How Many Veggies Does It Take To Feed A Family

Okiedawn OK Zone 7October 16, 2009

I know there isn't a universal answer because different families like different things. But, have you ever looked at your garden and how much it produces in a given year, and then said to yourself "Wow! How much would I have to plant to have enough food to freeze/can/root cellar/dehydrate and feed us for a whole year? I have.

I don't think I have the answers yet for each and every vegetable, but I am slowly getting there, one variety at a time.

There are lots of variables, and it depends too, on which variety/varieties you plant. For example, if you plant carrots that routinely get 7-9" long, you need fewer of them in general, than if you plant carrots that are 5 or 6" long.

If you prefer to 'eat fresh, eat local, eat in-season' and don't freeze, can, dehydrate or root cellar the extra for the gardening "off-season", then the amount of each vegetable would change significantly too.

The following list is the number of various veggies that John Jeavons recommends in his "Hot To Grow More Vegetables..." book. It is for a family of four, growing biointensively, in 1,302 square feet of very well-improved soil. Not all of each variety is planted at one time...some of them are succession-planted. For each and every veggie, he has a recommended spacing/planting pattern described in the book.

Also, because he grows in California, his planting schedule assumes a 6-month growing season in which you can succession plant.

Starting with spring planting 2 weeks before frost:

broccoli 8 seedlings

brussels sprouts 4 seedlings

bush peas 1500 seedlings

cabbage 16 seedlings

carrots 43 seedlings

cauliflower 4 seedlings

cylindra beets 36 seedlings

head lettuce 28 seedlings, staggered plantings to extend harvest

leaf lettuce 48 seedlings, staggered plantings to extend harvest

garlic 3 cloves

onions 39 sets

radishes 10 seeds (I'll assume succession planting every week, though the book doesn't specify

Continuing spring planting, on last frost day:

546 sprouted pieces of Irish potatoes

Continuing spring planting, 2 weeks after last frost:

chard 16 seedlings

spinach 36 seedlings

Continue spring planting, 3 weeks after last frost:

early corn 72 seedlings

regular tomatoes 28 seedlings

Continue spring planting, 4 weeks after last frost, using the following to replace the early brassicas, onions and lettuce:

bush green beans 224 seedlings

bush lima beans 144 seedlings

sweet potatoes 27 seedlings

cosmos (after potatoes are harvested) 12 seedlings

zinnias (after potatoes are harvested) 10 seedlings

cucumbers 18 seedlings

dill 4 seedlings

pumpkins 4 seedlings

sunflowers 4 seedlings

basil 4 seedlings

zucchini 7 seedlings

Continue spring planting, 6 weeks after last frost:

(Begin sprouting 31 lbs. of seed potatoes for fall potatoes)

Replace peas and carrots, as harvested, with:

cantaloupes 12 seedlings

honeydew melons 12 seedlings

midget watermelons 12 seedlings

If growing, transplant into garden:

celery 50 seedlings

Continue spring planting, 7 weeks after last frost:

eggplant 4 seedlings

green peppers 18 seedlings

Continue spring planting, 8 weeks after last frost:

3 parsley seedlings



Plant 248 pieces in early corn area after early corn is harvested

Ten Weeks Before First Fall Frost, plant:

head lettuce 11 seedlings

leaf lettuce 55 seedlings

Eight Weeks Before First Fall Frost, plant:

broccoli 1 seedling (I freely confess, I don't know why he says only 1!)

cabbage 15 seedlings

calendulas 10 seedlings

chard 10 seedlings

spinach 37 seedlings

stock 10 seedlings

radishes 41 seeds

That's it. Well, it gives you an idea of how many to plant of each based on his assumptions of what an average family of four needs.

Do I follow his recommendations? No. I consider them as a starting point only, but they give you a lot of food for thought (pun intended).

We adore broccoli, so I plant twice what he recommends, and I plant less beets, cauliflower, and cabbage because we eat less of those.

I also (LOL) plant many more tomatoes than he recommends. And, you might notice, he doesn't even have okra on this list, and I always have a lot of it.

