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Ozark Lady
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Transition from hobby to sustainable garden

Guys and gals, I need some HELP!
I have always been a hobby gardener.. Just grew what struck my fancy, and what fit into the space that I wanted to claim for gardening.
With prices rising, and income so uncertain, I started looking for things that are in my pantry.
Hmm, tomatoes, corn, beans, peas, sugar, flour, corn meal, spinach, you get the idea.
Well, I made up a database wish list, and got busy ordering. As the seeds arrived, I moved them to a seed on hand data base.
I have been happily entering growing seasons, and needs etc.
But, wait... something is missing...
I have enough seeds to plant 100 acres! But, I can't tend to 100 acres.
and I don't want to grow a bumper crop of one item...
I also don't want to pick beans all season and freeze them, trying to collect enough for a meal.
I know there are alot of variables, I planted 12 tomatoes last summer, and guess what 6 produced one fruit each (heirlloms no less!) and the other 6 (op) went bananas but with only 6 plants, there were none to store for winter.
I want to grow wheat, corn, squash, etc... but how many plants?
To grow enough beans or peas to make a pound takes how many plants?
At least, some minimums and maximums here... I know there are variables, and minimum is zero... killed it... ha ha
I just need some guidelines, that give me: Quantity grown: equals this yield on average, or on maximum...
Does anyone know?
Talk to your plants.... If your plants talk to you... Run!

cynthia_h
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Jon Jeavons knows. Buried in the tables in How to Grow More Vegetables are yields in square feet, pounds and kilograms, for many common veggies, grains, and tree fruits. See whether a local library has a copy of this terrific book before seeking to purchase it. The tables can be slow going, but they will definitely reward your effort.

Cynthia
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9

Venomous_1
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Yeilds

I've found that the best source is your local Ag Extension Office. They usually have a website too. Armed with this info you should be able to determine what quantities you need to plant.

Also, you can stagger planting so you aren't harvesting 50 pounds of green beans, prepping and freezing all at once. WHEW! Been there, done that and it isn't fun.

Finally, go get the Ball Blue Book and consider canning as well.

Hope this helps...Venom in TN

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applestar
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This past season was the first time that I really aimed to grow more than I/we can eat as I harvested. I ended up with more than enough lettuce (what do do with EXTRA lettuce? Ended up cooking them down as pot greens). Extra cabbages that ended up in the freezer, and had some extra peas to freeze (but could've used more), as well as the strawberries and blackberries that the kids got TIRED of eating fresh any more... then came TOMATOES, CUKES, BEANS, potatoes, garlic (that just needed to get hung up to dry), fall sweet potatoes, APPLES, etc. a. I also harvested rice (that I have yet to *process* -- it's way past the time table I set for myself -- so I don't know exactly how much I ended up with.) For the past couple of months, I've been harvesting mushrooms every week and mostly keeping up with eating them up, though I've finally had to admit defeat and started dehydrating them. In fact, I've put all the Oysters on a 1~2 wk rest cycle (But then I just inoculated 2 3-lbs bags of Shiitake and 1 5-lbs bag and 1 1/3-paper towel roll of Oysters, and my one 1/3-paper towel roll is ready to start fruiting soon.... I really have to go and update that mushroom thread :roll: )

But that word *PROCESS* I found out, can become a dirty word. You look askance at the bowls and baskets of tomatoes all over the counter and kitchen table, knowing there's another bucketful waiting to be picked out there. Cukes that are burgeoning on the vines. Beans that I honestly didn't want to look at any more, let alone pick and *PROCESS* (I ended up with some DRY beans -- not enough to cook with, but more than enough for seeds and yes they were OP Heirloom beans -- this year, I'm going to plant OP beans described as 'EXCELLENT flavor green as well as dried' :wink: ). In fact, that's my main goal this year -- to try to focus on good heirlooms that I can keep going year to year without outsourcing for seeds every year.

I learned to hot water bath can, pickle, jam, jelly, freeze, and dehydrate last year. I may graduate to pressure canning this year....

So take my advice -- consider just how much you're ready to harvest and *PROCESS* as well. You may optimize your plantings for maximum yield to find yourself tripping over all your baskets and bushels of bounty. I know there are experienced canners and preservers here on the forum that really do grow to feed their family all year around -- I've learned a lot from them already, and hope to learn more -- I still have so much to learn! :shock: :wink:

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rainbowgardener
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Here's a little chart of how much of the commonest veggies to grow to feed a family of 4:

https://gardening.about.com/od/vegetable1/a/How-Much-Plant_2.htm

Here's another take on the same thing from the dept of horticulture at virginia tech:

https://www.pubs.ext.vt.edu/426/426-331/426-331.pdf

But I don't know if these charts are taking into account having enough left over to can and freeze or not.

