- Gardening to Feed Your Family Year-Round
- How Big Should My Vegetable Garden Be?
- How Much Should I Plant?
- How Do I Get the Most from My Garden?
- How Can I Preserve My Harvest?
- How Many Vegetables to Plant?
- How Much Garden Space Do You Need?
- 1. Small kitchen garden or a fully self-reliant garden?
- 2. How many people are you trying to feed?
- 3. Are you eating fresh or preserving your harvest?
- 4. Will you be succession planting?
- 5. Do you plan on having multiple garden beds?
- 6. How many times in the year will you be planting?
- 7. Which vegetable do you like the most?
- 8. Different gardening methods require different garden size
- Was this article helpful?
- How can we improve it?
- We appreciate your helpul feedback!
- Vegetable Garden Size For Family
- How to Grow a Garden for a Family
- Vegetable Garden Size for a Family Per Person
- How Do I Decide How Much to Plant?
- How Much Should I Plant To Feed My Family For A Year?
- Winter Squash: 2 plants per person
- How Do I Make My Summer Harvest Last?
- Growing & Harvesting Okra: How Many Okra Pods Per PLANT?
- How Many Pods Will One Okra Plant Produce Per Day?
- How Many Okra Pods Will One Okra Plant Produce In Its Lifetime, Or During the Growing Season?
- How to Increase Okra Pod Production
Gardening to Feed Your Family Year-Round
Looking to loosen ties to your neighborhood grocery store and harvest all your produce from your own backyard vegetable garden? Making the move from recreational spring and summer gardening to growing a high percentage of your family’s fresh produce year-round requires careful planning, but the end results are well worth the time and effort.
Depending on both the size of your family and your current vegetable garden layout, you may need to add more planting real estate to accommodate the crops you intend to grow. Keep reading for our advice on garden size, which crops to plant, how to get the most from your plot, and how to preserve your extra harvest.
How Big Should My Vegetable Garden Be?
Good question. And the unsatisfying answer is: it depends.
Generally speaking, 200 square feet of garden space per person in your family will allow for a harvest that feeds everyone year-round. So, for an average family of four, plan for an 800 square-foot garden—a plot that is 20 feet by 40 feet in size should do the trick. If your family is larger (or smaller), scale up or down as needed.
Some crops take up more space than others, so if you’re planning to grow Brussels sprouts, asparagus, or large varieties of melons or squash, plan on a few extra square feet.
How Much Should I Plant?
See our list of popular vegetables below for some general guidelines.
Plant more of what you know your family likes to eat, and don’t be afraid to branch out a little into some more exotic varieties even if your household includes some picky eaters. Turning gardening into a family affair often convinces veggie haters to try new foods.
Consider your climate, too. For the most part, we have mild winters here in Georgia, so my family’s garden will produce almost year-round. If you live in a part of the country that experiences especially cold weather, however, you may not be able to depend on a winter harvest and will instead need to can or freeze part of your late-summer yield.
If you plan to preserve any of your harvest for the winter, add a few extra plants of each crop. Here is a list of popular vegetables and an estimate of how many plants to sow for a family of four:
2. Bell peppers – 10 to 15 plants
4. Carrots – 12- to 16-foot-long row
6. Cucumbers – 4 to 6 plants or 2 to 4 vines
9. Lettuce – 20- to 30-foot-long row
12. Spinach – 30- to 40-foot-long row
14. Tomatoes – 5 to 8 plants
How Do I Get the Most from My Garden?
Seasonal yield depends on several factors, including the quality of both the seeds and the soil, proper plant spacing, adequate water, and the weather. You can’t control the weather, but there are a few steps you can take to maximize your garden’s production through the year.
1. Plant again and again.
As soon as one crop is harvested and is no longer producing, pull it out of the garden and plant something else in its place. Stagger plantings by two or three weeks to extend the harvest, and plant different varieties of the same crop that mature at different times. This is known as succession planting. Depending on the length of your growing season, you may have to be strategic in the plants you choose for a second (or even third) planting.
If your second or third planting occurs toward the end of the season, opt for cool-weather crops such as leafy greens, broccoli, or root vegetables. Look for varieties that will grow quickly or that will overwinter and produce in the early spring (if your climate allows).