His timing isn't precisely the same as ours, but I included it because it would help a less-experienced gardener understand which times are best for planting which veggies. For example, from looking at his planting dates in relation to frost dates, even a novice could figure out broccoli and peas tolerate more col than eggplant and peppers and should be planted at different times.

I also noticed all his fall crops are cool-season crops, and I plant a mixture of succession plantings of warm-season crops and cool-season crops.

I just thought planting his lists might spark some interesting discussions.

One of them might be this one: CAN a family grow all or most of its own produce in their own garden? (My answer to that is they can with well-improved soil and some gardening experience under their belts, but doing also would, of necessity, involve food preseration of some type. Oh, and that is assuming adequate water via either rainfall or irrigation AND some cooperation from the weather.)

So, let the discussions begin.


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Now that's interesting. And so way different from what I planted for our family of six. (Actually there were only 6 for 5 years, because oldest moved out when youngest was 5.) But for years I have planted 90 seedlings of broccoli each spring because we like it and freeze a lot and at least 30 of cabbage so can make sauerkraut. Other stuff I think of in terms of rows, not seedlings. I never count lettuce, spinach or radish seeds, just scatter and eat the thinnings. This fall a 50 ft row of French Breakfast radishes are already half gone and the 50 ft row of winter radishes may make if it doesn't get too cold. Have 30 broccoli in right now which haven't hardly grown at all and probably won't make. And I would love to grow good carrots but I keep trying and end up with bitter carrots. Beets do fine. I plant 30 ft each spring, and twice I have planted in the fall only to have the young plants disappear in one or two days when they are a few inches high.

And there wouldn't have ever been any point in me planting lima beans at all because the kids let me know they hated them, which is odd because they would eat purple hulls.

Of course John Jeavons is in California, so maybe lima beans taste better out there. And celery is a California thing. I tried to grow it here when we first moved from California, but only one season.

A measly 3 cloves of garlic would only produce enough for a couple weeks in our house.

No okra and no summer squash...and no turnips or mustard or collard greens for the fall. You can tell he's not a southern gardener.

It's interesting but as you said, everybody has their own preferences and growing conditions and has to figure out what works best for them.

I saw George's winter squash patch in person and I am definitly going to find room for at least one hill of those next year, as well as sweet potatoes.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2009 at 1:20AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


I did find it all interesting, but I too was baffled by some odd recommendations....way too little garlic, as you said, and the same with radishes although I can only assume you keep succession-planting them even though it doesn't say that on the book's planting chart. And, why ONE fall broccoli plant? What in the world is a family of four going to get out of one plant? LOL

I do wish he'd had recommendations for southern crops just so we could see how many he thinks it would take to feed a family. No matter how many purple hulls I plant, it is never enough. Maybe I should take his bush bean recommendations (1500 plants) and apply it to summer legumes like bush green beans or purple hulls or other southern peas. I never have a good cool-season pea crop here--although I did in Texas where I could plant very early with less fear of late freezes. If I devote the space to peas, I guarantee we'll have early hot weather and they'll burn up in the heat before producing a lot. If I skip planting peas and use their space for more broccoli like I did this year, then we'll have a long, cool spring and I'll wish I'd planted peas. In our climate, there's lots of guesswork involved and I don't always make the best guesses.

I've never had 90 broccoli plants at once and got tons of broccoli from this year's 2 rows, which probably numbered about 45 or 50 plants. I might plant more next year, though, because we all like it. This was a very good broccoli year for us, and we don't have good broccoli years here ofen either since it often gets too hot too early.

I think next year's cool-season crops have a shot at having a long, cool, wet spring since it will be an El Nino winter with lots of moisture which, based on experience, usually means a late warm-up. (Yea!) Well, it might be hard to get the tomatoes going, but they'll eventually produce in the hotter weather and I would enjoy filling up the freezer with cool-season crops.

I have a squash patches that looks like George's right now, but they have been maturing slowly and I don't know what the end result will be. I didn't plant them as early as I should have in mid-summer and they slowed down so much when the weather turned cloudy and cool.

In the years that I've planted my winter squash in June, it has tried to take over the whole garden....running up and down pathways, taking over and covering up every other bed, etc. I think the only solution is to make a new winter squash patch next year that is WELL away from the regular garden so they can roam to their heart's content...and because our deer eat winter squash leaves, that means another fenced area. Maybe we'll just put up an electic fence though, to keep them out of it.