Applestar is right, along with the amount of space and plants to grow, you do need to take seriously the labor intensity of doing all the preserving. In good years, I've spent some hot sweaty times in August, which is often peak tomato production here, laboring over a hot stove blanching tomatoes, sterilizing jars, boiling them etc. Really not the most fun thing to be doing on a hot humid August day. Now (having moved from 5 acres to a city lot) I just grow 4 tomato plants, which keeps us in homegrown tomatoes through Thanksgiving (eating the picked green ripened on the window sill ones) but doesn't leave left overs for canning.

And the tomatoes are just one example. I grow a lot of herbs and spend a lot of fall time cleaning all the dried herbs (separating the leaves from stems).

My favorite is freezing. And I tend to freeze finish products -- make the veggies into soups, lasagne, stuffed peppers or whatever. I just make a big batch, we eat some and I freeze the rest. Reduces the volume to freeze and it's cooking I would be doing anyway, just in bigger quantities.

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Ozark Lady
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I have the dehydrating, canning, and freezing down. I can do that fine.
Problem is: I do that with cases that I buy from the fruit stand.
I have only ever grown enough cabbages to make sauerkraut. Everything else is seeds, or fresh eating.
I am fascinated with your mushroom farming applestar... go get your blog or something done. I brought another friend here from another forum, and he wants to know about mushrooms.... so do I. C'mon teacher! ha ha
I can find some quantities in the Ball Blue Book, but that only deals with veggies, meats, milk etc. Not grains.
My folks were farmers, when my daddy planted wheat... he planted wheat... I don't have a tractor and don't want a commercial operation... tee hee I just want to know how much wheat, rye, oats to grow to equal a pound. Yes, I did download the pdf for my state from the dept of agriculture.
I suppose, I can just set up a bed, my usual 4x8 and make one all wheat, one all oats, and one all rye... then get my own stats... surely that will not be a large quantity.. How much rice is a large quantity to grow? How many plants? I have no clue.

My goal is only 25% of my household needs for 2010 so that I can transition from hobby to serious. I am going to be staggering plantings, then if heat kills a crop, I should have another one waiting in the wings.

Many of you will think that I am nuts, but I put shades over my beds, and about 11 am I run out and cover them up, until about 1 pm or until shade will cover the beds for awhile. Seems crazy, but tomatoes, peppers and tobacco were suffering and dying in the heat, with their siesta and shade, they are doing very nicely now. And without the extreme heat stress they are actually: 1- having less bugs, 2- losing less foliage, 3- just plain growing bigger and better, 4- setting more fruits with less disease issues.
I need to add, I have the frames ready to go, but I don't start shading, until plants start stressing from the noon day heat.
If my heat lovers like tomatoes, peppers and tobacco have to be shaded, you can bet any that like cool season are in big trouble.
Mostly, I avoid cool season vegetables or look for alternatives.
What normally grows well for me: squash, tomatoes, peppers, tobacco, sweet potatoes, regular potatoes- red and white, swiss chard, broccoli, cabbage, lettuce, chives, egyptian onions, brussels grow well- but you never get an edible brussel they are too tough, okra will grow sometimes.

I have acid soil, so I am concentrating on working with my soil, and really not wanting to fight with the alkaline crops until I get the others going well. I may try some alkaline crops in planters.
Talk to your plants.... If your plants talk to you... Run!

jmoore
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applestar wrote:I've learned a lot from them already, and hope to learn more -- I still have so much to learn! :shock: :wink:
Hmm. I planted my first garden last season. After this year I think I'll have it all figured out and this gardening thing down. There can't be that much more to know about gardening :lol:

pepper4
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jmoore.. I planted my first garden last year and I learned quite a bit but I know I have alot more to learn :wink:
Bambi

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Ozark Lady
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Okay, I just ordered 3 books online.
2 of them are to replace books lost in house fire. But the third one will tell about grains... growing quantities etc.
I ordered:
Homegrown Whole Grains: Grow, Harvest, and Cook Wheat, Barley, Oats, Rice, Corn and More"
When I previewed it, it does tell quantities to expect from what you plant.
And I replaced: these two
Jeff Ball's 60-Minute Vegetable Garden: Just One Hour a Week for the Most Productive Vegetable Garden Possible"
I love this book, and feel that I have been flying blind without it.
Billy Joe Tatum's Wild Foods Field Guide and Cookbook this one was really written for the Ozarks so maybe not so good elsewhere. But, it is how I identified many wild foods growing all around. A refresher course won't hurt me, and I miss her recipes.
Now to find the Ruth Stout old books that I lost...
Slowly but surely.
Come on guys, there is still room in my peapod (brain) to learn about mushroom growing... tee hee
I did look for good mushroom books, but finances kept me from ordering them... shipping is almost equal to purchase price!
Talk to your plants.... If your plants talk to you... Run!

