bugs and the raccoons marauding my corn (apparently they will not walk through the thick squash plants to get to the corn - they are afraid of snakes!)

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  3. Joining your challenge and so excited to start!! I'm blogging about it I hope you don't mind. We are looking at a 20 acre Organic farm this year and I just can't wait to start!! We are on a good size city lot so even if we start here I hope it turns out great!


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