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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
In planning next year's garden, I decided to investigate how many calories are in the fruits and veggies I grow. If it ever reaches the point where our garden becomes the family's main source of food, I'll want to have high calorie plants. If I start growing them now, I'll be able to get some practice with them, find out what works and what doesn't, and save some seeds.

The following calorie info comes from nutritiondata.self.com, and is for 100 grams of raw food.

I also included fat content info for some plants that are good fat sources. (These are just plants that grow well in my area.)

Nuts and beans came out on top, which I expected. What I didn't expect was for this year's bumper crop of tomatoes and summer squash to be soooo looow on the list!

Hopefully this isn't a redundant post.

Pecans: 691 Calories, 72 g Fat, 9 g Protein, 10 g Fiber, 14% Iron, 7% Calcium, 2% Vitamin C, 1% Vitamin A
English walnuts: 654 Calories, 65 g Fat, 15 g Protein, 7 g Fiber, 16% Iron, 10% Calcium, 2% Vitamin C
Hazelnuts: 628 Calories, 61 g Fat, 15 g Protein, 10 g Fiber, 26% Iron, 11% Calcium, 11% Vitamin C
Black walnuts: 618 Calories, 59 g Fat, 24 g Protein, 7 g Fiber, 17% Iron, 6% Calcium, 3% Vitamin C, 1% Vitamin A
Sunflower seeds (kernels, dry roasted): 582 Calories, 50 g Fat, 19 g Protein, 11 g Fiber, 21% Iron, 7% Calcium, 2% Vitamin C
Almonds: 575 Calories, 49 g Fat, 21 g Protein, 12 g Fiber, 21% Iron, 26% Calcium
Sesame seeds: 565 Calories, 48 g Fat, 17 g Protein, 14 g Fiber, 82% Iron, 99% Calcium
Pumpkin and squash seeds (kernels, dry roasted): 522 Calories, 42 g Fat, 33 g Protein, 4 g Fiber, 83% Iron, 4% Calcium, 3% Vitamin C, 8% Vitamin A
Soybeans (mature): 446 Calories, 20 g Fat, 36 g Protein, 87% Iron, 28% calcium, 10% Vitamin C
Pinto beans: 347 Calories, 1 g Fat, 21 g Protein, 15 g Fiber, 28% Iron, 11% Calcium, 11% Vitamin C
Black beans: 341 Calories, 1 g Fat,22 g Protein, 15 g Fiber, 28% Iron, 12% Calcium
Navy beans: 337 Calories, 1 g Fat, 22 g Protein, 24 g Fiber, 31% Iron, 15% Calcium
Cranberry (Roman) beans: 335 Calories, 1 g Fat, 23 g Protein, 25 g Fiber, 28% Iron, 13% Calcium
Kidney beans: 333 Calories, 1 g Fat, 24 g Protein, 25 g Fiber, 46% Iron, 14% Calcium, 8% Vitamin C
California avocado: 167 Calories, 15 g Fat, 2 g Protein, 7 g Fiber, 3% Iron, 1% Calcium 15% Vitamin C, 3% Vitamin A
Garlic: 149 Calories, 6 g Protein, 2 g Fiber, 9% Iron, 18% Calcium, 52% Vitamin A
Soybeans (green): 147 Calories, 7 g Fat, 13 g Protein, 4 g Fiber, 20% Iron, 20% Calcium, 48% Vitamin C, 4% Vitamin A
Florida avocado: 120 Calories, 10 g Fat, 2 g Protein, 6 g Fiber, 1% Iron, 1% Calcium 29% Vitamin C, 3% Vitamin A
Sweet potato: 86 Calories, 2 g Protein, 3 g Fiber, 3% Iron, 3% Calcium, 4% Vitamin C, 284% Vitamin A
Corn: 86 Calories, 1 g Fat, 3 g Protein, 3 g Fiber, 3% Iron, 11% Vitamin C, 4% Vitamin A
Green peas: 81 Calories, 5 g Protein, 5 g Fiber, 8% Iron, 2% Calcium, 67% Vitamin C, 15% Vitamin A
Potato: 77 Calories, 2 g Protein, 2 g Fiber, 4% Iron, 1% Calcium, 33% Vitamin C
Parsnips: 75 Calories, 1 g Protein, 5 g Fiber, 3% Iron, 4% Calcium, 28% Vitamin C
Figs: 74 Calories, 1 g Protein, 3 g Fiber, 2% Iron, 4% Calcium, 3% Vitamin C, 3% Vitamin A
Jerusalem artichokes: 73 Calories, 2 g Protein, 2 g Fiber, 19% Iron, 1% Calcium, 7% Vitamin C
Shallots: 72 Calories, 3 g Protein, 7% Iron, 4% Calcium, 13% Vitamin C, 24% Vitamin A
Grapes (slip-skin): 67 Calories, 1 g Protein, 1 g Fiber, 2% Iron, 1% Calcium, 7% Vitamin C, 2% Vitamin A
Leeks: 61 Calories, 1 g Protein, 2 g Fiber, 12% Iron, 6% Calcium, 20% Vitamin C, 33% Vitamin A
Pears: 58 Calories, 3 g Fiber, 1% Iron, 1% Calcium, 7% Vitamin C
Blueberries: 57 Calories, 1 g Protein, 2 g Fiber, 2% Iron, 1% Calcium, 16% Vitamin C, 1% Vitamin A
