Gardening to Feed Your Family

Have you ever thought how much food you would have to plant to feed your family for a year? Whether you are a seasoned vegetable gardener or trying this for the first time, there is a starting place for everyone. Nothing is more valuable than a good plan.

One of the first questions to ask yourself is, “what does my family like to eat?” If your family loves tomatoes, then chances are you will be planting a few extra plants than usual. If your family never eats squash, then don’t plant it. Make a list of all the fruits and vegetables that your family likes to eat.

Next question to ask is, “what can I grow in my climate?” Cross everything off your list that you can’t reasonably grow in your garden during May-September give or take.

Many people enjoy eating fresh vegetables straight from the garden and have zero interest in preserving their harvest. “How much do I want to preserve?” should be your next question. Put a star beside everything on your list that you plan on canning, dehydrating, freezing and fermenting.

During the warmer months, we live in a climate where food is abundant. Adjusting your expectations to eat food when it’s in season and preserve for when it’s not is the key when planning your garden for the year. For example, during the summer months you may have an abundance of green beans and summer squash but no leafy greens. You may choose to start succession planting late summer so that you can enjoy your leafy greens fresh in salads for a fall harvest or dehydrate them for later use in smoothies. Either way, think of how often you will eat certain foods and how they are best prepared for you.

Below is a list of how much to plant per person. These are guidelines from and are here to help calculating quantities of plants and the amount of garden space you will need.

Over time you will begin to get a feel of what works for your location, your family and your time. Keep a journal of seeds planted, their success, how much you yield and a map of where everything is planted. Some crops require rotation every year while others don’t want to be touched. Not included in the list above are herbs. Some of these herbs are perennials (chives for example) and only needed to be planted once.

Happy gardening!

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