I’m about to say something very controversial.
Sacrilegious, even. Well, at least in homestead circles.
Like always, a part of me is stoked for spring. STOKED, I tell you.
The seedlings are growing in the basement, and I walk through the dormant garden about once every 3 days dreaming and planning.
But a part of me is (gulp) is entirely OK with the fact I have two more months until we’re really ready to plant.
I heard the collective gasp. Homesteaders aren’t supposed to say things like that, huh? But I just had to let it out.
I do have a really good reason to feel like that, I think. Behind the scenes, The Prairie Homestead blog is undergoing some crazy-exciting changes. Things like a fresh new design, tons of new content and ebooks for you, the cookbook, and several other things that are still under wraps for the time being. 😉
It’s all good stuff, REALLY good stuff, but it’s also super time-consuming… And I’m finding myself hammering away at my desk more than usual in an effort to get as much created/finished/wrapped up before spring hits.
This homestead + blogging gig is a weird thing to juggle sometimes…
Anyway, that doesn’t mean I’m still not excited about the garden going in– it just has to be relegated to the back-burner of my brain at the moment. Oh, and that reminds me– I got some soil testing results back this week. I’ll share those next week– it was super interesting! Update: here’s my info on what I learned from testing my soil!
One the aspects I struggle with each year before we start planting is how much I need to plant per person to feed my family for the year. There’s always an element of uncertainty there for me, and it feels like a lot of the time I miss the mark but either planting way too much, or not nearly enough.
I’ve wanted to do a post summarizing planting amounts for a while now, and we finally got it put together for you. I’m hoping this will help to eliminate some of that pre-planting anxiety we all experience when we’re feverishly mapping out seeds and rows!
The tricky thing about this topic of how much to plant per person in the garden is that it’s pretty subjective and there are plenty of variables involved. The information in this post is meant to be a rough starting point, and then you can tailor your exact garden plan depending on your preferences, preservation plans, and garden space.
Six Factors to Consider While Planning How Much to Plant Per Person:
What does my family like to eat?
The best tip for gardening: make sure you are growing the foods you like to eat, not just things you think you should plant because all the homesteaders on Instagram are doing it. Obviously, if your family HATES onions, you might not grow them at all, or, maybe instead of 15-20 onion plants per person, you might only grow 20 onion plants for the entire family.
What does my family eat in larger quantities
Consider your family favorites and what you most commonly use to make meals for your family. For example, if your family likes beets, but you only eat them at mealtime every once in a while, you will likely want to plant less beets than suggested.
How old is each person in my family?
Obviously, a toddler is going to eat way less per person and a teenager is going to eat everything in your kitchen. Keep the ages of your family members in mind as you create your plan.
Are we eating in season or do we want to preserve excess harvests for later?
If you are planning on preserving specific vegetables for later (especially tomatoes), you will probably want to grow more of that plant than what is suggested below.
What can you grow successfully in your climate and/or garden situation?
If you live in a colder climate, you probably won’t be able to grow sweet potatoes, or, if you do, you might have a pretty small crop compared to hotter climates. This will definitely change how many plants per person you’ll want to grow.
How big is your garden space?
While you might WANT to grow enough of a vegetable for your family’s needs, it might not be possible with the garden space you have. For example, 30 beet plants per person is going to take up lots of room. You might not have the garden space to provide a large supply of beets for a family of four, so weigh how important beets (or whatever) really are in the grand scheme of your family’s regular meals.
(P.S. This was WAY too much lettuce for us. Ahem.)
How Much to Plant Per Person to Feed Your Family
Amounts are based growing enough to preserve and last for an entire year. Adjust as needed depending on your preservation plans and preferences!
Asparagus: 10-15 plants per person
Beans (bush): 10-15 plants per person
Beans (pole): 2-5 plants per person
Beets: 20-30 plants per person
Broccoli: 3-5 plants per person
Brussels Sprouts: 3-5 plants
Cabbage: 2-4 plants per person
Carrots: 20-30 plants per person
Cauliflower: 3-5 plants per person
Celery: 3-5 plants per person
Chard: 3-5 plants per person
Collards: 5 plants per person
Corn: 15-25 plants per person
Cucumbers: 3-5 plants per person
Eggplant: 1-3 plants per person
Garlic: 15-20 plants per person
Greens/Lettuce: 5-6 plants per person
Melons: 2-3 plants per person
Onions: 15-20 plants per person
Peas: 10-20 plants per person
Peppers: 3-5 plants per person
Potatoes: 15-20 plants per person
Radishes: 20-30 plants per person
Squashes: 2-3 plants per person
Sweet Potatoes: 5-10 plants per person
Tomatoes: 3-5 plants per person
Turnips/Rutabagas: 10-20 plants per person
More Tips on How Much to Plant for Your Family
Since writing this post, I’ve thought and pondered even more about how to figure out how much to plant for feeding the family. Check out this video where I talk through an equation that helps me figure out how much to grow.
Other Spring Gardening Posts:
- How We Built Our Raised Beds
- 7 Ways to Improve Garden Soil
- Our DIY Seed Starting System
- Where to Buy Heirloom Seeds
- How to Test Seeds for Viability
- How to Disinfect Seed Trays