So many plans......


    Bookmark   October 17, 2009 at 10:21AM
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All that really tells me is that I need a bigger yard. :)


    Bookmark   October 17, 2009 at 3:10PM
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I love sugar snap peas but had variable success with them, but still tried for years until I saw a segment of Victory garden a few years ago and they were planting started peas in peat pots, saying that they would grow in cold soil but not germinate well. So since then I've started them on the hot bench on the porch and I've gotten good results. Of course that hard freeze in April a couple years ago took out most of a row and I had to replant, and this past spring, I thought I would try presprouting the seeds and planting them directly in the ground, but that didn't work. I got nothing; they rotted. And I had to start over and put them in the peat pots again.

I raise that much broccoli, but I don't put it all up myself. My granddaughters love broccoli so their mom brings them down and the four of them put up their share of it. Same with peas, corn and green beans. (I looked forward to raising a smaller garden when all the kids had left home, but it didn't happen. What with raising for my parents, who are no longer able, and my grandaughters, we raise as much as we ever did.

I don't raise a full year's supply of potatoes either. Most years I run out in February or March, but this year will run out in Dec. Makes me wish I'd planted a fall crop.

One broccoli plant would make one meal for a family of four, hardly worth the effort.

In rereading I see that he has zucchini which is a summer squash, but no yellow or pattypan, which we like. And no southern peas, purple hull, brown crowder, blackeye etc.

In deciding what to grow over the years, we haven't considered just how much it will take to get through the year but also how much stuff costs in the grocery, and have focused on the higher-priced stuff that does well here. The reason for not growing more potatoes. Peas, broccoli, fresh sweet corn are all more expensive than potatoes. And have to consider taste too. Can't stand grocery tomatoes, for instance.

It's a shame that it takes an economic downturn to get more people interested in growing some of their own food, but for whatever reason I'm glad it's happening. Well, I wasn't glad last winter when I couldn't get the broccoli seed I wanted, but this year I have some left.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2009 at 3:17PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


It's true! That's the reason we ended up in OK....our yard in Fort Worth was just too shady (from the neighbor's trees, so we couldn't cut them down) for me to have a garden the size I wanted.

Endless space, though, doesn't automatically equate to endless gardening space. We have a lot of land, but have to do tons of soil improvement to make it worthwhile for growing purposes, and have to put up strong deer fences 7' tall to keep the deer out. At least we do have the land, though, and that's a plus.


I do sprout my peas inside in paper cups (with the bottoms cut out) and I plant them, cups and all, in fairly cold ground and they grow fine. Down here in southern OK, though, about the time they are just starting to bloom and make some actual peas, we'll have too many 'early' warm days and they're done. Or, as you mentioned, a very late freeze will get them. Our weather yo-yos up and down so much here, temperature-wise in March and April, that peas are quite vexing to grow successfully. Maybe I should try planting under a low hoop so I can cover them up. That would help in late freezes, but wouldn't help if an early heat wave arrives.

I'm relieved to hear you don't put up all that broccoli yourself! I just can't imagine trying to put up broc from 90 plants. I had a really hard time getting all of it put up this spring/summer with half the number of plants. It all was one of two varieties--Packman or Premium Crop. Maybe I could handle more plants if I planted Early Dividend or Small Miracle, or both, to spread out the harvest more.

I keep thinking our garden will get smaller too, but DS and his wife do eat some veggies (when they aren't eating fast food, LOL) so I probably should plant more instead of less so they can have whatever they want from our garden too.

My spring potato crop froze three times, with fewer and fewer rebounding after each round of freezing weather, and then drowned in that one-day foot of rainfall, so I am down to the last bucket of them. The fall potato crop may save us though if it produces well. I have always grown fewer potatoes too, for the same exact reason--they are just so dirt-cheap at the grocery story. However, we've become addicted to the flavor of fresh potatoes, so I do want to grow all our own and have tilled up a new area where I can plant a lot more potatoes next year. I'm working now on improving that soil in that area.

