Saturday, March 31, 2012

How Much Should You Grow??

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Early spring garden is planted!!

Spring is here, the snow is behind us (fingers crossed) and that means it's time to get out in the dirt and plant a garden.  I am relatively new at the whole gardening thing, so I am not an expert, but I have had some success in my square foot garden.  (If you don't know what square foot gardening is click HERE for more info)  Gardening is just like everything else in the preparedness world, you need to try it before the emergency.  You need to have seeds properly stored and also know how to grow the seeds in your area. 

There are companies selling seeds that have been sealed in #10 cans, and that is a great option if you want a backup plan.  But you need to be purchasing non-hybrid seeds and using them.  You need non-hybrid, or heirloom, seeds or else you won't be able to extract the seeds for the next year's garden.  Storing your seeds in a Mylar bag in the freezer will extend the life of your seeds for years!!!!

Have you ever thought about how much food our ancestors of past had to grow to sustain their families?  They worked to live everyday.  If the day comes when we don't have grocery stores and farms we may need to grow the food our family eats.  No matter how much food storage you may have, it will eventually run out and you'll need to grow your food.  Supplementing my current food storage with fresh garden food is important for learning how to garden, saving money, and eating healthy food. Gardening is food storage and we have been counseled to grow a garden.  I found a great chart on the Amounts of Vegetables To Be Grown & Preserved to feed a family of 4 for 300 days.  (the other 65 days it is assumed you'll be eating fresh food out of the garden and not need a canned option)

The blog where I found this chart is no longer available and I found the information so valuable that I printed it out last year and I am so glad that I did because I wouldn't be able to do that now that it's gone.  

Amounts of Vegetables To Be Grown & Preserved
(For a Family Of 4 Persons)
The information is a starting point for garden planning with home preservation and cooking from scratch 3x's a day. Food preservation needs are individual and no one can determine your family's specific requirements except for you.  The estimates below are based on a 1/2 C serving 4x's a day for 300 days.  The other 65 days the family will eat fresh produce from the garden.  Canning, freezing, dehydration, salting, fermenting, and pickling are all ways to preserve your food.

Type of Veg.      Pounds to Raise      Quarts/Pints to Preserve
Beets                      30lbs                           12 q/24 p
Broccoli                 75lbs                           48 q/96 p
Cabbage                 150lbs                         40 q/80 p
Celery                    75lbs                            30 q/60 p (dehydrate too)
Carrots                   120lbs                          30 q/60 p
Cauliflower            30lbs                            10 q/20 p
Green Beans             175lbs                         85 q/170 p
Green Peas             100lbs                          25 q/50 p
Green Peppers        50lbs                           25 q/ 50p 
Lima Beans            90lbs                           24 q/48 p
Onions                    125lbs                         25 q/50 p
Potatoes                 500lbs                          400lbs dry storage
Pumpkin                40lbs                            16 q/32 p
Spinach                  90lbs                            35 q/70 p
Summer Squash     200lbs                         40 q/80 p
Sweet Corn            150lbs                          40 q/80 p
Tomatoes/whole     250lbs                         100 q/200 p
Winter Squash       200lbs                          40 q/80 p
{Katherine Grossman Granny Miller}

This information really opened my eyes to amount of food I would have to grow to sustain my family.  It is a great starting point but I really hope the time never comes where I will have to grow that much food.  I always romanticized the life of Little House On The Prairie and I wanted to live with Laura Ingalls on her farm, but actually living it would be a reality I don't think I really want to do.
 
I mentioned above that I use the square foot garden system and so far it has been relatively simple and the harvest last year was a great start for me.  
 You can find this book almost anywhere books are sold and it is my garden bible until I get my gardening legs and I know what I am doing. 

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