How Much Do I Need To Grow to Feed My Family for the Summer? For the Year? Being Self Sufficient in a back yard garden – AKA – WHY I Choose my CSA!

Ever thought of Growing your own veggies? Sounds easy…. Buy some seeds, throw them in the ground and voila!

I came across this article today called “How Much Should You Plant to Provide a Year’s Worth of Food” Well,  I grew up on a Vegetable Farm.  We had 2 Acres worth of garden.  My family raised meat chickens, planted, grew and harvested vegetables and fruits for our small farm. My parent’s primary wish was to attempt to be as self-sufficient as possible in the 60’s and 70’s. They were a bit before their time. My father practiced companion growing, and we didn’t use pesticides or artificial fertilizers. I never knew the word “Organic” and thought everyone planted this way. Everything was sewn by hand, with a handmade tool, two wooden pegs and a spool of twine, and tilled using a walking rotor-tiller and a variety of favourite rakes, cultivators and other hand tools. Garden gloves optional. We also sold veggies to people in town and a local group of folks who lived in cottages along the lake to pay for our land taxes every year.  My mother was at that time a “stay at home” mom and eventually a “working mom” once us kids got to be teenagers and could manage the gardens on our own.

Ask me about weeding…. I would draw up a map of the garden each spring, carefully marking out each and every row and what was planted there, and then would keep track by marking our progress during our weeding regime as to all the rows we did on that day, every day. We would often come back into the house with a ring of dirt around our mouths from eating while weeding, a perk to weeding the carrot patch. After dinner, and when he got home from a long day at the factory, Dad would walk out to the gardens, and inspect our work, and make us go back to the rows and take out the ones we missed… By the time we finished the gardens and gave out a hearty cheer, we had to start all over again.  Perpetual weeding and harvesting. BUT we DID have enough food for a whole year.  

Reading this article made me remember just how much work it is and HOW happy I am that the Stoll Family Farm is there for our HOPE Triple Cord CSA. I HOPE you Join us today! If you have already signed up, Thank YOU and please Get your Friends involved.

“Now, how much should you plant? That depends on how much your family typically consumes in a year and the approximate yield of each plant. You’ll need to factor in growing conditions such as pests and season length, canning and preserving options, and a healthy margin for error. In all likelihood, it will take several growing seasons before you have a fine-tuned sense of what, and how much, you should plant each year.

When gardening as a hobby, it’s fun to grow whatever you like, but if you’re sustainably gardening, you’ll want to consider what you can grow in a season to last you, so you can eat today and in the future. And do you really like eating in season? Is your backyard large enough for perpetual growing in the spring and mid-late summer? Would you be happy with storage root crops and dried beans and canned fruits and pickles all winter?

Swiss Chard

Here are 6 crops for getting the most bang for your buck in the backyard garden:

1. Beans

– Green beans are loaded with calories and protein. They’re delicious as a side or integrated into a stew or casserole, and certain varieties can be dried, which means that you can enjoy their nutritional benefits year-round. Plant pole beans, which have higher yields than bush beans and double as a dried or shell bean. On average, sew 10-20 bean plants per person per year.

2. Summer Squash

– If you have ever grown summer squash, or lived in the country, you know that summer squash, such as crookneck or zucchini, are incredibly prolific. Zucchini Bread anyone? Plant both yellow and green summer squash. 1 plant per person is recommended

3. Winter Squash

– Winter squash is a good choice because, as long as you store it somewhere cool and dry such as a root cellar, it will keep all winter long. 2-3 plants per person should be sufficient, unless you enjoy varieties of winter squash, such as pepper squash, butternut squash, acorn squash, spaghetti squash…….And squash takes up a lot of room in the garden.

4. Garlic

– Garlic is a good crop to grow because it doesn’t take up too much space. You can grow garlic in the fall to harvest it in the summer. Once you’ve harvested your garlic, you can then use that space for late summer or fall planting. Plant 15 bulbs per person, or more if you love garlic.

5. Tomatoes

– Tomatoes are incredibly versatile. Not only are they delicious fresh, they can be used and preserved in a variety of ways including marinara, salsa, tomato soup, stewed tomatoes, and ketchup. On average, 5 tomato plants are recommended per person. Consider planting several different varieties; grape/cherry tomatoes are delicious fresh, but Romano and Beefsteak and Table tomatoes are better for eating, canning and sauces.

6. Onions/Leeks

-Leeks and Onions are versatile and add layers of flavour to dishes, and are very healthy for the immune system. Leeks can winter over in a garden, so will not freeze and spoil in the ground. Onions need a dry dark airy place to store so they don’t rot. 30 to 80 plants per person

HOPE Triple Cord CSA Summer Garden

How Much to Plant Per Person: Additional Crops (taken from the article: How Much Should You Plant to Provide a Year’s Worth of Food)

  • Artichokes: 1-4 plants per person, perennial
  • Asparagus: 5 plants per person, perennial
  • Beans, Bush: 10-15 plants per person
  • Beans, Lima: 10-15 plants per person
  • Beets: 10-20 plants per person, spring and fall
  • Broccoli: 8 plants per person
  • Brussels Sprouts: 5 plants per person
  • Cabbage: 5 plants per person, spring and fall
  • Carrots: 10-40 plants per person, succession planting
  • Cauliflower: 3-5 plants per person, spring and fall
  • Celeriac: 1-5 plants per person
  • Celery: 3-8 plants per person
  • Chard: 2 plants per person, regrows after harvesting outer leaves
  • Corn: 15-40 plants per person
  • Cucumbers: 5 plants per person
  • Eggplant: 1 plant per person, plus 2-3 extra per family
  • Kale: 1 5’ row per person
  • Lettuce: 10-12 plants per person, succession planting
  • Melons: 2-6 plants per person
  • Onions: 30-80 plants per person
  • Peas: 25-60 plants per person, succession planting, spring and fall
  • Peppers: 5-8 plants per person
  • Potatoes: 20-30 plants per person
  • Pumpkins: 1 plant per person
  • Radishes: 2’ row per person, succession plant
  • Rhubarb: 2-3 crowns per person
  • Spinach: 10-20 plants per person
  • Sweet Potatoes: 5 plants per person
  • Turnips: 2’ row, spring and fall crop

Read more about this concept taken from this article below

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