I'm thrilled to see more folks doing edible gardening too, but it does mean that we obsessive-compulsive gardeners who must have "this" specific variety had better order early! It is the same thing with canning. I've never seen so many people canning or drying or freezing their own food. I think it not only is economic, but also a desire on the part of some folks to want to know their food--where it came from, how it was raised, how it is preserved (preferably at home, with fewer chemicals added), etc. I think it is great.

When I was a kid in the 1960s, everyone had a few fruit trees and a garden in the backyard in our neighborhood. Some folks had eggs for chickens, and some had goats or rabbits. I'd love to see it become that way again. I don't know how much longer the people of the world can expend endless amounts of fossil fuels to ship lettuce from California, or fruit from South America to North America or whatever. It would be great to see more local farms growing food locally/regionally and shipping it shorter distances. At least that way, if you couldn't raise all your own food, at least you could buy food that comes more or less from your own area.

Y'all, I saw quite a few people put in new veggie gardens this year and a lot of them became discouraged and abandoned them because of severe waterlogging and the subsequent weeds. I hope they'll try again next year. This was a really tough year to be a new gardener.


    Bookmark   October 17, 2009 at 3:50PM
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One day I'll be in the country! Then I'll be older and too tired to do this like I want to. :)

Really this sounds like a very good book. I've been looking at my small spaces and wondering just what all I can scrunch in and where. Maybe reading this would give me more of a sense of space about this.


    Bookmark   October 17, 2009 at 5:08PM
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Not enough land....not enough time....not enough energy, etc. Tonight my DH said I needed a storage shed for my tomato and pepper cages. Guess I had better "reel them in" a little because it does look pretty unruly out there. Ain't gard'nen fun?

    Bookmark   October 17, 2009 at 9:50PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Beth, It is a great book. For each week he'll tell you when to start the seeds (and how many), when to prick out the seedlings from starter clumps in flats into individual containers, when to transplant, etc. Although his schedule isn't perfect for our geographic region, it is easy to modify it. I like that he has you start more seedlings than you need so you have a margin or error.

His planting schematics work well if you have well-amended soil, or just naturally fertile, loamy, well-draining soil.

The first time I read his book when I lived in Texas, I did all the double-digging, etc., that he recommends and then built raised beds above the double-dug beds and filled those raised beds with a 50% sandy loam/50% compost mix and had the most productive garden ever.

I haven't double dug here....only single digging at grade level and then raised beds above. I wish I had the time and energy to double-dig everything....and if I could penetrate the lower level of clay, I might do it. Once you get down 8" or so beneath the surface of the soil here (which is NOT easy), the clay is pretty much impenetrable though.

If you've read Square Foot Gardening, then biointensive gardening practices just amp it up another notch. Rather than recommending so many plants per square foot like Mel does, Mr. Jeavons recommends a specific amount of plants to be planted in a certain number of square feet and then tells you what spacing you need to achieve that. You aren't planting in linear squares though, and I think it is harder to do it.

Another thing I like about the book is that he shows a layout of actual beds, and shows that this much is potatoes, and then later it comes out and it is corn, or whatever. Seeing it helps visualize it and plant it.

If you get the book, be sure to get the latest revision.

Carol, I think my tomato cages multiple over the winter while we're not watching! I'd love to have a big storage shed devoted purely to my gardening junk. The barn is great, but it is full of everyone's junk and sometimes my junk gets buried under their junk. LOL


    Bookmark   October 17, 2009 at 10:11PM
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I had some more thoughts about this. In years past I have come at the problem from another direction. Since we eat out of the garden all summer--at least 5 months, that only leaves seven months that I have to store food for. I plan on a minimum of one evening meal a week for each veggie that I've frozen--asparagus, spinach and lambsquarters, peas, broccoli, corn, okra. Green beans, both because we like them so much and they are so easy to grow, we eat twice a week. Then just do the math. And add a little for good measure. That means 30-35 pkgs (Quarts when the kids were home, pints now for 2 people) of everything but beans and 50-60 of them. I was in such a habit of putting up a lot that after the kids all left home, I actually had too much stuff left in the freezer when it came time to start putting up again. So I had to scale back--in putting up, not growing.

