Monday, December 16, 2013

Gardening to Feed a Family

     I love planning a garden; seeds scattered all over the table, pencil and paper in hand, imagination running wild. When you sit down to plan a garden, anything seems possible. The joy of dreaming up a spring garden is a wonderful thing, but.. a little thought is required if we actually plan to have enough to feed the family.
     First and foremost I considered what was already making regular appearances on the family table. We had green beans, carrots, greens, tomatoes, potatoes and onions daily. Then I took into consideration what we needed to have on our table. Every once in a while there needs to be variety like Bok Choy or Mesclun greens, fingerling potatoes or sweet potatoes.
     Next on the considerations list is preservation, after all, the harvest arrives but the food isn't necessarily eaten all at once. Knowing that dehydrating, freezing and canning are all things I have and will do with our harvest, I can plan for extra produce to put up for the off season. With a list in hand, it was time to search out the tools needed to plant enough.
      There are two charts I absolutely love and use every garden season. One shows us how much of each plant to plant per person in the family. Now the downside is, every family is different- some of us have tots and some have teens. Some families eat fresh in season and some put away for later. When we look at a chart like this, we need to bear in mind the generalness of it and adjust it as we gain experience.
        Here is one from "Garden Know-How":

Vegetable Garden Size For A Family Per Person

VegetableAmount Per Person
Asparagus5-10 plants
Beans10-15 plants
Beets10-25 plants
Bok Choy1-3 plants
Broccoli3-5 plants
Brussels Sprouts2-5 plants
Cabbage3-5 plants
Carrots10-25 plants
Cauliflower2-5 plants
Celery2-8 plants
Corn10-20 plants
Cucumber1 – 2 plants
Eggplant1-3 plants
Kale2-7 plants
Kohlrabi3-5 plants
Leafy Greens2-7 plants
Leeks5-15 plants
Lettuce, Head2-5 plants
Lettuce, Leaf5-8 feet
Melon1-3 plants
Onion10-25 plants
Peas15-20 plants
Peppers, Bell3-5 plants
Peppers, Chili1-3 plants
Potato5-10 plants
Radishes10-25 plants
Squash, Hard1-2 plants
Squash, Summer1-3 plants
Tomatoes1-4 plants
Zucchini1-3 plants

     The other chart I rely on to plan my planting comes from dear Granny Miller, a blogger no longer blogging, but who graciously left her resources on line for us to glean from. Her chart gives us a planting plan for a family of four.

     Already this month, my mind has been busy sketching and scheming since some of my garden seeds need to get going next month. Though my family has changed as children grow up, we still plant a full family garden with the intent not only to have plenty but to be able to share with others.

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