Jakewins on data, food and technology.

Growing a meal

Last year I killed almost one hundred tomato plants. This year, I hope I learned enough to grow a full meal in the back yard. If all goes well, I'll have some friends over for a tomato pasta dinner in August.

I want to cook a meal where the only thing I didn't grow myself is the water. Partially because it's fun and a good reason to get people together, but also because I want to learn the ins and outs of food production.

There are four important components to a good tomato pasta: Pasta, Sauce, Cheese and Wine. I rent an apartment, so both planting a vineyard and raising cattle for milk is, unfortunately, out of reach. But my landlord does allow me to put up a raised bed garden, putting both pasta and sauce squarely within my capabilities. With pasta and sauce in hand, I think I can convince friends to bring cheese and wine with the dinner as a bargaining chip.

Tomato sauce


  • Roma tomatoes
  • Yellow onion
  • Garlic
  • Scotch Bonnet peppers
  • Oil
  • Salt

Most of the above are well known, and should (knock on wood) be fine to make in the yard. Salt and Oil are tricky though. I have plans for both, which I'll explain in a follow up post.



    • Durum wheat flour


  • Water

I grew wheat last year but, cards on the table, it was literally four strands of it. Judging from pasta recipes and reports from others growing wheat on a smaller scale, I need to grow *at least* 24 square feet of wheat to make pasta for 6 people.

I've got limited space, but I'll give it a go and with luck, I'll have some wheat flour in August.

The eggs are a much bigger predicament - I don't have or want chickens (I live in an apartment, remember!). There are recipes for pasta without eggs, simply flour and water - but frankly, the results seem poor. I'm going to try some out with regular store-bought flour, and if I find a good one I'll use it. If not, I'll concede to buy some local eggs.

The seeds
The Seeds

This is (almost) what I'm planting. It's at least all the right types of seeds. The wheat is not the kind that I'm planting, and I'm planting two types of both peppers and tomatoes:

  • Garlic
  • Yellow onion
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Scotch Bonnet Pepper
  • Amish Community Clark Roma
  • Burpee Roma
  • Celery
  • Black Oil Sunflower

So, lets get going!