Gardening to Feed Your Family

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Can you grow enough food to feed your family? How about for an entire year? Learning how much to plant per person in the vegetable garden can take a bit of planning.

And may even take a few seasons to determine what works best for you.

We raise our own beef and have chickens. Other things we still supplement from places like Azure Standard.

This is what works for us and every family situation is different. We are also growing fruit trees, berries, and melons.

table with small vegetable plants inside of a greenhouse

How much to plant per person in the vegetable garden

If you’re new to gardening, or increasing your harvest to feed your family, don’t let this discourage you.

Because it can be done. It even became necessary during war time with the victory garden.

But I’m going to be totally honest with you, there are so many variables.

The point is to just start. Plan as best you can and take notes of the things that worked well or didn’t work for the next growing season.

And I have a few tips or lessons we have learned over the years to help get you started.

Determine your food needs

First thing to getting started is to create a plan. Think about how many people are in your family that you need to feed.

How much food do you usually eat? And what types do you prefer?

Other things to consider are how many adults are in the home.

And older teens who eat more than say, toddlers or younger children would probably eat closer to adult portions. So keep that in mind when planning out your needs.

Plant more of the things you love. You’ll want to avoid growing too much of the varieties that you won’t want to cook or eat.

For example, I love eggplant. But the rest of my family does not. So, I’ll only grow one plant per growing season. And some years I skip it all together.

seed packets in wooden box with handle

Plan for succession planting

Foods like radishes and carrots make good succession plants. You can harvest them and plant more through the spring and into the fall.

Some varieties of radishes can be harvested in as little as 20 days. So they make a great option to keep growing through the season.

Here are 10 fast growing vegetables to help you plan out succession planting.

Think about long term vegetable storage

How will you preserve or store your crops over the winter? Planning this out will help give you a jumpstart on creating enough food to feed your family.

And determine the variety of methods of food preservation that you’ll use.

Do you have the extra space to deep freeze sauces or store large amounts of home canned preserves?

Certain varieties of vegetables like potatoes, onions, garlic, winter squashes can be stored longer term with proper curing processes.

How many plants to grow per person

Let me start off with there a huge amount of variables to determining how much to plant.

And there really is not a hard number here. Each person has various needs.

I’m sharing what we are growing for our family of six. And my children are still pretty young.

I hope that this information and what works for us is helpful for you to plan out your garden. And to help with determining how much to plant per person…for the year.

And remember these are just suggestions to help get you started with planning your family’s needs.

planting artichokes in the garden

Here’s what we are growing:

Tomatoes – this year I have 14 plants in the garden. I would suggest about 5 tomato plants per person. Think about preserving tomatoes for sauces, soups, and chilis over the winter months.

Peppers – I have 6 pepper varieties in the garden. I dehydrate a lot to use for seasonings. And we love a using hot and mild peppers for a variety of recipes. Like in this Ninja Foodi Chili or when making Jalapeno poppers. Decide what you will use them for and then plan out how much to grow. 1-2 per person is a good place to start.

Leafy Greens – planting a variety through the season and even in the winter months with proper conditions can feed a family through the year. I would suggest about 4-6 plants or add more if your family eats more salads regularly.

Brassicas (cabbages, broccoli, cauliflower…) 3-4 per person. We make a lot of fermented cabbage (sauerkraut) and so my needs will be a bit more. I planted 5 plants per person.

Beans – plan for about 10-20 plants per person. Basically wherever I can place a trellis, I’m adding a variety of beans. And they can be preserved as dried beans, canned, or eaten fresh during the season.

Corn – about 7-10 plants per person. This is a fun crop for my children. This year we are growing blue corn and adding black popcorn for the first time.

Onions & Garlic – I’m growing 36 plants this year. But I’m Italian and use onions and garlic in nearly everything! Again determine your family’s needs to plan the amounts to grow. I’d say about 15 bulbs.

Potatoes – about 5-7 plants per person. 1 plant should produce anywhere from 5-10 potatoes.

I hope that this basic list of what we grow will help to guide you for planning out your family’s needs.

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