Gardening can be a real blast. But when you get down on the ground, things can get complicated. The size of your garden and planing of your garden can depend on a variety of different factors. From the size of family to space available, gardens can be small to absolutely enormous. Exactly how big should your garden need be? What items should you consider before your grow? Let’s discuss these questions and help shed light on gardening for newbie farmers.
A General Rule of Thumb
The average family of four needs vegetables and other nutritious plants in their garden for real sustainable food. For vegetables, you have to plant 10′ – 16′ rows of seeds. If your family has a inclination to plant some of your favorite vegetables, you should plan accordingly. Other vegetables with less consumption can be planted in the small spaces that surround those more “needy” crops. Basically, vegetable space boils down to personal preference. Other sustainable plants can be planted alongside the vegetables and grow simultaneously – but keep in mind, the primary consideration is 10′ – 16′ rows of your favorite vegetable.
Planning the Garden Space
The amount of space available can depend on a number of variables. The growing season length, garden vegetables, weather conditions, sunlight availability, etc. Also, the amount of effort you can put in also determines the size of your garden. If you have health issues or physical limitations, you’re going to want to condense your garden down to a small but effective size to streamline the energy you’ll expend while caring for it.
Farming experts advise that a person requires around 4000 square feet of space to sustain himself solely on garden produce alone for an entire year. This can seem a lot, especially in an urban or suburban environment. However, data from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology states that an average American home has 9801 square feet of garden/lawn. This ensures a steady supply of self grown food can be grown right from the backyard!
Supplementing Garden Produce
Although many survivalists, homesteaders, and those in the self-sufficiency movement depend greatly on garden produce, that may not always be the case. For a truly balanced plan, you should consider growing food for smaller periods and then look for alternate sources of nutrition from other sources as well. Storage methods for your harvest is utmost importance as well, but on the other hand, you may need to have plans to rely on other sources such as long term food storage, neighbor garden sharing, raising livestock, hunting, foraging, etc. So make sure that you raise a variety of plants that are easily dried, canned or otherwise stored and also easily grown your garden of around 400 square feet. Using the concept of shared gardening can also give you food variety in your mutual aid groups and throughout the community you chose.
The size, layout and crop selection of your garden also varies depending on your planting habits. The way you cultivate may take up more of your precious garden space compared to other methods. To maximize the space available, you should plant in sufficiently wide rows. Use mesh structure planting for similar vegetables with a distance of 3 feet. This much distance is known to promote canopy growth that is helpful in restricting weed growth. This technique can save precious space where legroom comes at a premium.
The choice of vegetables also greatly affects the garden size. Plants like squash and cucumber take up a lot of space since they have to spread out and climb for optimum growth. On the other hand, some plants take longer to mature than others, meaning they will be there for an entire extended season. So, your space is limited choose vegetables that can grow in denser spaces and grow quickly. Some varieties you might consider: Greens (Spinach, Chard or Kale), Lettuce (Leaf or Head), Cabbage, Tomatoes, Soy Beans, Snap Beans, Lima Beans, Peas, Asparagus, Carrots, Beets, Turnips, Parsnips, Onions, Strawberries or Raspberries.
Happy Prepping and Happy Gardening! – Skip Tanner