Apples: 52 Calories, 2 g Fiber, 1% Iron, 1% Calcium, 8% Vitamin C, 1% Vitamin A
Raspberries: 52 Calories, 1 g Fat, 1 g Protein, 6 g Fiber, 4% Iron, 2% Calcium, 44% Vitamin C, 1% Vitamin A
Kale: 50 Calories, 1 g Fat, 3 g Protein, 2 g Fiber, 9% Iron, 14% Calcium, 200% Vitamin C, 308% Vitamin A
Butternut squash: 45 Calories, 1 g Protein, 2 g Fiber, 4% Iron, 5% Calcium, 35% Vitamin C, 213% Vitamin A
Blackberries: 43 Calories, 1 g Protein, 5 g Fiber, 3% Iron, 3% Calcium, 35% Vitamin C, 4% Vitamin A
Brussels sprouts: 43 Calories, 3 g Protein, 4 g Fiber, 8% Iron, 4% Calcium, 142% Vitamin C, 15% Vitamin A
Beets: 43 Calories, 2 g Protein, 3 g Fiber, 4% Iron, 2% Calcium, 8% Vitamin C, 1% Vitamin A
Carrots: 41 Calories, 1 g Protein, 3 g Fiber, 2% Iron, 3% Calcium, 10% Vitamin C, 334% Vitamin A
Acorn squash: 40 Calories, 1 g Protein, 1 g Fiber, 4% Iron, 3% Calcium, 18% Vitamin C, 7% Vitamin A
Hubbard squash: 40 Calories, 2 g Protein, 2% Iron, 1% Calcium, 18% Vitamin C, 27% Vitamin A
Onion: 40 Calories, 1 g Protein, 2 g Fiber, 1% Iron, 2% Calcium, 12% Vitamin C
Peaches: 39 Calories, 1 g Protein, 1 g Fiber, 1% Iron, 1% Calcium, 11% Vitamin C, 7% Vitamin A
Jicama: 38 Calories, 1 g Protein, 5 g Fiber, 3% Iron, 1% Calcium, 34% Vitamin C
Honeydew melon: 36 Calories, 1 g Protein, 1 g Fiber, 1% Iron, 1% Calcium, 30% Vitamin C, 1% Vitamin A
Rutabagas: 36 Calories, 1 g Protein, 3 g Fiber, 3% Iron, 5% Calcium, 42% Vitamin C
Cantaloupe melon: 34 Calories, 1 g Protein, 1 g Fiber, 1% Iron, 1% Calcium, 61% Vitamin C, 68% Vitamin A
Broccoli: 34 Calories, 3 g Protein, 3 g Fiber, 4% Iron, 5% Calcium, 149% Vitamin C, 12% Vitamin A
Strawberries: 32 Calories, 1 g Protein, 2 g Fiber, 2% Iron, 2% Calcium, 98% Vitamin C
Serrano pepper: 32 Calories, 2 g Protein, 4 g Fiber, 5% Iron, 1% Calcium, 75% Vitamin C, 19% Vitamin A
Turnip greens: 32 Calories, 1 g Protein, 3 g Fiber, 6% Iron, 19% Calcium, 100% Vitamin C, 232% Vitamin A
Spaghetti squash: 31 Calories, 1 g Fat, 1 g Protein, 2% Iron, 2% Calcium, 4% Vitamin C, 1% Vitamin A
Green beans: 31 Calories, 2 g Protein, 3 g Fiber, 6% Iron, 4% Calcium, 27% Vitamin C, 14% Vitamin A
Okra: 31 Calories, 2 g Protein, 3 g Protein, 4% Iron, 8% Calcium, 35% Vitamin C, 7% Vitamin A
Sweet red peppers: 31 Calories, 1 g Protein, 2 g Fiber, 2% Iron, 1% Calcium, 213% Vitamin C, 63% Vitamin A
Watermelon: 30 Calories, 1 g Protein, 1% Iron, 1% Calcium, 13% Vitamin C, 11% Vitamin A
Collards: 30 Calories, 2 g Protein, 4 g Fiber, 1% Iron, 14% Calcium, 59% Vitamin C, 133% Vitamin A
Turnip roots: 28 Calories, 1 g Protein, 2 g Fiber, 2% Iron, 3% Calcium, 35% Vitamin C
Banana pepper: 27 Calories, 2 g Protein, 3 g Fiber, 3% Iron, 1% Calcium, 138% Vitamin C, 7% Vitamin A
Sweet yellow pepper: 27 Calories, 1 g Protein, 1 g Fiber, 3% Iron, 1% Calcium, 306% Vitamin C, 4% Vitamin A
Cabbage: 25 Calories, 1 g Protein, 3 g Fiber, 3% Iron, 4% Calcium, 61% Vitamin C, 2% Vitamin A
Cauliflower: 25 Calories, 2 g Protein, 3 g Fiber, 2% Iron, 2% Calcium, 77% Vitamin C
Spinach: 23 Calories, 3 g Protein, 2 g Fiber, 15% Iron, 10% Calcium, 47% Vitamin C, 188% Vitamin A
Rhubarb: 21 Calories, 1 g Protein, 2 g Fiber, 1% Iron, 9% Calcium, 13% Vitamin C, 2% Vitamin A
Asparagus: 20 Calories 2 g Protein, 2 g Fiber, 12% Iron, 2% Calcium, 9% Vitamin C, 15% Vitamin A
Sweet green pepper: 20 Calories, 1 g Protein, 2 g Fiber, 2% Iron, 1% Calcium, 134% Vitamin C, 7% Vitamin A
Swiss chard: 19 Calories, 2 g Protein, 2 g Fiber, 10% Iron, 5% Calcium, 50% Vitamin C, 122% Vitamin A
Tomatoes: 18 Calories, 1 g Protein, 1 g Fiber, 1% Iron, 1% Calcium, 21% Vitamin C, 17% Vitamin A
Summer squash: 16 Calories, 1 g Protein, 1 g Fiber, 2% Iron, 1% Calcium, 28% Vitamin C, 4% Vitamin A
Radish: 16 Calories, 1 g Protein, 2 g Fiber, 2% Iron, 2% Calcium, 25% Vitamin C
 

