View Full Version : How much to grow

03-07-2009, 08:23 AM
I have a family of five. How do I know how many beds and how much to grow for a family of five. Just a few things about my family. Me) over weight but on weight watchers. I need a lot of fruit and veg. Hubsband) little over weight he love salads if you all only new. DD 1) hardly eats any meat. favorite food veg sandwhich. 2) DD thin as a board like pretty much anything. really watches what she eats. 3) Son taller than me and my girls only 13 eats all the time. and is gaining weight.
If you all can point me in the right direction.

03-07-2009, 01:22 PM
That's very subjective. However, the rule of thumb in SFG is one 4x4 bed per person for a salad or veggie a day in season. I would say you may want more for your family. Of course, starting small is also recommended. It's all subjective. Good luck.

03-08-2009, 12:25 AM
As Sinfonian stated, there are many variables that come into play... your climate, your soil, the type and varieties of crops you grow, and how much each person actually eats, etc.

Brett Markham in the book "Mini Farming for Self Sufficiency" estimated that a family of 2 adults and one teenager can get all of their vegetables from approximately 700 square feet of growing bed. Averaging the yield of various vegetables, it is approximately 220 lbs per one hundred square feet of raised bed space. A family of 2 adults and 1 teenager is estimated to require 1,368 lbs of vegetables (this does NOT include fruits) per year. So from this you can see how he get's to the 700 square feet of growing bed required to feed this size family. I can vouch that these calculations are correct because I have provided 100% of my families vegetable needs from our garden which was (up until just recently) just slightly more than 700 square feet of growing beds. We have 2 adults and 1 teenage daughter.

If you follow those calculations out - a family of 5 would need approximately 1,000 square feed of growing area for just vegetables. This would be 10 beds measuring 4'X25'. This should give you a rough idea - but the exact amount you need will indeed vary and fruits will also need to be grown but are often incorporated into the landscaping (which is largely where most of ours are located as well).

As Sinfonian suggested, you should start out with a much more modest sized garden and slowly add each year as you gain skills.

03-08-2009, 06:14 AM
We have a family of five as well! What I suggest because everyone has different eating habits. I would write down who eats what and how much and then you know how to grow how much!

03-08-2009, 07:14 AM
new500, I have to agree with what everyone's posted here about the amount of garden space needed. But if I were you, I'd start with the size that I thought I could handle for the first year (smaller) and then have long range plans so that you can add to the garden and increase the size each year. To me, the hardest (and most expensive) part is getting the beds built and then filled with compost and Mel's Mix....after that, the gardening part is a breeze in my opinion. There will be so much that you learn in your first year as you go through the different seasons.

Determine how much area that you have available for a garden (long range plans) and then choose a place to start for this year. If your family eats alot of veggies, then you could start with a 4'x8' bed for each family member (or the equivalent garden space of 4'x8' x 5 family members = 160 sq ft). You'd be surprised how much produce you can harvest from an area that size. And that's a pretty big garden once you start building it!!! Read about succession planting (Sinfonian is really good at this!). Also when you plant an area, you should already have plans for what you'll plant in that square when you harvest the first -- don't leave empty squares.

And one of the most important things (in my opinion), when planning your garden, take a look at Patti's videos. You'll notice that all of her gardens are the same size. That is so important because her trellises, hoop covers, chicken tractors, etc are all interchangable from raised bed to raised bed. If I had mine to do over again, I would have my raised beds like this as well (live and learn LOL)

Lastly, ask alot of questions -- and this message board is a great place to do that! :D