was exactly one year ago that I started weighing all the produce from my backyard. Each time I picked something I weighed it on the kitchen scale and painstakingly logged the result in an Excel spreadsheet.
After 12 months, the total harvest is an astounding 216.614 kilograms of herbs, vegetables and fruits in addition to 846 eggs from four chooks.
The most productive was the round zucchini weighing in at just under 50 kilos. At 23.5 kilos, silverbeet is a crop that gives and gives and gives. We never ran out of leafy green this past winter. They have now all gone to seeds and I have replaced these with the colourful rainbow chards.
Growing my own food has been an interesting experience. It certainly makes me more aware of the debate on food security and the enormous amount of input (both materials, energy and effort) it requires to put food on the table. Within my own small backyard attempt at food production, I come to the realization that cities need to have urban/peri-urban agriculture within its strategic planning, which needs to be supported by structural planning to make it happen.
This exercise is urban food production is part of my thesis and the results will form part of my analysis, together with data collected from other participants. (By the way, I still need about five more people to take part in my research. If you are interested, leave a message and I will get in contact.)
I have also learned a lot about plants and planting and the many challenges of producing food even on a small scale; organic pest control, companion planting, crop rotation and so much more. I also know for a fact that each backyard is different, nevertheless it is still possible to create different microclimates for different plants. And I have still a lot to learn from my own backyard. Pest changes from season to season depending on many variables. Different plants have different requirements. Being able to grow my own food, modest as it is, is an extremely gratifying exercise. Here’s to next year!