2. Try intercropping.
Intercropping, or planting crops of varying sizes and growth rates together, is a vegetable garden design technique often used by gardeners who are trying to maximize yield in a small space.
Give it a try in your larger garden. While your Brussels sprout plants are maturing, for instance, make use of the ample space between them to grow a quick crop of radishes or salad greens.
3. Harvest early and consistently.
Gently harvesting produce early typically results in higher yielding plants. Get in the habit of picking vegetables once per day or every couple of days.
4. Grow vegetables suited to your area.
Be mindful of the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map when you select seeds and plants for your garden. If your climate is prone to weather extremes, some less hardy vegetables may simply not be worth the trouble.
Most large state universities have active agricultural extensions that are a wealth of information for new and experienced gardeners. Talk to other gardeners nearby or contact your county extension for advice on tried-and-true crops for your area.
How Can I Preserve My Harvest?
If you anticipate a harsh winter, there are plenty of ways to preserve your harvest to ensure homegrown vegetables through the winter and early spring.
Freezing is the easiest option, and it doesn’t require any special equipment. Freeze diced vegetables and fruits in a single layer on a baking sheet first, and then divide them up into individual serving sizes.
Canning is a time-honored food preservation method, but it does require some know-how to do it safely. Luckily, there are plenty of resources available to teach you what you need to know—you may even be able to find an in-person class near you.
Although a little less common, drying is another simple way to preserve your harvest. Dried foods are lightweight and don’t take up much space, and you won’t have to worry about them if your power goes out for an extended period of time.
Gardening to feed your family year-round is incredibly rewarding. The key is to start early and have a plan in mind. If all goes well, you’ll be enjoying garden-fresh produce until it’s time to plant next spring’s seedlings.
So, you want to start a garden, but not sure how big the garden should be to be able to fully support your family. This is a common question for beginner gardeners or someone who are looking to expand their garden.
The truth is, there is no single correct answer when it comes to deciding vegetable garden size. Some sources say 100 square feet per person is the magic number, but that can’t be right because every family has different needs and preferences when it comes to food. Also, plants vary in size, so it depends on what vegetables you grow.
That is why we created this highly-customizable garden size calculator to help you find the right number. Just input how many members in your family and choose which plants you want to grow and the calculator will tell you how many plants you need to grow and how big your garden should be.
How Many Vegetables to Plant?
|Crops||Harvest Needed/Person (lbs)||Harvest Needed (lbs)||Avg. Yield per 100 feet (lb)||Plants Spacing (in)||Row Length (ft)||Plants Needed|
|Lima Beans (bush)||3||3||25||4||12||36|
|Lima Beans (pole)||3||3||50||16||6||5|
|Snap Beans (bush)||15||15||120||4||13||39|
|Snap Beans (pole)||15||15||150||6||10||20|
How Much Garden Space Do You Need?
To find the ideal size of your vegetable garden, please check the box on plants you want to grow from the list above. We’ll then calculate the required size automatically.
Select at least one plant to get the number.
Disclaimer: The numbers in the table above may not be 100% accurate because vegetable consumption varies by family and the amount of yield for each plant is affected by many factors including soil quality, water, weather, pests/diseases problem, location, etc. Use the calculator only as a rough estimation and adjust the numbers according to your needs.
Now, if you want to have a more accurate estimation, here are the 8 considerations for deciding your vegetable garden size:
1. Small kitchen garden or a fully self-reliant garden?
What’s the purpose of your garden?
Is it just a small kitchen garden to grow fresh food and reduce your shopping budget, or do you want to be fully self-reliant from your garden?
Our calculator assumes the average numbers. It won’t be way off if you’re slightly below or above the average, but if you’re on the extreme sides, you will need to adjust the number accordingly.
If you haven’t started your first garden yet, our best advice is to just use the result from the calculator, it’s usually good enough. Then, increase or decrease the number of plants you grow in the next year depending on the result from your previous year.
2. How many people are you trying to feed?
Obviously, if you are a single person, you won’t need the same size garden as a family of four. And if you are a family of four, you’ll need a smaller garden than a family of six. Which is why we allow you to change the family size in our calculator.
