In the Garden – Grow a Year’s Worth of Produced

Have you ever wondered if it’s possible to grow a years worth of produce? Well, it is possible – let us show you how!

My grandpa was a Midwest farm boy and even after he grew up and made a life for himself in southern California, the farm boy never left him.  He always had a garden and much to the annoyance of his neighbors (and the county) he had bees and chickens too.  It was in his blood, much like it’s in mine.

Snow still covers the ground and I am truly enjoying it, but a place in my heart is beginning to warm, longing for spring. It doesn’t help that my mailbox has been filled with seed catalogs.  I’m already beginning to draw out plans for the new garden space and thinking of sweet treats I can make to bribe…err…reward Mr. Misty for his hard work and help with tilling and building more garden boxes.

I’m also calculating how much produce my family consumes during the year and how much of that I can potentially grow myself. This year will be my 9th year gardening and I am gardening with the goal of providing at least 50-75% our needs.

Even though I’ve been gardening for so long, every year seems to bring new lessons, ones I eagerly learn and share. This past garden season, we were nowhere near close to providing 50% of our family’s need. That’s ok, God provided for us in other ways and we have a brand new year in which we can try again.

If you’ve had gardening failures, please don’t give up… keep trying. Gardening, while an important way to feed your family, should be fun and a place of peace and reflection. You can get a lot of thinking and praying done while you are on your hands and knees pulling weeds. And a bonus – plants won’t judge you when you share your woes with them.

How many seeds will need to be sewn, how many plants planted and what will those efforts yield? Based on what I have already learned from my previous gardening experiences and from fellow gardeners, I have a general idea.

When planning a garden, there are several things to take into consideration, like how much room you have for a garden, what crops grow well in your area and really important, which veggies will your family actually eat?  If they won’t eat Kale and Brussels Sprouts, don’t waste your time planting and tending them.

The following is a rough estimate of how many plants needed to provide a sufficient amount of produce for each person in a family.

If you plan on preserving your harvest by canning, dehydrating, freezing or freeze-drying, you’ll need to add a few more plants to the total.  Don’t stress too much about it – you might not plant enough or too much, just make notes for next year.

Artichoke: (Single Planting) 
about 1-2 plants per person

Asparagus: (Perennial)
about 10-15 plants per person

Beans (Bush): (Succession Planting, 10-day Intervals)
about 15 plants per person

Beans (Pole): (Single Planting)
2-4 poles of beans per person, each pole having 3-4 plants

Beets: (Spring & Fall Crop, Succession Planting, 14-day Intervals)
about 36 plants per person

Broccoli: (Spring & Fall Crop, Single Planting)
5-10 plants per person

Brussels Sprouts:(Spring & Fall Crop, Single Planting)
3-6plants per person

Cabbage: (Spring & Fall Crop, Succession Planting, 21-day Intervals)
5-10 plants per person

Carrots: (Succession Planting, 21-day Intervals)
30 plants per person

Cauliflower: (Spring & Fall Crop, Single Planting)
2-3 plants per person

Celery: (Single Planting)
5 plants per person

Collards: (Single Planting)
about 5 plants per person

Corn: (Succession Planting)
12-24 plants per person

Cucumbers: (Single Planting)
3-6 plants per family

Eggplant: (Single Planting)
2-3 plants per family

Garlic: (Single Planting)
12-14 plants per person

Horseradish: (Perennial)
1 plant per person

Kale: (Single Planting)
4-5 plants per person

Kohlrabi: (Cool Season Crop, 10-day Intervals)
4-5 plants per person

Leeks: (Single Planting)
12-15 per person

Lettuce (Head): (Single Planting, Cool Season Crop)
4-5 plants per person

Lettuce (Leaf): (Succession Planting, 7-day Intervals)
6-10 plants per person

Melon (all types): (Single Planting)
2-4 plants per person

Okra: (Single Planting)
3-4 plants per person

Onions: (Single Planting)
20-30 plants per person

Parsnips: (Single Planting)
12-15 plants per person

Peas: (Spring & Fall Crop – Succession Planting, 10-day Intervals)
about 15-20 plants per person

Peppers (Bell): (Single Planting)
3-5 plants per person

Peppers (Chili): (Single Planting)
2-3 plants per person

Potatoes: (Single Planting)
10-30 plants per person

Pumpkin: (Single Planting)
1-2 plants per person

Radishes: (Succession Planting, 7-day Intervals)
15 plants per person

Rhubarb: (Perennial)
1-2 plants per person

Spinach: (Spring & Fall Crop, Succession Planting, 7-day Intervals)
about 15 plants per person

Squash (Summer): (Single Planting)
2-4 plants per person

Squash (Winter): (Single Planting)
1-2 plants per person

Sweet Potatoes: (Single Planting)
5 plants per person

Tomatoes: (Single Planting)
about 15 plants per family

Turnips: (Spring & Fall Crop, Succession Planting, 14-day Intervals)
5-10 plants per person

Zucchini: (Single Planting)
1-2 plants per person

These numbers will vary based on your family size, individual tastes, diets restrictions, and allergies.  Even your climate plays into these numbers as some plants grow better in warmer climates than they do in cooler climates and vise versa. That information should be available on the outside of your seed packets and in your seed catalogs and is based on the USDA Plant Hardiness Zones.

Another thing to consider is spacing.  If you plant 10 heads of Lettuce and they all mature at the same time, will you be able to use them or will some go to waste and eventually end up in the compost pile?  That’s what tends to happen to me.  This year I’m going to start spacing out many of my planting’s by a week or more; example: plant 3 this week, plant another 3 next week and so on.

Territorial Seed Company and Ed Hume Seeds have detailed charts you might find helpful:

Now you know many plants you need, do you know how much space you need?

If you use a technique called Square Foot Gardening (SFG), you’ll need less space than with a traditional garden.  Mel Bartholomew, an engineer, coined the term “Square Foot Gardening” in his book of the same name.  You can purchase the book or if you’re cheap like me, visit Mel’s Website or google “Square Foot Gardening” and you will find a plethora of information. 

Basically, two to four 4×4 foot plots will be enough to provide fresh produce for a family of 2.  Remember, if you want to preserve produce for later use, you will need to plant a few more.  And, don’t forget to plant some herbs – you’ll want to spice up the wonderfully healthy meals you’ll be making your family with your garden fare!

Visit our Etsy shop and pick up our DOWNLOADABLE “My Garden Journal“. This isn’t your ordinary Garden Journal/Planner – this one is EXTREME with 60 pages and 30 DIFFERENT logs, planners, charts and tips that not only will help you stay organized, as a result of being organized, you’ll have a better gardening experience!!

We’ve thought of just about everything you would need – it even has pages that cover Individual Plant/Seed Profiles & Seed Testing!!

Get yours today and get your 2019 gardening season off to a great start!  

Are you an experienced gardener?  We’d love to hear from you!  Please feel free to share your suggestions and tips in the comments below.

Happy Garden Planning!!

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4 thoughts on “In the Garden – Grow a Year’s Worth of Produced”

  1. Good article. I’ve been gardening for years, but need to modify because of age and less space than I’ve had available in the past. Definitely going to try the square foot method this year. Thanks for all the tips. ☺

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