Agriculture Garden: How much do you need to plant for your family for a year?

Discussion in 'The Green Patch' started by Ganado, Feb 27, 2019.

  1. Ganado

    Ganado Monkey+++

    Gardening has alot elements of choice,
    1) What do you like to eat?
    2) How much do you want to can/freeze/preserve?
    3) How much land do you have?

    This site recommends 100 SF per person
    Growing Enough Food to Feed a Family

    How many SF do you need for your family for your garden for a year?
  2. snake6264

    snake6264 Combat flip flop douchebag

    You can never grow too much food the possibilities are endless
    Motomom34, Dunerunner and UncleMorgan like this.
  3. arleigh

    arleigh Goophy monkey

    Canning need to be calculated into this as well as lean years and failed crops .
    DuxDawg, TnAndy, Motomom34 and 3 others like this.
  4. Wild Trapper

    Wild Trapper Pirate Biker

    I got some garlic growing out there right now.
    Blueberries, Blackberries, red, black and purple raspberries, other fruit trees - kinda dormant.
    Still too cold to plant the garden...
  5. UncleMorgan

    UncleMorgan I like peeling bananas and (occasionally) people.

    Any discussion of square footage would have to consider the productivity of the land.

    Conventional row cropping in the most arid parts of AZ will always yield much less per square foot than Square Foot Gardening in the black mud of the Mississippi delta.

    Likewise one of the main limiters in gardening is the time required to work a garden to produce some specific amount of food.

    If it takes 12 hours of work to meet half your garden needs, doubling the size of your garden won't help.

    Unless you hire help.

    The problem with that is keeping your hired help when TSHTF. Just when you need them the most they have to go take care of their own families.

    For a garden to support a family, it has to be a farm. And everyone in the family has to be doing what farmers do.

    A good farm will produce everything a family needs in the way of food, plus a bit extra for sale or barter. If it's a small farm, all the better.

    A marginal farm will have the 6-year-olds out fishing for catfish to make up the protein shortfall while everyone else farms from dawn to dark.

    A bad farm will have everyone working from dawn to dark, fishing for catfish, and dressing out traveling salesmen.

    Three years ago, we went big on gardening green beans. We ate the last batch a week ago. That year, we did have some other things producing, but not many, and not much.
    DuxDawg, oldawg, Motomom34 and 7 others like this.
  6. Dunerunner

    Dunerunner Brewery Monkey Moderator

    There is a definite lack of growing season here, so no matter the size of the garden, the lack of solar hours is limiting, even with a greenhouse. Another consideration would be variety in the produce you intend to grow. Having the ability to grow a variety of vegetables and fruits will nutritionally augment your family's diet. Avoiding nutritional deficiencies come SHTF will be a challenge.
  7. duane

    duane Monkey+++

    A garden is not a food source, it is part of a food system. The ones we know will not keep you alive in the long run. Grains store well, furnish a lot of calories, can be used to feed chickens and hogs, rabbits can also supply meat and will require some stored food, hay or dried fodder, milk and cheese are nice, cows need pasture, stored hay, stored grain, etc, then you now need a couple acres of crop and, garden, pasture, grain fields, hay fields, and now need a draft animal, ox, mule, or horse. That puts you up to 10 or so, but what about heat and cooking? Now you need a wood lot. For most of our history, about 20 acres has been minimum to lead a good life style. At the time of the Irish potato famine, the average farm was about 5 acres and the average person was eating several pounds of potatoes a day. When the blight hit, no other crop would furnish enough calories to feed them on that amount of land. Then they had to give up the land to get enough food to get thru the winter, so they were had. With very intensive multiple cropping and fertilizers, natural or artificial, about 1 or 2 acres will keep you alive, beans, corn, potatoes, a small patch of wheat, veggies, etc. No real animal food besides a couple rabbits or chickens. You will not be a happy camper and will have to work many hours a week. We no longer have the system of common land that existed in the past. We can not get our wood from the King's forest or pasture our cattle on the commons. A garden is totally necessary to make our long term storage food use full and to extend it, but I do not see raising rice, sugar cane, pepper, most spices, etc, here in New England
  8. Ganado

    Ganado Monkey+++

    lol you never know what direction a thread it going to take, I wasn't shooting for generic replies, we all know every area and every soil is different.

    I've done it in AZ with two growing seasons fall and winter/spring on 150sf for 3 people. with extra to spare.