But what might not be obvious is the number of people outside your immediate family that you might need to feed throughout the year.
In our first years of gardening, I didn’t think this part through. I would only consider the people under my roof and failed to realize how frequently my mother-in-law had dinner with us throughout the week and didn’t include her in my calculations. You can guess the rest of the story.
Right now, I support my parents as well as my immediate family. I’ve learned from my previous calculation failures to include them when planning my gardening space.
Other than feeding an extended family, if you entertain or participate in potlucks regularly, you should also take this into consideration when planning your garden. Similarly, if you want to sell some fresh produce for extra income.
3. Are you eating fresh or preserving your harvest?
If you are planning on eating fresh produce straight out of your garden, you won’t need as large of a garden as someone who is planning on preserving the harvest.
Our calculator assumes that you will preserve your harvest and use it throughout the year. And by the way, you should consider preserving your harvest if you’re not yet. You will need more produce, but this allows you to cut groceries budget throughout the year or even eliminate it completely.
Okay, but what if you’re sure not going to preserve some food, and just want some fresh tomatoes for the sandwich every now and then? Well, in that case you don’t need a calculator, just plant one tomato plant.
4. Will you be succession planting?
If you plan on using the same garden space to plant multiple vegetables, you may not need as much space if the growth times are different.
For example, if you want to grow peas and green beans in the same year, you could do this in the same garden bed. Peas can be planted in February (depending on your planting zone), and green beans are planted later and love the nitrogen peas add to the soil. Basically, it’s a good idea to plant green beans after peas in the same space.
When the peas are finished, use the same space to plant green beans. This means you wouldn’t need as large of a garden space because they are grown in succession instead of simultaneously.
If you are working with limited gardening space, consider succession planting to be able to grow more in the space you have.
5. Do you plan on having multiple garden beds?
We grow multiple gardens on our property per season. Instead of using one large garden plot, we break down our needs into multiple gardens.
This doesn’t really have anything to do directly with the total size (or does it?), but it’s something you need to take into consideration when planning your garden.
If you want to separate the bed for each plant, you should get the size needed for each plant on its own by check-marking only one plant from the table above and take a note of the garden size for that one plant. Then repeat the same step for different plants.
There are also other reasons to separate garden beds. For example, I have one garden bed for my family, one for my extended family, and one to sell produce.
You can also have one garden area for plants that are good companions, like the three sisters garden.
All in all, having multiple beds makes organization much easier if you’re planning a large garden, and it’s beneficial in general. But one downside is that you’ll need bigger total area for your garden because of the space between beds.
At the very least, you need 2 feet of space between garden beds, and you’ll likely need more than that just to make it easier for you to manage the plants especially if you have tools or basket with you.
6. How many times in the year will you be planting?
Technically, you can start three different gardens per year.
You might want to grow a spring garden filled with lettuce, spinach, cabbage, and peas. Then a summer garden filled with tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, and peppers. Finally, finish out the year by growing a fall garden with cabbage, squash, and root vegetables.
This is more tiring than having one garden per year or two, which most gardeners do. But if you do it right, you can save a lot of garden area, even if you plan on preserving the harvest.
To calculate the total garden size, you’ll need to do three different calculations, each calculation for plants that you will grow on different planting season and use the largest number of all three. That’s your garden size.
7. Which vegetable do you like the most?
This may seem obvious, but if you like a certain food, you’ll be more likely to eat it more than the average person.
Our calculators use the average amount of vegetables that a person eat. So if you like to eat tomatoes, for example, you might want to plant more tomatoes.
However, one thing to remember is that different plant needs different total area to grow properly.
It could make more sense (financially, at least) to plant smaller plants with high yield even if they’re not your favorite vegetables if you have a limited space and buy your favorite vegetable from the grocery store instead.
Write down all the vegetables you’d like to grow and compare their spacing needs and how well they do in your zone to narrow down what you will grow in your garden.
8. Different gardening methods require different garden size
You may have heard of many different gardening methods. From the traditional garden bed with rows of crops, raised beds, container gardening, keyhole garden, square-foot gardening, to the more advanced methods like hydroponics, aquaponics, or the space-efficient vertical gardening.