Now that I don't have help in putting up I am going to focus even more on storage crops, potatoes, sweet potatoes, winter squash. And I do sprout some seeds for winter vitamins. I grow mungbeans every other year which I shell and store dry. We eat those a couple times a month in the winter.

And someday I hope to have a bearing orchard again. We used to have apples and a lovely pie cherry. But the apples all died and the cherry came down in the ice storm.

Of course, knowing how much to put in the freezer and jars (dilly okra and beans and sauerkraut mainly) doesn't tell me how much to plant but we just always plant enough to eat, share and put up. Somehow it all works out.

And after the greenhouse goes up, I hope to extend the salad veggie season on both ends and maybe tomatoes too.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2009 at 7:24PM
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owiebrain(5 MO)

There are so many variables, it's darned near impossible to figure it out. But we have to try anyway, don't we?

At the moment, we don't have near the needed garden area needed because we have to grow soil. We're getting there but it's taking time. This winter, hubby will start building the raised bed in the kitchen garden at last. That should help immensely on the path to "enough".

I hope finally get a pressure canner before next summer. All I put up now is either water bathed, dehydrated, or frozen. A pressure canner (and yet more jars) will give me another option -- one that frees up freezer space.


    Bookmark   October 20, 2009 at 2:43PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


It is a challenge to figure it out, isn't it! It is safe to say that I could grow zero brussels sprouts and my family would be that one is easy to figure out. (I like 'em fresh but no one else cares for them. LOL)

Today we were looking at fresh produce at Central Market in Fort Worth (yes, I was in hog heaven, thank you very much) and Tim sampled a tiny cup of black-eyed peas. Now, several thoughts ran through my mind. First of all, do they "have to" give away samples of black-eyed peas to get people to try them? Secondly, doesn't everyone know what blackeyed peas taste like? LOL Finally, when my dear husband looked at the bag of more-or-less freshly hulled black-eyed peas (maybe a pint of fresh peas in that bag) and saw they were $5.99, I practically purred like a kitten, thinking of all the pint bags of freshly-shelled (then frozen) black-eyed peas in our freezer.....all of which grew right here in our good old Oklahoma soil with no chemicals, etc. I felt smug and content (in a good way, NOT in a conceited 'holier-than-thou-because-we-grow-our-own" way) but more than that I felt grateful that we are able to grow our own and process/preserve them to be eaten later on. It is the most wonderful feeling in the world to be feeding your family from your own garden and to know where your food came from and how it was raised.

I have a pressure canner but have only done BWB stuff this year along with tons of dehydrating and freezing. I go on canning binges....can a lot some years, less in others. With this year's recurring rains, I've put up more food for the 'off-season' than in many prior drought years, and I am really happy about that.

So far, one thing I've learned is that no matter how many beans and peas I plant, we eat them all long before the next gardening season rolls around. So, I am planning on lots more next year. Yesterday I picked Roma beans from the garden...and I don't even remember which variety I have except that they are the bush form and that it was from Franchi Simenti seed, and they are so good that I know I must plant many more of them next year. I can only remember one year in recent memory....and it might have been 2004....where I put up enough beans to get us from one gardening year to the next without running out.

Growing the soil is why new beds take me so long to build too. In the long run, it is worth it of course, but turning clay into great garden loam certainly involves a long commitment! And, yet, I don't know how we could have done it any differently. I have found very few (almost no) spots in Love County that have a nice, rich, humusy sandy loam that is naturally occurring. For most people here, there are three choices: very sandy soil that drains too quickly in dry years and is prone to nematodes, heavy, thick red (but highly fertile) clay like we have here, and caliche clay full of rocks. So, with those three to choose from, I'm glad we have the clay, but I also appreciate our one small band of sand that cuts across the yard. I greow pecan and fruit trees in that band of sandy soil and they love it.

Got your eye on a specific brand of canner? As for jars, I collect them. hee hee I can't walk past jars or lids without wanting more......"just in case". Even if I have plenty of empty jars sitting in storage waiting to be used, I almost have a panic attack when the stores start putting the jars and lids on clearance in the fall. What if I need jars a month or two from now and can't find any? (This has never happened--I always have jars tucked away in the pantry or in a closet, but "what if?" LOL).

