Friday, January 2, 2009

How much does your garden grow?

Gardening work starts now! Although we're in Illinois and can't put anything in the ground for months, we have to decide what we want to plant and how much, so we can get the seeds ordered. Although you might think you can just buy your seeds at the local discount store, those little 10 cent packets don't contain enough seed to grow much. Also, my germination rate was terrible the year I did that, so I think those seeds might be so cheap because they're old.

How much should you grow in your garden? Or how much do you need to grow to feed your family?

Here are the estimates of the Alabama Cooperative Extension Service.
A UK site reproduced a list from the book, Organic Gardening, by Ron Lacey.

I've been thinking about how much our family eats. If we want to eat green beans twice a week, I need to grow 100 pounds of green beans. Now, I just have to figure out what how many beans will grow 100 pounds. If I think about how this year's beans lasted four months, I guess we just need to grow about three times as much next year.

Broccoli? If we'd like to eat broccoli once or twice a week for the next year, that's about 75 meals with two heads of broccoli each. That's easy enough, since one seed becomes one plant. We need 150 plants. Heirloom Seeds tells you how many seeds are in a broccoli packet, so now I just have to decide which variety I want to plant this year. Broccoli seeds need to be started in February, so they'll be ready to go into the garden after the last frost in April.

I also need to go through my basket of seed packets to see what I have left over from last year that might still be good. Although several catalogs have been arriving daily the past week, I will probably be getting most of my seeds from Heirloom Seeds, a small family-owned business in Pennsylvania.

What are your gardening plans for this spring?

2 comments:

Ivy said...

Do you time your planting, so you could harvest at different times of the growing season? Say you planted enough for 150 heads of broccoli. How do you keep them fresh? Or do you freeze it?

Deborah said...

Broccoli has a very short harvest season in Illinois, because it likes cool weather, so we have to harvest all at once and freeze. We have planted lettuce in the spring and again in the fall.

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