These methods have their own set of pros and cons, so go ahead and read the link above to compare each method and find which one is best for you.
As for the calculator in this page, it can be used for the traditional in-ground garden and raised beds, but you’ll have to make adjustments for other gardening methods.
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Vegetable Garden Size For Family
Deciding how large a family vegetable garden will be means you need to take a few things in to consideration. How many members you have in your family, how much your family likes the vegetables you eat and how well you can store the excess vegetable crops can all influence the size of a family vegetable garden.
But, you can make an estimate on what size garden will feed a family so that you can try to plant enough to enjoy all of your favorite vegetables all season long. Let’s look at the what size garden will feed a family.
How to Grow a Garden for a Family
The most important thing to consider when deciding how big your family garden should be is how many people in your family you need to feed. Adults and teens will, of course, eat more vegetables from the garden than children, infants and toddlers. If you know the number of people you need to feed in your family, you’ll have a starting point for how much of any vegetable you need to plant in your family vegetable garden.
The next thing to decide when creating a family vegetable garden is what vegetables you will grow. For more common vegetables, like tomatoes or carrots, you may want to grow larger amounts, but if you are introducing your family to a less common vegetable, like kohlrabi or bok choy, you may want to grow less until your family becomes accustomed to it.
Also, when considering what size garden will feed a family, you also need to consider if you will be planning to serve only fresh vegetables or if you will be setting preserving some to last through fall and winter.
Vegetable Garden Size for a Family Per Person
|Vegetable||Amount Per Person|
|Bok Choy||1-3 plants|
|Brussels Sprouts||2-5 plants|
|Cucumber||1 – 2 plants|
|Leafy Greens||2-7 plants|
|Lettuce, Head||2-5 plants|
|Lettuce, Leaf||5-8 feet|
|Peppers, Bell||3-5 plants|
|Peppers, Chili||1-3 plants|
|Squash, Hard||1-2 plants|
|Squash, Summer||1-3 plants|
How many seeds should you plant in your garden this year? That depends on the size of the harvest you want or need.
Factors such as your location, the weather, pests, soils and the cultivars planted can affect yield. In addition, what you plant in the spring may not yield the size harvest you were planning for at the end of the summer.
Estimating amount of seed and number of plants
The University of Tennessee Extension offers a guide for the amount of seed or the number of plants to plant for 100-foot rows in it’s “Growing Vegetables in Home Gardens” publication. Also included in the document are yield estimates. If your garden rows are shorter or longer than 100 feet, you can divide or multiply the amount of seed appropriately. For instance, if your garden rows are 25-feet long, they are one-fourth of the length of a 100-foot row.
Multiply the amount of recommended seed or number of plants for a 100-foot row by .25 and you will know how much seed or how many plants to plant for a 25-foot row. Seed packets typically are measured by pounds or ounces. 1 lb. equals 16 ounces, so 1 oz. equals 1/16 lb.
- 60 sweet pepper plants are recommended for a 100-foot row, so 15 sweet pepper plants would be needed for a 25-foot row (60 x .25 = 15). This would yield about 12.5 to 18.75 lbs.
Each seed packet has information about planting times, proper planting depth, spacing between seeds and days to maturity.
The University of Tennessee Extension’s publication includes this information, but certain cultivars may have different requirements. Pay attention to these details for each seed you plant.
Louisiana State University College of Agriculture shares expected vegetable garden yields based on the amount of seeds planted. The list also includes expected yields for some berries and melons. These estimates are good for gardeners living in the Deep South, but gardeners in other regions may not experience the same yields.
Number of plants per family
Harvest to Table offers advice for how much to plant, depending on the number of individuals in your family. Here are a few popular home garden vegetables and the number of plants to grow per person:
- Tomatoes: two plants per person
- Bush beans: one 5-foot row per person
- Carrots: one 3-foot row per person
- Lettuce: one 3-foot row per person; sow three times per season
Harvest to Table also describes a method for estimating crop yields in your current year’s garden by measuring a 10-foot section of your garden.
Farm and Dairy’s gardening resources:
Ordering and starting seeds
- Tips for ordering from seed catalogs
- 6 ideas for gardening with kids
- Starting seeds indoors: What you need to know
- Which seeds should I start indoors?
