Monday, January 3, 2011

How many plants?

My plan for my garden is to provide enough for my family not only for the gardening/harvest seasons but for the rest of the year. So I wil be planning on a garden large enough to can some of the harvest - my children love fresh vegetables.

Going by the general knowledge available on researching the web, I decided to look at beans. Since I live in an area with a very short growing season, I don't do dried beans, yet. Beans come as bush or pole beans. Bush beans have a shorter time to yield while pole beans take longer. There isn't a whole lot of difference say for Blue Lake - 58 days for bush or 65 days for pole beans. I do bush beans because I have had good experience with them and little with the pole beans due to the high winds in my area.

The productivity seems to be much in favor of pole beans. They yield almost twice as much per plant as a bush bean does. The average given for plant per person on the web is 10 plants. But if you get twice as much from a pole bean as from a bush bean, you need to take this into account. In checking gardening forums I found that one garden said they had a yield of 6.4 lbs of beans from a pole bean plant while the average for a bush bean was 3.33 lbs. If you planted 10 plants per person of the pole beans, with the average serving of 4 ounces (with 16 oz in a pound), you would be able to have beans as a side at 256 meals in a year (calculation would be 10 plants x 6.4 lbs x 4 (4 servings per pound)). If you did it this with bush beans it would come out to 133 meals in a year. So it depends on how much you like beans what you would plant. Green beans are a big favorite in my household, so I would be safe in planting more of the bush beans as I would not have as much to harvest.

Research yields on the variety of seeds you choose for your garden and take this into account when choosing how much to buy and plant.

Here are the general guidelines for plants per person.
10 bean
20 beet
5 broccoli
5 brussel sprout
5 cabbage
3 cantaloupe
20 carrot
5 cauliflower
20 onion
5 pepper
10 potato
20 radish
10 spinach
3 squash
5 tomato
20 turnip


  1. I just sent this to my facebook page. Gillian this is so great! This site will be better for me next year, as this year, I'm still choosing a plot, getting fencing, and looking to get real gardeners instead of empty plots and empty promises! I want to learn how to CAN food too.... another money saver... will you be covering that next fall (after we reap our harvest?) Anyway, I'll stay tuned! ~R

  2. Yes, I plan on doing a lot of canning this fall, buying canning supplies a little at a time, another money saver. So I will go over that when I do start canning (and with a Hutterite colony just down the road, I can always consult them if I don't know the answer!)

  3. Excellent I look forward to it! I want to learn what I "can" ha! I've never done canned before. Thanks for creating this blog, I'll use it often.

  4. Go to the Presto website for complete canning info, use a pressure canner.

  5. looking at the number of plants per person,. how much land, or growing area would be needed to accommodate the growing cycles to have a beneficial result for yearly consumption . minimizing space in a greenhouse environment? just wondering