    I was trying to generate how much you typically use in your garden.
  9. Wild Trapper

    Wild Trapper Pirate Biker

    Older I get the smaller I have tended to make the garden...s!
  10. Thunder5Ranch

    Thunder5Ranch Monkey+++

    For most people smaller = more. Most people I see do big garden anymore have big patches of 4' tall weeds with some vegetables hiding in there somewhere. You can grow a whole lot of diverse vegetables in a small area. My personal Garden is one of the 30x96 high tunnels and produces more than enough year round to easily feed 50 people their vegetation.Just brought in nantes carrots, asian turnips, spinach, radishes, green onions,collards, broccoli and 3 kinds of lettuce. Inside the tunnel are five 3' wide 90' long raised beds 24" and just keep harvesting and replanting all fall, winter and early spring. Mid April I switch it over to Peppers, Tomatoes, Cucumbers and devote 2 rows to more carrots. Since I quit doing winter markets the second tunnel is just dormant until March. Before the tunnels I did the same thing, lol I built that tunnel over my existing raised beds. All the surplus that tunnel produces over the off season I take to three food pantries once per week, usually 16-18 bushel boxes to each. Weeds ceased to be a problem about 6 years ago, the older a garden whether a tunnel or outside gets the less weeds you have to deal with IF YOU KEEP IT WEED FREE for 3-5 years :)

    Weeds have been a problem this winter because I was sick when the sides needed rolled down to keep mature grass and pita seeds from blowing in and then those seeds grew up and made more seeds and now I have to fight them all back again :( LOL some plants it only takes one weed seed to make thousands more :)

    But what is enough is so subjective to the family or individual. I can around 200 quarts of tomato juice and 50-60 quarts of whole tomatoes per year usually 100-120 quarts of green beans, 100 quarts or so of small taters. Broccili I just blanch and freeze, usually 50 quarts of sweet corn. 100-150 pints of various jams and jellies. 50 quarts of pickled beets (I have a pickled beet fetish :) ) 20-24 quarts of dill pickles and the same number of sweet pickles. I store all of the canned goods in the burried shipping container and it stays in the 50-55 degree range year round, divided it in half with the back half being a high humidity for storing root crops and the front half with racks and low humidity for storing jars, dry beans, herbs, flour, cornmeal sugar etc. The jars stay good for 4-5 years and are regularly checked for funk. but in a cool stable temp they stay sealed and good for longer than what is recommended. anything that hits 5 years whether funky or not gets dumped on a compost pile. ....... Which is usually not very much.

    I see a lot of people grow a lot of stuff and preserve a lot of stuff they don't like and will rarely if ever eat. Total waste of time, energy and resources just to say you have it in a jar on a shelf. Only grow things you and yer family like and will eat regularly. If you eat carrots once a month, why plant 50 feet of carrots............. LEt alone freeze or can 50 quarts of each. Have friend really into the freeze drying and get a chuckle every years when she tosses out hundred of bags of crap she will never eat and then makes more hundreds of bags of crap she will never eat. But hey she loves doing it, just to me the time energy and resources would be better used for something that will be both worth while and enjoyable.

    Where I have a problem is creating a separation of personal and commercial and tend to grow way more than I could use e in the personal garden. Just hard for me to switch thinking from market growing to home use growing. Fortunately what I over grow can be funneled into the commercial side or donated to the pantries. LOL I do the same thing with the hogs, I needed 3 finishing hogs for my personal use this year.......... I have 250 finishing and enough freezer space for maybe 15 so probably 235 are going to the auction block where I might make $50 per head profit VS going to the freezer where there would be $500-$800 per head profit.......... and there I go thinking commercial when I should be thinking personal, or thinking personal when I should be thinking commercial............... or the boars could have just stayed in the boar pen instead of breaking out of their pasture and into the sow and gilt pasture...
    DuxDawg, Motomom34, Ganado and 2 others like this.
  11. TnAndy

    TnAndy Senior Member Founding Member

    We used to grow exclusively outdoor, row type gardens. Have two dedicated spaces for that, each about 7,500sf. Use one each year, keep a cover crop on the other, alternating years. Each is fenced to discourage deer (those few that aren't discouraged end up in jars....which seems to work), have double water source (spring and well water lines) and are supplemented with truck loads of soil building stuff like sand to help with the clay, horse and chicken manures (I get 15-20 ton loads at a time when I do this), cover cropping, and this year, I went heavy with wood chip mulch on one as an experiment.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    (other space is to the left out of camera view)

