Over 500kg of food harvested in 2019

Principle 3: Obtain a yield


We produced over half a tonne of food in 2019, with a total yield of 498kg of fruit and vegetables along with 805 eggs collected, which was a significant improvement in our harvest from 2017 of 308kg and 718 eggs.  This was harvested from a Garden Farming area of 387m² (land size, less roof area) in a year that we recorded 344.5 mm of rain, 41% lower than the long term average. This equates to a fruit/veg yield of 1.29kg/m².

I attribute the increased yield attributed to a number of factors. An increased diversity and biological activity after 9 years of living on the land. The installation of drip irrigation. And, improved gardening and animal management practices.

In the table below I've divided the food grown on site into several areas. The herbs and 'other' - which includes mushrooms, dried pulses, dried corn - are much more time consuming to produce and are valued more highly.
  • Eggs (2019 harvest total was 805)
  • Vegetables (2019 harvest total was 310kg)
  • Fruit (2019 harvest total was 176kg)
  • Herbs (2019 harvest total was 5.5kg)
  • Other - (2019 harvest total was 5.8kg)



The whole family has been involved in the recording of the yield, which has required some discipline. I’ve recorded the data, firstly in a small notebook, with a page per month - and the totaled them and recorded them in a spreadsheet with our previous year totals. This was done with Google Sheet, and is published as a live doc here. You can click on the tabs at the bottom to view the results from previous years that we have collected data.

External inputs over the year include:
  • grass clippings supplied by a local business (maybe half a small trailer load a week on average)
  • Mains water (used for irrigation and water fights). Jan-Apr 92kL / May-Aug 2kL / Sept-Dec 59kL. Total 153kL. 419lt per day average for a family of 4.
  • Chook feed. We had about 9 layers for most of 2019. Supplemented by household food scraps and excess garden produce.
  • Sawdust used for humanure toilet system. About 1.5 small trailer loads per year (6' x '4).
  • Plums and Apricot trees were sprayed with a Bordeaux mix before budding to control leaf curl (pretty effective - I'll apply more in the future). Grape vines were sprayed before budding with wettable sulphur to control fungal growth (only applied once, not very effective, I'll apply more regularly in the future).

I’d like to encourage other RetroSuburbanites to have a go at recording yields. It would be interesting to see how results vary with different techniques and effort in differing climates. If you have recorded results in the past, please share them in the comments below.

I haven't recorded how much time and effort I've put in, as I don't really think about that. We are usually harvesting something every couple of days, and I try to spend about half a day a week getting stuck into what ever needs to be done. Sometimes I just wander outside and start doing things - which I find relaxing. Enjoying the beauty and life that thrives around our home.

See our 2013 food harvest result post here


Comments

Wojciech Górny said…
Great results Richard and valuable proof what can be done in a relatively small space following permaculture principles. You surely walk the talk.
Your entire family's passion has paid off! We are beginning to think of permaculture and move away from the urban life style and the mad rat race. Thank you for the details that you add to your blog which helps a great deal for newbies who know zero about growing plants or sustainable living.

Coming to think of it, wasn't this Gid's original plan for man? 😊 we have taken it and made it sound different and then we blame God for every problem that arises. Putting 50 hours of hard work into some one else's business and making them earn all the money as an engineer and microbiologist, maybe putting a bit of that effort into our own house and garden would be more satisfying and stressfree at the same time.

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