pink and purple potatoes with some math


33 kg of potatoes

One of my goals for this year’s garden was to grow more of my calories. To that end, I took over my parent’s vegetable garden and filled it with potatoes, dried beans and squash. Yesterday, was potato digging day. I had planted four types – and I wrote what those types were down! There was Bintje a yellow flesh type and Red Viking with red skin and white flesh, both are supposed to be good for storing.


Russian Blue potato

Because I’m drawn to the weird, I also planted Russian Blue which has a purple flesh which turns blue-ish when cooked, tastes great but looks horrid in a stew, and Ama Rosa said to have red flesh but I think it looks pink.


Ama Rose potato – very girly

In total, the potato harvest was roughly 33 kg (73 lbs). At 0.77 calories per gram that works out to 25,410 calories worth of potatoes – enough to feed someone needing 2000 calories a day for almost 13 days (if one wanted to follow an all potato diet like Mark Watney of The Martian). I had expected more of a potato harvest and will try to produce more next year. Around here we won’t be going to an all potato diet, so I’m anticipating the potatoes will last us until the end of the year.

To add to my potatoes, we grew dried beans for the first time. I experimented with different types and not all are dried and weighed yet. Some were types were failures and some types did great (I’ll do a whole post on beans later). In total, I got roughly 6 kg of beans. Calorie counts appear to vary based on the bean variety, so I’ll use a middle value of 3 calories per gram. That give me 18,000 calories of beans or enough to feed my hypothetical person for 9 days.

We also brought home the squash harvest and we always get lots. I grew 5 varieties which produced 67 kg (147 lbs). Assuming a quarter of that weight is skin and other bits I’ll compost (I’m ignoring the seeds here, we’ll likely roast and eat those), that leaves me roughly 50 kg of usable squash which at 0.6 calories per gram gives me 30,000 calories of squash, or enough food for 15 days.

In an apocalyptic scenario, ignoring the rest of my harvest (like the carrots, beets, leeks, tomatoes, melons, peppers and eggs) my hypothetical person would have enough food for 37 days and would probably be very, very grumpy – I’d be on an all potato, bean and squash diet.

I’ll do a full calorie calculation at the end of the year when I sum up my harvest