Vegetables and Fruit forum: Vegetable Garden planning

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Name: Lisa D.
Newport News, VA 23608 (Zone 7b)
aajdec
Mar 27, 2015 8:26 AM CST
I haven't had a large garden in quite a while. This year I have a plot 40 ft x 18 ft. I am trying to decide how many tomato plants, cucumber plants, squash plants etc. to plant. Is there a general rule of thumb of how many to plant? I want to have enough for my family, for sharing, and canning.
Any advice would be much appreciated.
Thank you,
Lisa
Name: Tom Cagle
SE-OH (Zone 6a)
Old, fat, and gardening in OH
Coppice
Mar 27, 2015 9:00 AM CST
You may also want to share your family size.

When mine was a family of four, I wanted something more than 12 tomato plants (trellised) for fresh and cooked from fresh. If canning and freezing was added in, the total number of plants jumps to more than 36. or most of your plot.

Corn could be any block shape bigger than 6 by 6 feet for fresh.

On a number of my home-sized gardens size was not enough, so pole beans became much more important.

One or two zuccini was always plenty.
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
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Weedwhacker
Mar 27, 2015 3:52 PM CST
Lisa, Welcome to All Things Plants!

There are a lot of variables involved in planning how much to grow of anything... first, as Tom said, how large your family is. And what you like to eat, how much canning/freezing you actually want to do, what grows well in your area, and so on.

I do disagree that you would need 36 tomato plants for a family of 4, though... I think half that amount would likely be more than plenty (again, however, depending on how well they do for you...)

Here are a couple of links with some guidelines:

http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/vegetables/vgen/famil...

http://www.almanac.com/vegetable-garden-planning-for-beginne...

Your county extension service may also have some info on what varieties do well there, how much to grow per person, and so on. Hope this is helpful! Smiling
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Name: Lisa D.
Newport News, VA 23608 (Zone 7b)
aajdec
Mar 27, 2015 5:27 PM CST
Thank you both for your help. Encouragement goes a long way! :)
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member Celebrating Gardening: 2015 I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the first seed swap Region: United States of America Region: Michigan
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Weedwhacker
Mar 27, 2015 8:35 PM CST
I hope you have a great gardening season, Lisa -- every year seems to be a new "learning curve" for all of us, in one way or another... Rolling my eyes.
"Blessed is he who has learned to laugh at himself, for he shall never cease to be entertained."
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Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
Peonies Ponds Dahlias Canning and food preservation Lilies Permaculture
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Oberon46
Mar 27, 2015 9:00 PM CST
I use Territorial Seeds garden planner. It is $35 per year for the online version. But I can draw out my three raised beds and it tells me how many of each vegie I can plant, irrespective of what I might want. I do the square foot gardening thing but it would would for your row garden also. In other words, it tell me how many of each kind of vegie I can reasonably plant in the area I have. I tended to way over plant which encouraged fungus and rot as the plants were too close together.

On the other hand, just looking up each vegie online will tell you about spacing and such. Then you plant what grows well in your area, and what you like. In the case of tomatoes, which I can't seem to grow in our cooler climate, I would have planted many so I could can them for sauce.
"What a person needs in gardening is a cast iron back with a hinge in it" Charles Dudley Warner (spelling edited by Dinu lol)
Name: Tom
Southern Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
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tveguy3
Mar 28, 2015 4:20 AM CST
The number of tomato plants will be relative to how well they produce in your area. Last year I planted 27 plants. I canned tomatoes until I didn't have shelf room to store any more, and then I froze some and dried some. Gave everyone in the neighborhood a lot of them, took a lot to the food pantry, and fed many to the chickens. At the end of the season, I still had many go to waste. This year I'm not going to can any as I will have plenty left, and I'm planning on only a few tomato plants for fresh eating. That will give me space for some other things. Sandy is right, you learn by doing, and then the next year you make adjustments. I've had gardens for most of my life, and I am still learning a lot. I think the best advice is to not over do it the first year. If it gets to be too much to manage, you can be discouraged. Good luck!
I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion. - Alexander the Great
Name: Lisa D.
Newport News, VA 23608 (Zone 7b)
aajdec
Mar 28, 2015 12:06 PM CST
Thanks so much Sandy. I have been gardening for years (30, last 12 limited to containers) and I couldn't agree with you more! I am always learning something!
Name: Lisa D.
Newport News, VA 23608 (Zone 7b)
aajdec
Mar 28, 2015 12:12 PM CST
Thank you for the advice. I just started using the Southern Exposure garden planner. They are a Virginia based company and understand the growing challenges here. First time using a planner. You are quite right it does make things easier. Still just trying to guess-timate how actual plants I need. As Tom said if it gets hard to manage it will get discouraging. Happy gardening!

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