Planning your garden and keeping records
- 10 tips for beginning gardeners
- 3 ways to plan your garden: paper, virtual or template
- Recordkeeping for the garden
- Gardening resolutions for the new year
- How to protect your garden from birds
- How to manage insects in the garden
- How to choose repellents to control garden pests
- How to keep pests out of your garden
Plant, soil and tool care
- Water your vegetable garden for optimal performance
- Sunlight requirements for growing vegetables
- The many faces of mulch: How to choose the best for your lawn and garden
- How to test your garden’s soil
- How to prepare garden soil for spring planting
- How to prepare tools for spring gardening
- How should I arrange the plants in my garden? A guide to companion planting
- How to build a square foot garden
- How to grow a container garden: 10 tips
- How to start a container garden
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*This article has been edited and updated since it’s original posting in 2009.
When you really start thinking about gardening in terms of raising enough food to sustain yourself and your loved ones throughout an entire year, it can be hard to comprehend just how much you should plan on planting. Most of us have no idea what a year’s worth of home-grown food even looks like.
Unfortunately, if you’re looking for a very specific and exact answer, I’m afraid you just won’t find it. Every family’s needs and eating habits are different. And some foods may not grow well in your region, so each of you needs to tailor your garden accordingly. But I do have a list here for you to refer to, and it’s a great starting point.
The average American, according to the USDA, eats over 800 pounds of food a year, over a quarter of which is comprised of fruits and vegetables. This number is reassuring in that it means that you can grow a substantial portion of your foods on your own land. Keep in mind that a lot of these calculations are based on overall food weight, and not only on the parts used (meaning that pieces that are wasted or thrown out are not counted). The plus side to this is that if you have livestock, like pigs or chickens, you can do double-duty by growing a large harvest and feeding the leftovers to your animals…who will then eventually feed you!
As you learn more about what suits your family’s needs you can adjust the amounts appropriately. Keep a garden journal, and do your best to remember to write in it how many plants you planted, how many pounds of food you harvested, and how long it lasted before you ran out. This information will help you gauge for your family’s particular requirements.
This is a very time-consuming process, but definitely worth it if you want to keep accurate records and grow enough food to sustain your family for the entire calendar year.
How Do I Decide How Much to Plant?
While it would be nice to assume that every family has endless time, space, and resources to grow a garden that is massive enough to feed their family, plus the extended family, plus the entire neighborhood…sadly, that of course is not practical. There are several factors you need to consider when deciding how much to plant, and only one of them is the size of your family.
The biggest factor in determining how much you should plant is how much land you have. You can maximize your crops in a small space by using close planting strategies, thick mulching, and other techniques, but the amount of land you have is ultimately going to be a limiting factor.
Roughly 4000 square feet is enough to sustain a person on a vegetarian diet for a year – of course, that’s assuming your family is vegetarian. If you are supplementing your diet with meats, store-bought grains, or dairy, you probably won’t need quite that much space. However, you do need to factor in space for walking paths, storage, watering systems, etc.
How much you plant is also dictated by your weather and growing season. You can’t expect to have a harvest that is as large and bountiful in Maine as it might be in Georgia. Your growing season is shorter and your climate is colder. Additionally, the weather of any given year, plus your soil conditions are going to affect your planting. If your soil is exceptionally rocky, for example, your yields won’t be as high, and you may need to consider raised beds or other spaces to ensure you have enough room to plant all of the crops you need to sustain your family for a year.
The final factor you need to consider is the nature of the plant. For example, artichokes, rhubarb, and asparagus are all perennial plants that sit in the garden for a full season (or more) until they are ready to be harvested. Other crops, like vining plants, need a lot of space to spread out. If you plan your garden strategically, instead of just tossing seeds willy-nilly, you will have more success. You can implement companion planting so that your plants work off of each other, instead of compete with each other for space.
How Much Should I Plant To Feed My Family For A Year?
Here are a few recommendations mostly found in the book Reader’s Digest Back to Basics. Some of these amounts may be way off for your family, but like I said it’s at least a good general idea.
