What size garden?

Discussion in 'Gardening and Agriculture' started by survivalboy12895, Mar 6, 2010.

  1. survivalboy12895

    survivalboy12895 Active Member

    What size garden do you suggest to feed a single an entire year?
    I live in Minnesota(kinda cold).I will have the entire thing fenced with 6' high,2"x4" mesh fencing.Space is no problem,so alternate methods(raised bed,French intensive,square foot,double dug etc.)would work just as well as standard methods.I was thinking a 20' by 40' standard,or 12 4' by 8' raised beds,to start out,and maybe expand later.What would you suggest?Should I start a bit smaller?Bigger?How big is yours?How many people must it feed?
  2. mosquitomountainman

    mosquitomountainman I invented the internet. :rofl:

    There're a lot of variables to consider. It's usually better to start small and care for it well. You'll get more out of a small, well-cared-for garden than a large one infested with weeds.

    What kind of crops will you plant? In our climate (northwestern, Montana) the only things we can count on are root crops like carrots, potatoes, turnips, onions, etc. and cold/short season crops like peas. For a survival/or self-sufficient garden you'll want to stick with tried and true crops. If you have the space you can plant what we call "second level" crops that just taste better when grown at home.

    We also have raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries planted along with apple and cherry trees. The trees and blue-berries are still young and don't produce much but the strawberries and raspberries provide high yields.

    Think about harvest and storage also. Root crops can usually be stored in a root cellar. It doesn't get much easier than that. We also can a lot of stuff but are doing more dehydrating/drying than we used to. Dried food takes up less space and doesn't have to be protected from freezing.

    The size of your garden will depend upon available space and how much time you have to care for it. We've spent years fertilizing our garden and it produces well now but our ground is about as fertile as the moon in it's natural state.

    We have a six foot fence around our garden with two strands of electric fence at the top and one at the bottom to keep bears out of it. (They'll just climb the fence otherwise.)

    My recommendation is to fence off as large a garden spot as you can but prepare and plant only as much as you can realistically care for. Plant a little more each year. As the soil improves and you keep the weeds down the "older" sections will take less care and time so you will be able to expand your efforts. I'm a big fan of cover crops. Turnips often make good cover crops and may be planted after you harvest the early crop. Plant them thick. They grow quickly and can be eaten at any stage of growth. The tops (greens) and bottoms can be eaten or they can be used as livestock feed. They'll also keep the weeds from invading.

  3. SnakeDoc

    SnakeDoc Well-Known Member

    I concur on the take care of what you've got notion. Most of us lead busy lives. Planting stuff you WILL use and are accustomed to will also help. Spuds can be a nutritious if bland diet if their is nothing else. Generations of my Irisf forebearers will attest to that.
  4. surviving

    surviving Member

    Green house

    This year we built a green house,
    16 x 8 foot.

    Filled it with Humanuer

    Pole beans
    herbs, parsley, basil, oregano

    Its doing very well!!


  5. The_Blob

    The_Blob performing monkey

    I have four acres for planting, of which I plant a different acre (I stagger the planting to extend my harvests) each year, much of which I trade with the couple CSAs around me.

    it is a LOT of work :gaah:
  6. kejmack

    kejmack Texas!!!

    I use raised beds, mulch heavily, and raise food for the 5 of us on 1/4 acre. I use no-till methods. It is very low maintenance and one person can easily care for the whole thing. Plus, because the beds are raised, I can sit on the edge...no bending over rows of veggies. This is important for those of us over 40.
  7. pixieduster

    pixieduster Well-Known Member

    30'x30', plant what we eat. I'm in very southern area so long seasons to plant. Started out with 12'x12'. Feed six of us. 4 being kids. I plant sugar baby watermelon(takes less space and kids love them), roma tomatoes, cucumbers, green beans, carrots, potatoes, squash, eggplant. I don't plant all at once. Sqaush, potatoes and carrots I am planting in a couple days. Taking up the tomatoes(had planty to eat fresh then can the rest), eggplant still producing( only one plant). Green onions are good any time of year and very easy. I like the small red potatoes. Have big pots for the mint, oregano, basil, rosemary, cilantro. Plant what you eat. I'm learning to can everything that produces more then we eat. I'm also trying a few fruit trees; orange, lime, pear, fig. It does become therapy. Lol. I also am learning that mulch is my best friend.
  8. Tank_Girl

    Tank_Girl Well-Known Member

    I've just discovered the "Back to Eden" style of gardening and I have to say I'm hooked.
    Anything that allows you to do minimal work with maximum yield has my vote.
  9. pixieduster

    pixieduster Well-Known Member

    I agree. Have not employed the full technique yet but will be my next project.
  10. Locutus

    Locutus Well-Known Member

    If there are deer in your area, build your fence 8 feet high at a minimum.
  11. kejmack

    kejmack Texas!!!

    When I lived in Virginia, I used electric fence to keep the deer out of the garden.
  12. Locutus

    Locutus Well-Known Member

    Yes, but from what I've heard, unless the fence is at least 8 feet high, an adult deer can jump it clean, without touching it. An electric fence is only a deterrent if an animal must touch the wire in its attempt to get past it.
  13. Catullus

    Catullus Member

    It would depend on what growing zone you are in. I use raised beds and intensively garden a smaller area as opposed to traditional gardening. If you live in a zone able to grow sweet potatoes they are pound for pound one of the most nutritious foods you can grow and provided you have a proper place to store have great shelf life.
  14. rawhide2971

    rawhide2971 Supporting Member

    As a newbie to the site but not to gardening and home canning and growing things to eat the best advise is to start small until you get the hang of things. If you have never had a garden then you have a lot to learn about how much work it will take and you need to learn what your limitations are going to be. Like many others on here I have adopted the raised bed method after watching Square Foot Gardening from old Mel many years ago....but I date myself. I would suggest you start with the stuff you will eat.....and your kids and grands etc and get them involved early so they will learn and help...mine do.....plant fruit trees and learn to can. You don't have to do it all on your own. As for the deer, as an old deer hunter I would bet dollars to donuts that a healthy deer will laugh at your eight foot fence if there is something they want to eat on the other side of it....there are some deterrents, sprays and such, ......just a few thoughts from an old curmudgeon....good luck, we put our first tomato plants of the spring in last week and we are about a week late and its been a cold spring
  15. readytogo

    readytogo ExCommunicated

    Good question.

    Plant not wasted not; big garden means lots of yield ,what to do with all of it after; canning, freezing, bartering ,sales, animal feed ,a lot to think about after harvesting.