How to Plan a Family Garden for a Year’s Supply of Food
Learning how to plan a family garden for a year’s supply of food will ensure that you are planting the right things at the right time. I will show you the exact steps I take to plan out my family garden that feeds us for a year. It can be a lot of work for people when they decide to take control of their food supply. However when vegetable gardening is providing your family with high-quality food, you will see that all the hard work was worth it.
Why Plan A Garden?
Before you start planting all of the things, which I have done before, it is a good idea to do some careful planning. This will save you time and energy in the future. Sure, you can throw some seeds in the ground and watch all the plants pop up. However, what are you going to do with those plants once they have matured? If you are going through all the work of planting and maintaining, then you will want the benefits of eating real, homegrown food so you don’t need to go to the grocery store later.
How To Plan A Family Garden For A Year’s Supply Of Food
Firstly, you need to figure out what you want to plant. You might be real excited and want to plant a bunch of tomatoes, but if you’re the only one in your family that likes tomatoes, then you don’t want to plant an entire years worth of tomatoes. Also a mistake I have made in the past.
In order to figure out what plants to plant, I like to go to my pantry and my freezer and see what kinds of foods are in there. I will write down the foods that we have. For instance, tomato sauces, tomato soup, pickles, salsa, applesauce, corn, green beans, black beans, and red kidney beans. Those are all staples in our diet. You want to think about the different varieties of foods you should plant to get enough food for the year’s worth of food for all your family members.
Once you know what kind of foods you eat, it’s time to figure out how much of that food you eat if you are planning on preserving it. I have a goal of preserving as much of our own food as possible.
If you only want to eat fresh foods from your garden, without preserving any, this step will be a lot more easy. You just need to figure out how much you will eat while it is harvest season. Succession planting is a great way to enjoy fresh vegetables all throughout the gardening season.
For the rest of us, this is what to do:
Start with one item from your list of foods you made.
How much of that thing do you eat at one meal when you eat that thing?
How many of those meals do you eat in a week?
Multiply that by 4. For 4 weeks in a month.
Multiply that by 12. For 12 months in a year.
That gives you the amount of food of that item you need in a year.
Whew! That sounds so much more intense than it actually is. Let me give you a real life example from my garden planning.
Tomato sauce. When we use tomato sauce, I usually use one quart of it for a meal. I usually have a meal with tomato sauce in it one time a week. There are four weeks in a month. So that gives me 4 quarts of tomato sauce that I use in a month. Multiply 4 quarts by 12, that gives me 48 quarts of tomato sauce that I will need in a year.
Do this with each food item.
Group like items together. Tomato sauce, pizza sauce, tomato soup, and salsa will all need tomatoes. So, add all the amounts of those things together.
After that, google how much one plant produces on average. Then, it is time to do some division. Divide to see the number of plants you need to plant.
Depending on how much space you have, this could add some problems to your planning. Home gardens are the best way to take control of your food production but not everyone can have a large garden. If that’s the case, there are still good places to grow a lot of food. Community gardens are usually in just about every town.
For all my tomato products, I need 168 quarts to last my family an entire year. You need 3 pounds of tomatoes to make one quart of tomato sauce. A tomato plant averages 10 pounds of tomatoes per plant. Therefore, I can get 3 quarts per plant. If I need 168 quarts, then I need to plant 56 tomato plants.
Starting Your Seeds
Now, it is time to plan out when you need to start your seeds. If you are just buying transplants from a greenhouse, then you can skip this part.
Make your list of all the plants you will need to plant when you first started figuring out how to plan a family garden for a year’s worth of food.
After that, figure out your last average frost date.
Get your seeds out and look on the back of the seed packet. They usually say how many weeks to start them. Write down the date you need to start them on your paper next to the plant.
How To Plan A Family Garden For A Year’s Supply Of Food
That’s it! This takes so time, but in the long run, you won’t be wasting your time planting things that your family doesn’t eat. If you have never gardened before, I wrote an article on how to start a vegetable garden from scratch. That post will go through how to decide on a garden area with good sunlight so I won’t get into that here.
Now, go after it and take control of your food supply this year! Have fun! If you are on instagram, I would love to see your plans! Tag me in pictures of your plan!
Since you will have a year’s worth of food heading your way, it’s time to mentally prepare yourself for the end of the growing season. Because it will be a lot. Canning, dehydrating, freeze drying, or using a root cellar are all great options.
FAQ’s after learning how to plan a family garden for a year’s supply of food:
How big of a garden do I need to feed a family of 4?
Generally speaking, 200 square feet of garden space per person will allow for a harvest that feeds everyone year-round. For an average family of four, plan for an 800 square-feet. A plot that’s 20 feet by 40 feet in size should work.
How do you plan a year-round garden?
Just read this blog post, it will get you where you need to be.
How much should I plant for a year’s supply of food?
Each food will be different for each family. That is why it is important to follow the steps in this blog post. However, you can always google “how many potatoes to plant per person” and it will give you a general guideline for each food.
How big of a garden do I need to be self-sufficient?
This is going to vary, once again. It all depends on your family. Morning Chores has a vegetable garden size calculator which is pretty cool.
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