I always thought I'd have a smaller garden as time went on and we got older, but now I'm growing enough for 2 families instead of 1, so I'm growing more. (Although, DS and his wife and their daughter don't eat as many veggies as we do, except for french fries and green beans...and salsa.)

My all-time favorite dedicated kitchen garden spot was an 8' x 8' raised bed in which I planted a "Salsa Garden". It was just outside the back door and in it I had tomatoes, onions, peppers, garlic and cilantro. If you had a sudden urge to make salsa, everything was right there. I later planted a few rose bushes in that raised bed and enjoyed that, but I liked it better as a salsa garden.


    Bookmark   October 20, 2009 at 5:22PM
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owiebrain(5 MO)

I'd love to have one of those fancy All-American canners but, unfortunately, my checkbook lives in a reality-based world. Argh. So I'll likely end up with whatever is cheapest at the time. Hubby's been laid off since March with no end in sight so my fancy canner dreams will have to wait. I may or may not live through it (without whining). ;-)


    Bookmark   October 20, 2009 at 7:24PM
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mrsfrodo(z7 OK)

I'm doing my dreaming for next years garden. We're expanding the garden this winter- doubling the size. I'm trying to figure out how much to grow for two adults. How many plants do you guys grow and for how many people of these things?

Brussel Sprouts
Summer Squash (Yellow)

There are other things I am wondering about, but these are the things I am having the most trouble figuring out. I know I will modify after growing them a few years, but it is nice to have a starting point. Thanks Dawn for listing this info. It is helpful. 1 broccoli plant?LOL

Diane- Have you tried freecycle for a canner? I was able to get a great old fashioned reel lawnmower. We were also able to get rid of our old garden shed, when we wanted to replace it with a much bigger one. It was great. We didn't want to tear it down or throw it in a landfill. The person who took it, tore it down and moved the whole thing in about an hour. I really like being able to recyle things I don't need rather than throwing them out. (Less labor is also a great benefit LOL) I bet there are plenty of people with canners who never used them and don't plan on it.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2009 at 10:21PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Diane, Whining is permissible. No where in the Good Gardener's Book of Conduct does it say you cannot whine. Of course, that doesn't mean that whining will help.....

I like Mrs. Frodo's suggestion of Freecycle, and also you might try Craig's List. Instead of just watching the listings and hoping a canner pops up, you might post a message that you're looking for a canner (preferably a fancy, heavy-duty All-American) and are most interested in bartering for it....then if someone contacts you, maybe y'all could work out a trade of some sort.

Mrs. Frodo, I haven't yet reached the point where the food I raise and freeze always gets us all the way to the next harvest, but I'm getting close. Here's what I typically plant for two adults (DH and myself). I try to plant extra of the veggies DS and DDIL eat if space permits, but they are not big veggie eaters except for french fries.:

Broccoli--40 plants in spring, 20 plants in fall

Brussels Sprouts--20 plants in mid-summer for fall harvest

Okra--30 plants in late spring or early summer. This year I harvested from July through about October 20th or so. I probably should have planted 40 so I could have even more in the freezer---we like okra and eat a lot of it. We'll eat it daily while we're harvesting, and freeze all the excess for the off-season.

Cabbage--about a dozen plants and usually divided, so half in spring and half in fall. If you preserve it by making sauerkraut or freezer slaw, you'd probably want to double that. If I plant smaller mini-cabbages, I plant more and how many more depends on how 'mini' they are at maturity.

Fennel--I only grow it for the butterflies, so can't help you here, and he only mentions it briefly in the companion planting section of the book, where he recommends you plant it away from the main garden (mine is in the butterfly bed) because nothing 'likes' to grow near it.

Summer Squash and Zucchini--I usually plant 3 or 4 yellow crookneck plants and 3 or 4 zucchini plants in the spring. If they get hit hard by squash bugs, I'll succession plant new plants to replace the dying ones. We eat a lot when it is fresh, and sometimes I freeze the excess for the off-season depending on how full the freezer is. This year I didn't freeze any because the 2 freezers were filling up....but then we bought another freezer, so next year I may grow twice as much and freeze a lot more. If you aren't going to freeze (or pickle) it, I'd only plant 2 plants of each because you can only eat so much fresh at one time.