tedln
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Ozark Lady,

The following link is a vegetable planting guide. It is pretty specific to the zone 7 area where I live in North Texas, but the far right hand column provides probable harvest per 100 ft. of row crop. You should be able to translate the amounts to the gardening system you use.

https://www.dandlfarmandhome.com/store_use/resources/VegetablePlantingGuide.pdf

jmoore,

If you read this post, pm me. I have the yard long bean seeds ready to give you.

Ted
I simply enjoy gardening!

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Farmer Dave
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Growing it

Hi Ozark lady
My best advise is go for it!! Growing your own food is awesome the more the better. My family (we have 6 kids) has been growing about 80% of our food for the last 30 years and it is really a great way to raise kids although now we are really scaling back as the kids are moving out and going to college. My oldest daughter is also homesteading with her family and we hope our other kids will also get back to the land.
I would encourage you to grow as much as you can take care of without too much stress and really check out how well your garden produces. The charts that other people offered look fairly good to me based on my experience but even in my garden with the same varieties it varies from year to year especially for potatoes. Our best feeder crops are potatoes, onions, winter squash, carrots, beets and tomatoes. Corn is a very practical grain to grow. We grow dry corn for grinding and blanch and dry sweet corn for soups. We have a milk cow, and eat her male off spring so we don't grow beans as we don't digest them well and get our protein from our animals. I love beans and would grow them if they loved me.
Growing Wheat and triticale
[img]https://i851.photobucket.com/albums/ab73/1Farmer_Dave/Garden%202009/wheatharvest2.jpg[/img]
Last year our 12 year old suggested we grow wheat and we did, what a job for the hand farmer. We got about 25 lbs out of an area that was 1000 sq ft. We also grew triticale which is an old grain that was created by crossing wheat and Rye. We got 25 lbs of it from an area 250 ft sq ft. It was much more productive. So in the future I would definitely grow tritical it makes great bread and is more nutritious than wheat. We were very sloppy about our harvest and could have gotten much more. If you don't at least have some hand machines it is a big job taking care of it. We bought a fan for winnowing. I would suggest growing grain as something to do some day everyone should do it at least once in a life time. This was my second time the first time we only winnowed out enough for one loaf of bread....... That was before I had kids to help. This year we have 50 lbs and are loving our bread although my kids think were crazy. How much does wheat cost anyway.....They will understand someday. Or maybe we will.....[img]https://i851.photobucket.com/albums/ab73/1Farmer_Dave/Garden%202009/wheatharvest.jpg[/img]
I am raising my family on a permaculture homestead in Northern California. I like to shares my knowledge and passion for organic home gardening.

https://www.family-gardens.com
See you there
Farmer Dave

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applestar
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Super! Can you tell us exactly what was involved in harvesting the triticale (sounds like a no-brainer to me, too) and processing it to flour? I currently only have a small batch grain mill that grinds to only coarse flour, but if I can justify it, I would consider getting a REAL flour mill.... What kind do you have?

(I wonder what my neighbors would say if I turned the front yard into a triticale filed.... 8) Forget neightbors, what would DH say... :wink:)

Still would like to hear the details, though. :D

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Farmer Dave
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grinders

Its about time to go milk the cow and from there farm and garden chores and a little wood working. So I will try to answer your question about growing the grain a little more tomorrow morning.

For hand grinding get a corona they work great and grind as fine as you want it.

We have an alternate energy system and We have a Country Living Grain Mill which you can use by hand but we power with an electric motor (you need to get one that goes slow). Shop around prices vary. I bought mine years ago. It still works great you can few them here---https://countrylivinggrainmills.com/

When I bought it I was stoked but last year I bought my daughters family a Golden Grain Grinder and I am jealous, it was more expensive (although after I bought my motor they were almost the same price)but it works much better and faster, it took about 6 weeks to get it and the prices for these vary between about $500 and $900 so do shop around.
I wish I could justify buying a new one but really mine still works great.
There is one now on ebay
Harvest it--grind it------eat it
I am raising my family on a permaculture homestead in Northern California. I like to shares my knowledge and passion for organic home gardening.

https://www.family-gardens.com
See you there
Farmer Dave

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jal_ut
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If you have some space you can grow loads of food. Corn, beans, squash and potatoes are the top producers for this area. I also grow lots of other things. About 30 varieties.