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hmmm wonder if you waited and saved the seeds from the squash if they would rank close to pumpkin ??,,, maybe they would be close both summer and winter squash you would think
 

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Discussion Starter #3
hmmm wonder if you waited and saved the seeds from the squash if they would rank close to pumpkin ??,,, maybe they would be close both summer and winter squash you would think
That's true! Didn't think of that. Maybe my garden isn't such a caloric disappointment after all! :thumb: The exact wording on the nutrition website was "Seeds, pumpkin and squash seed kernels, roasted, without salt", so yay! Not bad! I'm going to try some hull-less oil pumpkins next year.
 

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I'm not really all that surprised by the order of your list. Things lower on the list have other attributes that make them good for you so don't discount them because they're lower in calories.

I don't see avocados on your list, do people not grow them in your area? They're a fantastic source of vitamin richness and cholesterol free fats and calories.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I'm not really all that surprised by the order of your list. Things lower on the list have other attributes that make them good for you so don't discount them because they're lower in calories.

I don't see avocados on your list, do people not grow them in your area? They're a fantastic source of vitamin richness and cholesterol free fats and calories.
I researched growing avocados, but it looks like we'd have to grow them in a greenhouse. There are some that claim to be hardy to zone 8, but we're at the border between 8a and 7b, so it probably wouldn't really work. I'll add them to the list though, because they are impressive!

I don't plan to stop growing my favorite veggies just because they're not calorie dense. Tomatoes are weak in that dept., but good for vitamins and so versatile! Plus there's just something insanely rewarding about picking juicy, ripe tomatoes! My garden next year probably won't look that much different from this year. I do plan to add beans, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and a few other high-calorie veggies that I don't usually grow because they're so cheap to buy in bulk or we don't eat them very often. And there will be less summer squash, just because!:upsidedown:

Some of these plants are high in calories, but might not have a great yield, so it might make more sense to grow higher-yielding plants that are a little lower in calories. This isn't a very detailed list, just a jumping-off point.
 

