Thursday, May 6, 2010

How much?

So my last post showed my little garden in containers and isn't it so cute hahahaha...

I realize that this year, that garden doesn't matter. It's cute. It's a learning curve.

After I posted that I started thinking about just how BIG a garden I will need.

After food is too expensive to buy or doesn't arrive at all by truck. Be it through Peak Oil, societal breakdown or pandemic or EPM (which OMG THAT'S a scary thought!) or whatever, how much would I actually need to grow to feed my family.

I broke it down in my mind in terms of spaghetti.

Specifically sauce.

Because I know that tomato sauce can be canned. I can add stuff to it and make it into spaghetti sauce either pre or post canning. So how much of THAT do I need?

On a very boring year my family probably eats a tomato based dish at least once a week. Usually spaghetti. Your average spaghetti sauce jar (or can if your thrifty) has about 14 oz in it. My family usually adds hamburger but we are not including that in this experiment.

A Pint is 16 ounces so that is what I would use were I home canning my own sauce. That would feed my family of 4 just barely. When the youngest child starts eating real food we would be hard pressed.

Of course we could bulk it up with veggies. But again, I'm JUST looking at my basic sauce.

To create 9 pints of thin sauce would take somewhere between 20-30lbs of tomatoes for thin sauce. Plus possibly 2 onions and garlic and herbs. Those are a must for my canned sauce. Lets say that for 9 pints I'm only going to use 3-4 heads of garlic which I honestly think is very low based on the recipes I've read.

Your average tomato plant, properly cared for and in ideal conditions will yield 10-15lbs of tomatoes. For my math lets go on the worst case scenario of the best case scenario and say 10lbs per plant.

I'm SURE once the SHTF or whatever happens will be ideal growing conditions for my tomatoes, no drought, perfect sunlight etc. /sarcasm

So to feed my family for 9 meals I need 2-3 plants growing in pretty decent conditions PLUS I need to provide at least 2 good sized onions and 3-4 heads of garlic.

Let's make the math bigger. I need 52 jars of the stuff for our once a week meal.

52 weeks / 9 pints = 5.77 batches of sauce

5.77 x 3 tomato plants = 17.33 (let's round up to 18)

PLUS I'll need 11.5 onions (good sized) and 23 heads of garlic.

That's just for 52 meals!

That does NOT include the actual pasta or rice or whatever I'm putting the sauce on.

PLUS - if want to extend the sauce, give it some more nutrition, I need peppers, celery, mushrooms (as if I would chance that at this point) and we haven't even accounted for how many herbs I'm going to need to grow which include basil, rosemary, thyme, oregano to start with.

Then comes my biggest hurdle. My family is not an island.

We have family. Specifically we have my MIL & FIL plus my SIL, her husband and their two children.

I am a bleeding heart liberal. I could not let them starve.

Also, we live in a neighborhood. My neighbor to my left has at least 4 children that I know of. They are my middle child's closest friends. What would I do if they were hungry? Would I let small children starve?

The idea of growing the majority of my own family's food is daunting. Feeding our mildly extended family is concerning. Feeding those who I couldn't let starve? Anxiety producing - it makes me wanna cry.

Logically - I know I can't feed them all. I just can't. I can grow extra, give seeds etc. but as most gardeners know, you have a learning curve the first few years you start gardening. Can you imagine the stress and the steep learning curve if you were trying to feed your family and had no preparation?

I sure hope Survival Dad is buying a few rounds of ammo, just in case I guess.


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