Marjory Wildcraft: Growing Your Own Groceries

We all intuitively know that it’s important to have access to locally grown food, especially if it’s grown organically.

It gives us calorie resilience in case our standard thousand-mile supply chains become disrupted. It’s more nutrient-rich and healthier for us. It tastes (much) better. Growing it increases our connection to nature. The list of additional benefits is long.

Marjory Wildcraft, founder of The Grow Network and author of Grow Your Own Groceries, explains how we can contribute to the local food production movement by using our own windowsills, planters and backyards as a food production system.

Even those with no prior experience can swiftly learn how to grow and raise a meaningful portion of their dietary calories:

It's a very simple three-part system. To set your expectations, I would say that if you have no skills at all, give yourself a year to get these three systems up and running.

The first is a garden. Just start out with a small garden, I would say 50 square feet, 100 square feet at the most. Start small, that way you’ll be able to focus on it. It won’t be overwhelming. Your chances of success are going to be a lot higher. That size garden doesn’t produce a ton of calories – though you can get about 35 to 40,000 calories a year out of in one season out of a garden like that – but it produces a lot of nutrition, and diversity.

Next get a little flock of chickens. You can get about 200-250 eggs per hen in a year. With just a couple of chickens you will be egg wealthy. Eggs have so much great stuff. They’re a complete food; lots of protein and lots of fat.

Then, get some rabbits for meat. One buck and three breeding does, even in Texas where we only have about six or seven months of production because it’s too hot in the summertime for them to breed, I get 75 - 80 rabbits a year out of that. One rabbit is the equivalent of a chicken. In fact, I have often served rabbit and forgot to tell people, and they just assume it’s chicken meat. You can process a rabbit at home 15 minutes before you cook it.

Click the play button below to listen to Chris’ interview with Marjory Wildcraft (76m:04s).

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

I was just about to buy (4) 2 x 8 planter boxes to grow a vegetable garden. I’m brand new at this. Maybe if I’d heard this interview when it came out last year, I’d have started with herbs in the window. Now I’m wondering if I’m biting off more than I can chew, and time is of the essence on this one. Can any gardeners comment?

Never too late to start small :slight_smile:
If you can afford the planter boxes and have the space for them you can get them and fill them with soil, which will be an expense now but possibly cheaper than waiting for the prices to go up. Plant one of them and put a pile of mulch on the other three. I’ve used spoiled hay or straw as mulch for years. You have to weed them a bit, but it’s easy weeding, and you’re improving the soil of the other 3 boxes painlessly while you get used to the whole thing. How deep are these boxes? Are you planning to use starts or start your own seeds or both? What were you thinking of growing? You can fill at least a couple of boxes alarmingly easily, actually.

That is not too much garden space at all, that is starting small. Plant one full of potatoes, that is easy, and is 16 potato pieces, put them 1 ft apart 6 to 9 inches deep, no more than 9, go less if not sure; each piece of potato is about the size of a golfball, at least 2 eyes, yes, you can cut larger potatoes. Then one with tomatoes, that is only 4 tomato plants ( you could put them closer but I grow mine in metal tomato cages I re-use every year and they are 2’ in diameter) . So, there is half the space with easy things everyone uses. You can grow summer squash, winter squash, green beans and greens like chard and kale, all of those are easy, then a few herbs like basil and parsley. That is an easy first garden ( do not start with “hard” brasicas like cabbage etc… they like alot of soil fertility. ) If it is hard to find seed potatoes, then go buy 2 pounds of organic potatoes, yellow is usually quickest to grow. I do not buy in soil. You can fill your boxes with native soil, mixing in ammendments if needed. A good book is “how to grow more vegetables than you can imagine …” by John Jeavons

I’m looking at these: . They’re 10" deep. I hadn’t gotten as far as figuring out what to plant; looking at this article for guidance and also just joined the Grow Network. Yes, it’s my intention to buy everything I think I’m going to need now, before inflation.

Thank you! That sounds like a good starting plan. My soil is terrible - sandy - so I’ll need to buy it. Wondering - am I better off planing tomatoes in buckets with cages?
I’m in Zone 6, so I found this guide on what to plant/when: Your insight on what would be the easier ones to start with is helpful, thank you.