### How much to grow to feed family of four?

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I have searched around and not been able to find any info on this question. Seems to me, at some point in the past, I came across worksheets to help you figure out what your family ate and how to translate that into how much to grow for a one year supply. Anyone know what I'm talking about?

Thanks

-- EBethH in northern PA (ehiggins@pct.edu), February 10, 2002

you have to figure out how much they eat now,, how much your garden can produce per bed. Then multiply

-- Stan (sopal@net-port.com), February 10, 2002.

The book: The Joy of Gardening by Dick Raymond has a chart in the back that you could use as a reference. This book emphasizes the importants of wide row gardening. I have been using some the methods with good results.

-- r.h. in okla. (rhays@sstelco.com), February 10, 2002.

Roughly speeking, regarding garden area, you should do well with 1/4 acre, providing one of the four isn't an elephant!

-- woodsbilly N. Pa. (coleenl@penn.com), February 10, 2002.

John Jeavons' book provides a great deal of info on this subject.

-- Elizabeth (ekfla@aol.com), February 10, 2002.

A lot of variable in this, came across three quotes that may be useful:

Four indeterminate tomato plants will provide enough tomatoes for one person per season.

One square foot garden unit measuring 4ft x 4ft -- only 16 sq ft -- will produce enough high-quality vegetables to feed one person every day.

It has been suggested that you need 170 sq. feet of growing space to feed one person year-round. That's assuming ideal growing conditions, a limited growing season, and storage of harvested food for later consumption.

-- BC (desertdweller44@yahoo.com), February 10, 2002.

What you need is a yield chart. Then you can figure out how much you eat of each item and determine how much to plant. Here's a couple:

Yeild Chart
Yeild Chart2

-- Karen (mountains_mama2@hotmail.com), February 11, 2002.

Here's a really great chart from Oklahoma State University that lists amounts to plant per person:

http://agweb.okstate.edu/pearl/hort/vegetables/f6004.htm

-- Stacia in OK (OneClassyCowgirl@aol.com), February 11, 2002.

Is that OK chart taking into consideration storage, or only fresh eating out of the garden? 4-5 tomato plants per person doesn't seem like enough to me considering that Americans consume an average of 87.7 pounds per year according to according to the USDA Agriculture Statistics - 1993. According to John Jeavons of Ecology Action each tomato plant has a possible biointensive yield of 1.9-16 pounds. If you get ten pounds of tomatoes from each plant you would need nine plants per person in order to not have to buy any tomato products from the store at all. The problem with the charts I have seen so far is they don't specify whether their estimated amount to plant is for only eating fresh, or also includes enough to put away and make your own sauces, etc. Maybe they assume everyone will continue to buy food at the grocery store? I guess it depends on what you want to do with your garden.

-- Anne Keckler (raymondkeckler@yahoo.com), February 11, 2002.

Charts are great for getting a general idea but I've found through the years it's been kind of a trial and error thing for us. When we started gardening seriously there were still three of us, and now we're down to two of us at home, but then we always have kids and grandkids who may appear and need food from the garden and eggs.

My mama wondered why in the world we have 25 laying hens.....gee...I sell about four dozen a week and the rest supplies us, my son and his wife, and occassionally one of our daughters and her family....

Use a grow chart as a guide but you'll see after a couple of years and you'll kind of get in the rhythm of what to grow and how much. When son was still at home he loved one type of squash that we don't even grow now and he loved egg plant. Last year we had extra egg plants so this year we know not to grow as much....that kind of thing...

I plan to grow as much as possible this year and can can can much more than in the past!

-- Suzy in Bama (slgt@yahoo.com), February 11, 2002.

I put up some info on typical US consumption, as well as yield per plant here: How Much to Plant?

-- Anne Keckler (raymondkeckler@yahoo.com), February 11, 2002.

Thanks so much for all your advice. I have printed out several of the charts and will hit the library tomorrow.

If I can ever manage to keep good enough records I will put up some info about this.

-- EBethH in northern PA (ehiggins@pct.edu), February 11, 2002.

One thing to remember about this type of yield chart or worksheet is that, while very helpful in planning, they are also, by necessity, very general. Yield is variable on so many things, soil fertility, cultivation practices, weather conditions, and insect and animal pests to name a few. Yield also varies among different variteies of the same vegatable. I guess that was kind of a long winded way of getting to my point, which is that I'd use the charts provided by other posters but if you are able, plant a little bit more of the things you like than the charts suggest. If you have the room to do it, it is always better to raise more than you need than not enough. In a good growing year, extra could always be preserved, sold, given away, or even composted. In a bad growing year, the extra you planted in the spring could mean that you get enough instead of running short.

-- Murray in ME (lkdmfarm@megalink.net), February 12, 2002.