Again, think about the foods your family likes to eat. If you plant fifteen bush bean plants per person, and you have a family of four, that’s sixty bush beans. That’s assuming that everybody in your family enjoys eating bush beans.
These numbers also do not take into account failed plants. These are just the numbers that are required to harvest for your family. If you plant fifteen bush bean plants per person, and four fail to produce fruit, then really you have only planted eleven plants. So figure high.
Consider, too, how much space is needed to grow a certain amount of plants. Some crops, like tomatoes or beans, produce hundreds of fruits on a single plant and will therefore take up less space. Others, like corn, produce only a couple. If you’re short on space and trying to get the most bang for your metaphorical buck, consider only planting crops that have high yields, or perhaps plant more of those items instead.
Whenever possible, grow calorie crops. These crops tend to have a high caloric content per weight. As a society, we have kind of gotten away from calorie crops, but if you’re looking to truly subsist on what you grow on your own property, these plants are the way to grow. These crops store well and have hundreds of uses, making them more versatile than, say, asparagus. The top five calorie crops are beans, squash, wheat, potatoes, and corn.
Artichokes: 1-4 plants per person
Asparagus: about 10-15 plants per person
Beans (Bush): about 15 plants per person
Beans (Lima): about 10-20 plants per person
Beans (Pole): 2-4 poles of beans per person (each pole with the four strongest seedlings growing)
Beets: about 36 plants per person.
Broccoli: 3-5 plants per person
Brussels Sprouts: 3-5 plants per person
Cabbage: 2-3 plants per person
Cantaloupe: figure on about 4 fruits per plant (estimate how much your family would eat)
Carrots: about 100 seeds per person (1/4 oz would be plenty for a family of six)
Cauliflower: 2-3 plants per person
Celeriac: 1-5 plants per person
Celery: 3-8 plants per person
Collards: about 5 plants per person
Corn: start out with 1/2 lb. seeds for the family and adjust as needed
Cucumbers: 3-6 plants per family
Eggplant: 3-6 plants per family
Kale: 1 5’ row per person
Lettuce: 4-5 plants per person
Melons: 2-6 plants per person
Okra: 3-4 plants per person
Onions: 12-15 plants per person
Parsnips: 12-15 plants per person
Peas: about 120 plants per person
Peppers: 3-5 plants per person
Potatoes: 75-200 lbs per person
Pumpkins: 1 plant per person
Radishes: (succession plant these) 2’ per person
Rhubarb: 2-3 crowns per person
Spinach: about 15 plants per person
Summer Squash (including Zucchini): about 10 per family
Sweet Potatoes: about 75 plants per family
Tomatoes: about 20 plants per family
Turnips: about 1/4 lb seeds per family
Watermelon: about 1/2 oz. seeds per family
Winter Squash: 2 plants per person
Winter Squash: 2 plants per person
Consider alternatives to direct-in-ground planting. While it might seem that traditional gardening is the only option, there are dozens of other ways to grow enough vegetables to feed your family – and keep n mind that the planting and growing doesn’t have to stop just because the first frost hits.
First, remember to use your space strategically. Plant early, mid, and late varieties of your crops. Many people don’t realize that several types of crops, like peas, beans, onions, corn, and potatoes have several stages of crops that can help you mitigate the losses due to pests and disease (as the plants will be in different growing stages at all times) and increase your overall yield. This is a great option if you have unpredictable weather, and frequently lose crops due to conditions such as an early or late frost. It also makes harvest time a bit easier for you, because you aren’t harvesting hundreds of pounds of vegetables to preserve all at once.
You can also plant some crops in containers. This is especially useful if you are an urban gardener, or even if you are considering extending your growing season by bringing some plants indoors later. Plant some tomatoes on your deck in a planter, and you’ll be able to bring the plant inside so it continues to produce after the first frost has hit.
Succession planting is another option that is closely related to the latter choice. Some crops, like beets and radishes, grow very quickly. Therefore, as soon as one crop is finished or about to be finished (if you have the space), you can seed another one right away. This will allow you to receive several harvests of the same crop without having to wait until the following season.