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Guns and Yoga
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We've begun gardening with the goal of maximum calories per S.F. as well. Lots of root veggies and potato towers! But with companion and intensive planting, I'm getting the flavorful low calories goods while aiding the growth of the calorically dense crops.

Nut trees are a priority on our new land and will be experimenting with Rapeseed and Sunflowers for oil from the Piteba press.

In a worst case scenario, I know I can grow greens and sprout seeds with minimal light in the dead of winter so I can focus on High density produce in the summer. We've also taken to drying and powdering all our greens to make superfood soups and smoothies throughout the year. 1 Tablespoon is roughly 2 cups of greens and stores in a nice compact pouch.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
1 Tablespoon is roughly 2 cups of greens and stores in a nice compact pouch.

That's AWESOME! Sounds like something I could sneak into the kids' food without them noticing. And great portable food. I'm putting a dehydrator on my Christmas list.
 

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Weed 'em and reap
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In planning next year's garden, I decided to investigate how many calories are in the fruits and veggies I grow. If it ever reaches the point where our garden becomes the family's main source of food, I'll want to have high calorie plants. If I start growing them now, I'll be able to get some practice with them, find out what works and what doesn't, and save some seeds.

The following calorie info comes from nutritiondata.self.com, and is for 100 grams of raw food.

I also included fat content info for some plants that are good fat sources. (These are just plants that grow well in my area.)

Nuts and beans came out on top, which I expected. What I didn't expect was for this year's bumper crop of tomatoes and summer squash to be soooo looow on the list!

Hopefully this isn't a redundant post.

Pecans 691 (72 g fat)
English walnuts 654 (65 g fat)
Hazelnuts 628 (61 g fat)
Black walnuts 618 (59 g fat)
Sunflower seeds (kernels, dry roasted) 582 (50 g fat)
Almonds 575 (49 g fat)
Sesame seeds 565 (48 g fat)
Pumpkin and squash seeds (kernels, dry roasted) 522 (42 g fat)
Soybeans (mature) 446 (20 g fat)
Pinto beans 347
Black beans 341
Navy beans 337
Cranberry (Roman) beans 335
Kidney beans 333
California avocado 167 (15 g fat)
Garlic 149
Soybeans (green) 147 (7 g fat)
Florida avocado 120 (10 g fat)
Sweet potato 86
Corn 86
Green peas 81
Potato 77
Parsnips 75
Figs 74
Jerusalem artichokes 73
Shallots 72
Grapes (slip-skin) 67
Leeks 61
Pears 58
Blueberries 57
Apples 52
Raspberries 52
Kale 50
Butternut squash 45
Blackberries 43
Brussels sprouts 43
Beets 43
Carrots 41
Acorn and Hubbard squash 40
Peaches 39
Jicama 38
Honeydew melon 36
Rutabagas 36
Canteloupe melon 34
Broccoli 34
Onion 32
Strawberries 32
Serrano pepper 32
Turnip greens 32
Spaghetti squash 31
Green beans 31
Okra 31
Sweet red peppers 31
Watermelon 30
Collards 30
Turnip roots 28
Banana pepper 27
Sweet yellow pepper 27
Cabbage 25
Cauliflower 25
Spinach 23
Rhubarb 21
Asparagus 20
Sweet green pepper 20
Swiss chard 19
Tomatoes 18
Summer squash 16
Radish 16
Don't be too obsessed with maximizing calories. They're not the only reason that food exists.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Don't be too obsessed with maximizing calories. They're not the only reason that food exists.
Not an obsession, just an internet search.

I think it makes good sense to try to maximize the food energy that can be produced in my garden. If we were unable to purchase fast food and groceries for some reason, and had to rely on our garden, most of our calories would be lost. This year we grew peppers, tomatoes, squash, watermelon, and okra. All of those are great for vitamins and whatnot, and I don't plan to stop growing them, but our total calories from that garden wouldn't have supported my family for more than a few days at most. There are some foods that we didn't grow that I intend to incorporate next year, because they're calorie dense. And the calorie dense foods on the list aren't just "empty calories." They also have vitamins, protein, fiber, fats, etc. I'm not going to be giving up essential vitamins and nutrients and replacing them with sugarcane.

