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Thursday, November 25, 2021


By Morgan

When it comes to vegetable gardening, many people are confused as to the actual amount that you need to plant to sufficiently feed a family. If you are planning to primarily rely on the food from your vegetable garden, are you planning to wing it by planting as much as you can or will you be calculating it to make sure you have enough?

Chances are you’ll be eating some of it fresh and then preserving the rest until the next harvest through canning, dehydrating, pickling or even putting down into a cellar for later use.

We can look to the victory gardens for some assistance in how to determine how much we need to plant. You may not want to set up your garden exactly like the below picture, but we can certainly average out the numbers to fit our needs. And in many cases, you may not even want to grow all these plants as you or your family may not like them.

Victory Garden

The type of plot above is demonstrating the use of a fairly small plot for a large yield. This type of plot may be a bit difficult to weed and overall maintain simply because of the small amount of spacing between each plant. Use the victory garden as a guide.

One of the biggest things that I advocate when it comes to growing a garden is to grow what you eat. Same concept as storing what you eat.

Many argue that they want to grow other things that they won’t eat for trade or barter or maybe they’ll just find a way.

But if you want to trade or barter certain plants, keep the seeds around in a vacuum sealed bag, I wouldn’t recommend taking up space growing something that you hope you’ll be able to get rid of. If you have chickens or other animals that will enjoy it regardless, then you may want to go ahead and take the chance to grow it.

Unless it’s the full on apocalypse and you need things to trade or barter with. I hate swiss chard but plenty of people love it, so in the full on apocalypse, I’d make a section just for swiss chard and use that for trading.

Start with what you love.

Plant the fruits and vegetables that you KNOW you and your family are going to eat.

Let’s take a look at the above plot and do the math of yields.

On the bottom of the pic you’ll see bush lima beans on an 18″ row. They yield 4-6 pounds of beans per a 10 foot row. We’ll be dealing with an 18″ row, though, as shown in the picture. You can sow bush lima beans about 3-6 inches apart. In an 18″ row, planting seeds every 3″, you’d be able to plant 6 seeds.

Your crop could potentially yield about 1 pound of lima beans. Give or take. Yields can be dependent on a variety of factors. Be sure to keep a journal.

Let’s take it a bit further:

An average of 28 pounds is needed percanner load of 7 quarts; an average of 18 pounds is needed per canner load of 9 pints. A bushel weighs 32 pounds and yields 6 to 10 quarts – an average of 4 pounds per quart.From:

Of course, we don’t have to can the absolute max. We’re able to can as much or as little as we want. These are just to give you an idea about preservation.

You can also dry the beans and place them in a mylar bag or vacuum sealed bag for later consumption.

One pound of dry beans = 2 cups dry beans which will equal about 6 cups of cooked beans.

So if you harvest 1 pound of dry lima beans, that could equate to 6 cups of cooked beans. How many meals could be made from 6 cups of cooked beans?

An average meal will allow 1/2 cup to 1 cup of cooked beans per person, per meal. So for a family of 4, using 1/2 cup of beans per person, you could make about 2-ish meals with lima beans alone.

Doesn’t sound like a lot? Don’t forget, the bush lima beans are only part of what you’re growing. And I was only calculating out the very last line. You’ll notice in the above image that there were other places where bush lima beans appeared on the grid.

If you’re able to grow multiple varieties at different times, you’ll increase your yield, for both fresh and preserving means.

For instance, you’d start some lettuce, then a few weeks later, start more lettuce and so on. If you have the space, and time, of course.
Whew, are we done with the math yet?

This was just to give you a bit of an exercise into how much you can potentially yield from a particular crop. I only talked about lima beans, there’s a whole slew of vegetables and fruits that you can grow to create variety and extend the life of your food and meals.

The vegetables and fruits that you grow will be in addition to your food storage or any other types of meat or animal products that you may have on hand, hunting for, or are trading for.

You can always plant more or less depending on what your family likes and how you plan to eat and preserve it.

You can also extend your growing season with a greenhouse or indoor growing with grow lights.

You could also sprout or grow microgreens indoors.

As much as I hate math, when you plan your garden, do the math. Do some research online about how much you could potentially yield per a specific row length, per type of crop. Write it all down, too. Or better yet, print it out.

Good luck with your garden! May it be successful and yield all the delicious fresh veggies and fruits!

Conquer tomorrow, by preparing today!

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