I didn't understand the recommendation of 1 broccoli plant for the fall garden either. It just left me completely baffled. He does have a footnote in one of the planting charts (the book is full of amazing charts) that states that you can double your broccoli yield with side shoots and secondary heads. I'll agree with that IF the weather is cooperating. However, if it gets too hot too early, you don't necessarily get the side shoots or secondary heads because they may bolt as soon as they form. He also said he was basing his recomended number of broccoli plants in the planting charts (8 plants in the spring planting and 1 plant in the fall) based on what the average American eats, and his chart indicates the average American eats 5.7 lbs. a year of fresh broccoli, and 2.6 lbs. of frozen broccoli. In our family, we eat a lot more than that. I suspect that in his cooler climate, too, the broccoli plants might make a lot more side shoots, and for a much longer period, than plants do here in our hotter climate.

Hope this info helps.


    Bookmark   November 7, 2009 at 8:16AM
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It SO depends on the soil, the weather, and the variety. Calabrese broccoli didn't produce much for me last spring. DTM just too long. And this fall my Packman plants have buttonheaded because of that "coldest October on record." But in a good year I get 8-10" heads off my broccoli, much bigger than the fresh ones you can buy and each head will make 2-3 meals for 2 people.

And my okra spaced a foot apart in good soil and mulched heavily makes so many side shoots that the harvest is better than double the plants in poor soil would be. I plant a 50 ft row of okra, but give quite a bit away.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2009 at 8:39AM
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mrsfrodo(z7 OK)

LOL Even with the planned garden expansion, I will not have enough space to get close to the numbers you guys are talking about. Hopefully, by pushing the seasons with cold frames I can get closer. I doubt we eat nearly as many veggies as most gardeners, but DH is good about enthusiastically eating anything harvested from the garden.

So next question's:
How do you freeze squash and okra? Can you use them as you would fresh, or do they need different treatment?


    Bookmark   November 9, 2009 at 2:32PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Mrs. Frodo, I don't grow it all at once. I succession plant---for example, planting a new batch of beans about every three weeks, and planting new squash plants about every 6-8 weeks. I also pack things in very tightly--kind of similar to square foot gardening--so not a single ounce of space is wasted.

To freeze summer squash: Wash skins well, dry, and slice, shred or cube. Blanch for 2-3 minutes in either boiling water or by steam blanching. Drain. Pack into freezer containers or bags, label and store. Alternately, you can shred zucchini and use it in zucchini bread, muffins, cookies or cake and then freeze the baked goods.

To freeze okra: Wash, cut or slice if desired or leave whole. Blanch for 2-3 minutes in boiling water, or for 5 minutes if steam blanching, or you can slice the okra and lay it in a single layer on a cookie sheet and oven-blanch it for 7-8 minutes in a 350-degree oven. I like oven-blanching especially for okra I intend to fry later on.

By the way, if you are freezing okra for later frying, you can bread it before your freeze it so all you have to do is remove it from the freezer later and fry it. Or, you can freeze it plain, remove it from the freezer, bread it and then fry it. I usually freeze it plain because I am so busy harvesting/putting up numerous other veggies at the same time. If I wasn't so busy, I'd bread it before freezing so it would be in the freezer in a ready-to-use state. If freezing breaded okra, it is best to lay it on a single layer on a cookie sheet and freeze it that way first, and then place it in freezer bags. That way, it doesn't all freeze in one big blob.

You also can preserve squash or okra by dehydrating or pickling them.


    Bookmark   November 9, 2009 at 3:07PM
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owiebrain(5 MO)

Yep, I've tried Freecycle for a canner and no luck yet. I've not yet tried Craig's List, though. Thanks for the idea!

On the subject of freezing summer squash, I have a friend who was experimenting with that earlier in the summer. I'll find the link to her blog post about it and post it below.


Here is a link that might be useful: Freezing squash

    Bookmark   November 9, 2009 at 8:09PM
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