    Biggest change we made in growing was 4 years ago, built a small (20x36) hoop house with raised beds. THAT has drastically changed our garden use, which now only gets large requirement stuff like corn, white and sweet potatoes. Almost everything else we double or triple crop in that hoop house. Had I know how it would turn out, I would have gone to a larger house, but what we have more than does us....
    DuxDawg, Motomom34, Idahoser and 5 others like this.
  12. oldman11

    oldman11 Monkey+++

    Very clean and well groomed garden,I wish my looked half as good. Did you make the green house from start,also looks very well built. How did you make the “rafter “part,I don’t think that’s the right name. How many hours do you spend working your garden and green house?
    Gator 45/70 likes this.
  13. Thunder5Ranch

    Thunder5Ranch Monkey+++

    Might try some winter raddish for a cover crop to help with the clay. I started using them a couple of years ago in a couple of spots with heavy clay and those giant suckers really made a big difference in the soil quality and not nearly as annoying as the clover or annual grass covers. Dug a couple of the radishes out that were 4"-6" diameter and 2.5 feet long. They pull a lot of nutrients up and release them as they rot and loosen heavier soil up real nice as a bonus. Hogs love to root them as well.
  14. Thunder5Ranch

    Thunder5Ranch Monkey+++

  15. Ganado

    Ganado Monkey+++

    @TnAndy and @Thunder5Ranch you gentlemen post the best ideas and pictures. I really appreciate you both!

    I was use to truck gardening which my mom and grand parents did and as I got older I scaled back and stopped planting as many green beans because we don't eat them much anymore. And started intensive gardening. It takes more planning initially but uses less space and you do have to manage pests and disease more closely.

    @Thunder5Ranch all that tomato juice! I'll bring the vodka and the powder Worchester for the bloody Mary's when the zombie apocalypse arrives. We are drinking at your place cuz you have all the tomato juice!
    Gator 45/70, Thunder5Ranch and TnAndy like this.
  16. TnAndy

    TnAndy Senior Member Founding Member

    Graded a level place in a sloped yard, built an 8" foundation in a U for the outside.

    Used 4" block for the inside of the bed that runs around the U.

    Filled the bed around the U with dirt while it was still easy to get at with the tractor. Wife had plants going before I got the house done. Built 36" high knee wall on both long sides.

    Sawed some 1/2" x 3" strips of white oak on my mill. Built a temporary 'table' of 5 sheets of plywood in the yard, struck an arc with pencil and string wit 20' end points. Screwed wood block to the arc line, put layers of strips along the blocks, screwed and glued the wood arches together.
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Used tractor with little adaptation on front forks to lift arches into place, put on 64" centers, ran 1x4 on inside end to end of house to hold arches in place.

    Studded in back wall, mounted a 4' greenhouse fan

    Wrapped the whole thing in 4yr greenhouse plastic.

    Studded front wall in, built a set of doors

    Laid PEX pipe in the floor for hot water, poured floor.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Built 5' wide center bed, filled as I built by driving tractor in the double doors.

    Added a 48 tube solar hot water collector for hot water in the PEX
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Grew stuff (wife's department)
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Gator 45/70, duane, Motomom34 and 5 others like this.
  17. oldman11

    oldman11 Monkey+++

    TnAndy that’s one mighty fine greenhouse,I just might try and build one myself.
    Gator 45/70 likes this.
  18. Cruisin Sloth

    Cruisin Sloth Special & Slow

    Pictures would be great !
    Gator 45/70 likes this.
  19. TnAndy

    TnAndy Senior Member Founding Member

    I wouldn't go the wood arches experiment, kinda unique, but I'd either buy a bender and bend chain link fence top rail, or just buy a pre-made hoop house.
    duane, DuxDawg, Gator 45/70 and 2 others like this.
  20. Thunder5Ranch

    Thunder5Ranch Monkey+++

    LOL I will rehash some old pics, not walking out there in this ice fer new ones :) Be warned though I have my hands in more crap than a plumber ;) Edit Ooops got a couple of my joke wiring pics, my acting crazy with the bubba teeth in spring hair cut pic and my Little Black dress pic mixed in there LOL.

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    Last edited: Feb 28, 2019
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