Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Self reliance in vegetables?

2015 kale leaf
For many years now I have attempted to become self-reliant in my vegetable garden.  I have achieved it for seasonal summer vegetables:  usually by July we stop buying supermarket vegetables and then resume buying around November.  My goal is to grow enough for a full year--no supermarket veg for a year!

Is this an achievable goal?  Let's consider our vegetable eating habits.  In my family there are two adults and a six year old child.  We have always eaten more vegetables than the average family, but since changing our diet to low carb five years ago, we now eat A Lot.  We eat primarily meat, dairy and vegetables--hardly any starches (or starchy vegetables like potatoes and sweet corn).  Even our six year old loves his vegetables.

For our typical Sunday dinner, we can polish off half a cabbage, five carrots, five parsnips, half a big rutabaga, and three onions--for example.  During the week I spend less time on cooking so there may be just a couple kinds of vegetable for dinner:  like a head of cauliflower and a couple onions and garlic cloves in a gratin.  It adds up quickly, though.  I tallied up a typical week once (using both garden and bought veg):
  • 5 beets
  • 2 heads broccoli
  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 1 lettuce
  • 1 cabbage
  • 5 onions
  • 2 heads garlic
  • 3 sweet peppers
  • 2 zuccini
  • 1 big handful beans
  • 1 cucumber
  • 10 carrots
  • 15 chard leaves
  • 10 kales leaves
  • 1 rutabaga
Wow!  Can I really produce all that (or equivalent) for weekly consumption?  Maybe not, at least in my current space and climate.  I can certainly produce it during the height of the growing season.  The challenge is for that amount of vegetables in winter and spring.

To make my goal a reality I will need to preserve a lot of my summer harvest for winter and spring use.  I will also need to plant many winter vegetables: lots of brassicas, leeks, winter lettuce and greens.  My winter brassicas last year were heavily damaged by caterpillars in September;  I will need to protect them this year.

Can it be done?  I'm going to try.

No comments:

Post a Comment