Have you arrived at the end of the gardening season and wished you had planned and worked your garden better?
Did you grow things you didn’t eat? Did the weeds get ahead of you? Was valuable growing space wasted?
Begin planning now for next year’s garden. Make sure you get the MOST for your efforts, the space devoted, and the money spent on your garden.
Nature provides most of us only 6 months to grow food for all 12 months. They are precious and must not be wasted!
First – what is your garden’s purpose. Are you just growing a few things for fun, or do you depend on it as a major source of your family’s food?
Next – decide what kinds of things are best to grow – fresh tomatoes and other summer crops, food for next winter’s storage, or both.
Then – decide on how much of each vegetable you will grow and the space required.
How you use your garden and the success you enjoy depend on:
1) Whether or not you’re willing to devote serious time and effort to it,
2) Whether you expect to feed your family just during the growing season or for the entire year,
3) What garden produce your family likes or can be taught to like,
4) Whether all your food needs to be grown or there will be supplementation from other sources, and
5) Whether or not you expect to supplement your income from the sale of produce.
An excellent database of commonly grown vegetables, with when, where, and how they can be grown, as well as how much they will produce, is contained on the Garden Wizard and Garden Master CD’s. These resources for the serious family gardener can be found at www.foodforeveryone.org under Software.
To maximize your results with the least space, cost and effort, grow high-value and ever-bearing crops, such as tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, cucumbers, pole beans, zucchini, etc.,
Following are examples of what can be grown on just 1/8th of an acre, using thirty two 30′-long by 18″-wide soil-beds, with 3 ½’ aisles and 5′ end aisles.
By growing vertically – whether in the soil or in containers – you can produce the following amounts of fresh, healthy vegetables:
Five beds of indeterminate tomatoes -2,000-4,000#
Two beds of sweet peppers – – – – – – — 500-1,000 peppers.
Two beds of eggplant – – – – – – – – – – — 500-1,000 eggplant.
Two beds of indeterminate cucumbers 750-1,500 cucumbers.
Three beds of pole beans – – – – – – – – – 400- – 800#
Two beds of zucchini – – – – – – – – – – – – 400- – 800#
From only 1/16 acre you have more than enough vegetables to feed the family during the growing season, with excess to preserve, sell, or give away.
And doubling the space of these 6 crops could provide significant income to buy other food staples, and/or provide sufficient to preserve them for the winter months.
Growing easily-stored food in the other half of your garden, such as potatoes, cabbage, beets, onions, turnips and carrots can provide your family with ample fresh food during the winter.
Sixteen beds can produce the following amounts from each crop, and by growing two crops – one early and one late – you can sell most of the first crop, then with proper cold storage you can use the second crop for the 6 cold months.
Two beds of carrots – – – – – – – – – – – – 200- – 400#
Two beds of cabbage – – – – – – – – – – – 200- – 400#
One bed of beets & turnips – – – – – – – -100- – 200#
Two beds of onions – – – – – – – – – – – — 200- – 400#
Five beds of potatoes – – – – – – – – – – – 500-1,000#
And you still have four beds left to plant. Small vining squash grown vertically, plus Swiss chard, and multiple crops of spinach and lettuce can add substantially to your production and your diet.
Corn, large squash, and watermelon should only be grown if you have ample EXTRA space, because they take too much space for what they produce.
For example one bed of corn will give you only 90 to 100 ears of corn – all within 2 weeks, while a bed of tomatoes can produce 400 to 800 POUNDS of tomatoes, spaced over 4 months.
Plan now for next year’s garden. Decide what you will eat and what you’d like to sell, then determine the quantities of each vegetable needed, and plan your space to grow at least that much in your garden.