Every year, gardeners face one of two situations. One is seen every year when zucchini are planted and if you are a parent, you have heard this statement too often from your kids. “Zucchini again?” The other situation is when the garden does not produce enough produce to get through the season. In the past, knowing how much to plant was simply a guess, but today we have tools that can guide us toward a more appropriate educated deduction.
To use this garden tool to its fullest, you must first understand human nature. First, adults tend to enjoy vegetables more than children. While there are exceptions to this rule, it is a general premise of this tool, and contrary to what children may say, French fries are not a healthy alternative to fresh vegetables.
The second premise that this tool uses is the amount of space an adult needs compared to a child. Adults need 4 square feet of garden space for food served per day. Children, on average, need only 4 square feet per meal per day. What this means is that if you’re only going to harvest for a salad for dinner, you only need a 4-square-foot garden.
To aid in this understanding, let’s create a graph. The left column will be the names of the people you plan to serve. In my example, I am going to use a family of three. The following columns represent individual 4-by-4 garden spaces or 3-by-3 garden spaces for the child.
In this example, Mom is eating a salad for lunch and dinner. This means that you will have two columns marked. The father is only going to eat salad for dinner, so he only needs one column to be marked. The boy is only 5 years old, and in doing so he only needs a revised 3-square-foot garden space.
This family has also decided to give urban farming a try, and in doing so, they need vegetables to preserve for next year. Since every family will benefit from these vegetables, an additional column needs to be marked.
This family wants to donate some fresh produce to a local food bank. In doing so, they decide to grow an additional 4 by 4 garden space for their food donation.
Once the needs of the family have been verified in the table, it is a simple process by which the verifications are added. Then the number of controls is multiplied by the size of the garden space. This number is the number of square feet you will need to meet the needs of this family.
If you are using the square foot garden method, just take the number you came up with and the time. This will give you the total number of plants you need for the season, which includes cold or Cole crops and warm season.
Having an idea of how much you need for a season will save on your budget, reduce waste, and allow you to plan for the entire season. Once you have this information, you will be ready for the sea of seed catalogs that will fill your mailbox.
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