Again, gardening doesn’t have to stop just because the snow has started to fall. There are several option sot keep gardening throughout the fall and winter. Greenhouses, hoop houses, and cold frames are a great way to extend your growing season, as well as to protect your crops from unseasonably warm, wet, or cold weather.
If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you might also try an indoor growing system. Many people are having great success using hydroponics systems, which involve growing plants in sand, liquid, or gravel with added nutrients (and absolutely no soil at all!). It’s also easy to grow certain crops indoors. Think of ones that mature quickly, like lettuce, spinach, or herbs, but if you start them early enough you can also get a good crop of tomatoes or even potatoes when grown inside as well.
How Do I Make My Summer Harvest Last?
Again, if you’ve been paying attention, you can easily stretch out your growing season so it doesn’t necessarily have to last past the first frost! However, there are many ways to only grow during the summer months and still enjoy a bountiful harvest that will last you and your family throughout the year.
Get used to preserving your own food. Most foods can be canned, either through the use of a water bath canner or, even more safely, with a pressure canner. Experiment with canning recipes to find one you like. Almost any vegetable is delicious when pickled, and this will give you a great source of nutrients during the colder months.
If you can’t can all of your produce – or don’t necessarily like the taste of all of the different vegetables – another option is to freeze your veggies. Just about anything, with the exception of perhaps lettuce, can be frozen. Use a vacuum sealer to help save space in your refrigerator, as well as to reduce the likelihood that your food will become freezer-burnt. You can also dehydrate some vegetables to make them last a little bit longer outside of cold storage.
If you have a root cellar, this is a great way to store hardier vegetables like squashes, potatoes, carrots, and beets. These vegetables will last for several months when given the right conditions.
Growing your own food, no matter how large or small the quantity, is really an endeavor you should undertake. It’s not just about saving money – you will save a ton of money, but as you’re digging into the soil up to your knuckles you may occasionally question yourself about whether the savings are actually worth it! But growing your own food is about much more than the almighty dollar. You’ll learn a lot about hard work, and about reaping the benefits of your hard work, in the process of growing your own garden. Plus, homegrown vegetables are actually a lot more nutrient-dense than those purchased in the supermarket – an extra win.
Plan ahead so that you have plenty of produce to last you throughout the winter. Most of us are lucky in that we can go grocery shopping if we need to – very few people actually need to rely on their own land to get them through the entire winter. However, growing your own subsistence garden is an amazing experience. To do this, your garden can’t take a backseat to everything else you have going on in your life – you need to put survival first and foremost, and really dedicate some serious time, planning, and dirty work towards getting your garden in tip-top shape.
If you are an experienced gardener, and have a good suggestion for planting amounts, or want to share what works for your family, I’d love to hear from you!
You Might Also Like…
- How To Plant Blueberry Bushes (And Our New Blueberry Patch!)
- How To Start Seeds Indoors (The Easiest Way!)
- Edible Landscaping: Nanking Cherry Bushes
- Jerusalem Artichokes. A Good Survival Crop.
Growing & Harvesting Okra: How Many Okra Pods Per PLANT?
Okra is amazing, especially when its many pods are cut up, battered, and fried.
Okra, in all of its golden, delicious, and tender glory, is also one of the easiest plants to grow on our homestead.
It’s one of the most prolific, too; I begin to dislike okra pods as the season comes to a close, to be honest!
Once you’ve eaten pounds and pounds and pounds of even the most delicious food, you just begin to want for something else.
If you are obsessed with okra, you might be tempted to go a bit overboard with the planting.
After all, what harm could come from having ten extra plants?
DO NOT DO THIS.
For the love of everything, DO NOT underestimate the production of a single plant, especially if you grow this spineless variety!
You think I’m kidding?
Go ahead and plant some extra; and when you’re standing in your kitchen crying because you have three Walmart bags full of okra sitting there, piling up, and your freezer is full of those (once-delicious-but-now-you’re-sick-of-them) heavenly little golden nuggets?
You’ll learn the very same lesson that I learned.
Or maybe it’s because I’m in warm & sunny Zone 7a, where the okra plants don’t fool around when the sun comes out to play….
With all horseplay aside, let’s see just how much okra YOU could expect from YOUR homestead!