This isn't about "I'm not growing tomatoes anymore because they don't have a lot of calories."

It's more about "Hey, I think I'll practice growing some of my own sweet potatoes and beans next year."
 

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Just the facts, Ma'am.
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I'm glad the question was asked and that you clarified that it isn't all about calories. Thanks for all that leg work. I copied and pasted you original post to a Word document for later use. I am going to grow most of the same things I have been growing, but I am moving to a different area of the country. I will have to make adjustments for the new zone (going from 7b to 4b). I will probably never have the land or patience to deal with growing wheat for bread, but all of my other food could come from my garden if I am lucky enough to find a big plot to buy.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I will have to make adjustments for the new zone (going from 7b to 4b).
4b! Yikes! We were 7b for years, but with the new map we're now officially 8a. Makes me want to go out and buy some tropical plants! Growing in 4b sounds like a challenge!
 

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Ok, so I got inspired to make my list more comprehensive. (Still listed from highest to lowest calories, though! )The site actually gives much more info than this (% Daily Value for all kinds of micro-nutrients) but so far I'm just listing the info that would show up on a food package's nutrition facts panel.

Some of this was surprising, I highlighted some of the numbers that seemed super impressive to me.

I'm surprised by the amount of iron, calcium, and protein in everyday nuts and veggies. I would never voluntarily be a vegetarian, but it does seem more do-able after looking at this.
 

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I recommend growing the '3 sisters' together, Corn, beans climbing the corn stalks surrounded by pumpkins/squash, the spineyness of the vines help prevent deer& coon invaders. Beans put nitrogen into the soil that helps corn needs to grow. Great post, seems to me many Americans forget that calories, fat and protien are very important to have and treat them as the enemy. I too am looking for high cal. plants, vitamins and minerals are important too but I can get them from the dandilions growing around the yard.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I've been researching biointensive growing, it's pretty cool. They recommend growing a lot of high-carbon crops (cereal grains, corn, basically bulky plant materials) so you can make compost and improve your soil fertility. I guess if you don't have manure, you can grow your own "green manure". I like the idea of growing cover crops like vetch, alphalpha, and clover and then just cutting them down and leaving them where they are, instant mulch/compost for the garden. You can even companion plant them with your veggies, kinda like the 3 sisters method. This is all so cool! I've been gardening "difficult and unproductive", I want to garden smarter!
 

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i have commented a few times on the zero calorie diet (and was doubted or called a liar everytime) but i basically ate only things on the list below corn in calories and lost almost 15 pounds in one week. while things below corn are still nutritious they do not have the carbs or calories that you will need if you are active. while you will not starve you will technically be malnourished without the beans, corn, potato's etc etc. if you have other sources of protein or carbs forget what i say, but if you are living off your garden and your garden contains items from below the corn line, your gonna lose weight and feel weak.
 

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Well, the highest calorie garden I can think of would be just to feed the whole thing to a pig, save some carrots, garlic and potatoes and then eat the pig.
 

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Well, the highest calorie garden I can think of would be just to feed the whole thing to a pig, save some carrots, garlic and potatoes and then eat the pig.
I plan to feed some of mine to some rabbits! They have a higher feed-conversion ratio than most animals, and they breed and grow notoriously fast. They can convert some of my garden food to essential vitamins that you can't really get from veggies- rabbit is a great source of B12. They're also a lot more manageable size-wise than larger livestock, and quieter than chickens.

But they're so cute! I'm gonna let Hubby break their little necks for me.

Rabbit stew with potatoes, carrots, onions, garlic... yum!:thumb:
 

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In a worst case scenario, I know I can grow greens and sprout seeds with minimal light in the dead of winter so I can focus on High density produce in the summer. We've also taken to drying and powdering all our greens to make superfood soups and smoothies throughout the year. 1 Tablespoon is roughly 2 cups of greens and stores in a nice compact pouch.
How do you do that?
 

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How do you do that?
Greens like lettuce need very little light, even a north facing window in winter will do, but a simple fluorescent fixture will do for simple greens. Sprouting for most seeds take no light but for finishing to build chlorophyll.

Then if things got REALLY bad, I do have several 400wHID grow lights that would be set to run off PV and would grow fruiting produce underground or in blacked out rooms. The lamps generate so much heat that in a 50F underground space the lights can heat it up to 80F, perfect for peppers and tomatoes.

Did I answer your question?
 
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