I have grown wheat too, but on 25 acres and with tractors and a combine. I would not want to harvest and thresh it by hand. It doesn't cost that much to buy a sack of wheat. We do use wheat. I make bread once a week with fresh ground wheat. I highly recommend the use of wheat, but prefer to let the farmer grow it.

I like wheat for a green manure crop. After the early crops are done, plant wheat to later be tilled in.

For most things one packet of seed and a row of 25 feet or whatever the packet will sow, is about right for a family. I sow two 33 foot rows of bush beans and get 50 pounds or so per picking. They yield 3 pickings usually. Yes, it is some work to process them either for freezing, or bottling. I prefer to bottle green beans using a pressure cooker.

Corn is another story. I will have more space in corn each year than the rest of my garden put together. We freeze enough to last for the year, and eat lots fresh, then give it away to whoever wants the remainder. I think I had 21 33 foot rows last year.

Squash is mostly for eating fresh. I do still have some Butternut squash down the basement. Winter squash will keep several months in a dry area.

Potatoes are a big producer and if you have a root cellar, you can have potatoes to eat for nine or ten months. I think you can get at least a pound of potatoes per foot of row planting one set per foot.

I plant a little more than a packet of beans, and peas. I buy the seed bulk and usually get 1/2 pound. I buy a pound of corn seed. I get two packets of carrots and beets.

I always have a surplus of almost everything. I hope this helps.

Oh, BTW I have a good sized plot to plant all this stuff. 7500 sq feet. We get truckloads of produce from it.

If you want lots of peas for the freezer, plant 5 rows 25 feet long and 10 inches apart. Lincoln or Victory freezer are good choices for freezer peas.

Have a grat garden in 2010!
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

tedln
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jal_ut,

Reading your posts, it seems to me you have the ideal garden in the ideal gardening location. At the base, or in the foothills of the mountains, you probably have fertile, loamy soil. At 5000 ft. elevation in zone 4 or 5, you are pretty much guaranteed to have very distinct seasons. I realize you probably can't plant until 4 or 6 weeks after those of us in zone 7 can. When you can plant, you probably don't have to worry about the temperature extremes we face. I have no idea how your location effects the garden pests most of us face. I would guess, if you are isolated from other farms and gardens which contribute to the pest problem in most areas, your problems may be isolated or reduced. In short, I think the Mormons knew what they were doing when they stopped their westward movement and settled in Utah. I do remember the story about the grasshoppers and seagulls though. (I think it was seagulls).

I do have a question though. Your 7500 square feet of garden is essentially a 100' X 75' plot. That is a large plot to water regularly. Do you rely on rain for most of your water or do you have a well. Most urban gardeners using a municipal water supply would face a $200.00 or $300.00 per month water bill for a plot of your size. Water costs alone would prohibit most urban gardeners from gardening for food. It would simply be less expensive to purchase their veggies at the market.

I wish you a great garden in 2010.

Ted
I simply enjoy gardening!

tedln
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Farmer Dave.

As stated "We have an alternate energy system ', would you please educate us a little about your alternate energy system. In this modern world we live in, low cost, available energy is the key to a sustainable life style. What are you doing?

I really like your web page.

Ted
I simply enjoy gardening!

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gixxerific
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Ted I'm sure you know but the urban gardener 'could' plant for food 'if' they had the space. All you would need is a way to catch the rain which could be barrel or any sort of container and really any size. This is really the best water for your garden anyways.
(form "The Green Gardeners Guide) For every inch of rain that falls on a catchment area of 1,000 square feet (the typical size of a roof) approximately 600 gallons of water can be harvested.
This is something you should think about OzarkLady if you plan to go big time, let mother nature water your plants as well as store up her reserves.

I do envy all of you with lots of land and big farm plots. We just moved where we did a few years ago. It is NOT what I wanted but better than where we were. We looked and looked for (at least) 3 acre lots but just couldn't afford it. :( :cry: Heck we couldn't even find one with a wooded lot back lot in our price range. So farm on and and plant something for me please.

tedln
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Dono,

Having a lot of space doesn't answer all the questions or solve all the problems. We have five acres, but I only utilize a small 25' X 25' fenced space for my garden. I think my intent is to see how much product I can produce in a small space. The small garden, well planned; can produce a lot of product at minimal cost in money, time, and labor. That is also why I grow in raised beds. It allows me to control the moisture, soil conditions, weeding, pests, planting, and harvesting much easier and better than row crop gardening.

Ted
I simply enjoy gardening!

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gixxerific
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I hear ya Ted that was just in response to the water cost problem. I try to keep it as efficient as possible myself mean plant tight and get the most out of my small area.



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