And if you have a few minutes to spare and are interested in another extremely prolific veggie for your homestead…
Check out this addicting post of sweet potato harvest YouTube videos!!! These potato reveals will speak for themselves!
How Many Pods Will One Okra Plant Produce Per Day?
Once the season ramps up and you’re beginning to see flowers appearing (big, beautiful, landscaping-worthy flowers!), you know the okra is close behind. Once the plants have put out several flowers, you should begin to see the development of several pods on each plant; and, it will continue to flower, as well.
These plants will grow over 8 feet tall, and they can put out a lot of food! It does so well, it made our list of Must Grow Low Maintenance Garden Vegetables for the busy homesteader! At first, the harvest can be kind of slow until the plants are all producing in unison. Don’t be discouraged, they will become harassive soon enough.
You will probably pick your plants once every two days, sometimes once per day if you live in a hot area (boy, let me tell you, okra plants thrive in heat just like peppers do!).
You can expect between 1 and 4 pods per plant every 2 days, making it roughly 1 to 2 pods per day. If you have 20 plants, you could be picking between 20 and 40 pods per day; I pick mine on the larger side, because the variety I grow does not get tough or woody until the pods reach 6″ in length.
Therefore, I pick around 4″ to 5″ long pods; at that rate, I would have at least 3/4 of a shopping bag (I like to reuse my bags in EVERY way possible) every day with 20 plants. Can you see how this adds up? Now, you must remember; my plants thrive in my native soil, they get lots of sun, really hot temperatures, and adequate rainfall.
They also have MONTHS of productivity after maturing.
How Many Okra Pods Will One Okra Plant Produce In Its Lifetime, Or During the Growing Season?
Okra reaches maturity in 50 to 65 days.
IF you plant your Okra on May 1st, you could expect pods to appear close to harvest around July 5th or earlier.
Now, our last frost date here would give us over 3+ months remaining in the growing season; We’ll be generous, and say that we have exactly 3 months; or twelve weeks of mature okra plants producing pods for us.
Even on the very low end of the spectrum, at one pod per day, that’s a whopping 84 pods.
Don’t quote me on this, but I would estimate that a pod weighs somewhere around 0.07 lb, fresh, if we’re assuming one pod is the equivalent of 1/3 cup raw; using this logic, this low producing plant would give us 5.88 lb of fresh okra in my gardening zone!
If we estimate our okra harvest based upon an average plant, at 3 pods every two days, we ought to get roughly 126 pods, or 8.82 lb!
And, dare we venture into the behemoth producers like I’ve dealt with? With up to 4 pods or more every 2 days? We’re looking at 168 pods, or 11.76 lbs! (I also recommend the later tips for heightened production, I have NOT attempted them yet!)
So, as you could see, regardless of WHERE your okra plants fall on the spectrum, in a warm gardening zone ten measly plants could produce between 59 and 117 POUNDS of OKRA!
If you live in a cooler gardening zone, we’ll cut it back to 1/3 of my estimates, in favor of a VERY short growing season; so between roughly 20 lb and 40 lb of okra across ten plants.
That’s a lot of food in a very small space, but that’s due to the fact that these monstrous plants look like small trees. They are gorgeous and breath taking, even if the backyard becomes a small forest for your family!
How to Increase Okra Pod Production
If you want to truly maximize the amount of okra your plants produce, lop off their tops when they hit 3 feet in height. When you do this, you’re pruning them; encouraging them to branch out. Okra grows along the main stem, and by cutting the stem, it is forced to branch out into several pod-producing limbs.
You should always be prepared to fertilize your okra properly with the right fertilizer, as well. Once blooms begin to appear after their frantic growth, top them up with a bit of organic fertilizer or compost. If you prune them, fertilize them when they’re pruned. This will support the intensive growth of new branches and foliage.
Always pick pods when they reach 4″ in length! By keeping the pods picked, you encourage production. I did say I pick them up to 5″; however, those 5″ pods tend to be 2″ to 3″ long before that day’s harvest, because they grow incredibly fast here! If pods are left to mature, production will slow down because the plant is no longer being preyed upon. It grows pods to protect its seeds, ensuring that the next generation has a shot at survival; when you stop picking, the plant has essentially won, and served its purpose.