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Questions on "how much" from each plant in a garde

Posted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 4:13 am
by tremuloides
Hi Folks,

The question arose today about just how much we can expect to get from our garden as far as edibles go.

We are planning on planting spinach, lettuce (mixed varieties), radishes, tomatoes, a variety of peppers (poblano, bell, thai), some broccoli, strawberries.

We have a 4' x 8' x 16" deep raised bed that will be built in the next day or so.

My family is really new to gardening vegetables and we were wondering just how much can realistically come from our garden.

Something to note, we will be planting Roma Tomatoes in pots on the deck and they will not be in the garden area. Cherry tomatoes will also be done in this fashion.

Peppers will probably go in an in-ground garden about 3' x 6' area.

We would love to grow cucumbers but are aware that they need to be trellised fairly high according to some websites we have seen.

Our goal....lofty one I am to be able to make some tomato sauces for use over the winter months (keeping fingers crossed).

Thanks for the help.....trying to figure out how to plant things in the raised bed and just about everything else is quite daunting!

Posted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 12:15 pm
by rainbowgardener
How can we tell you what your yield will be when you haven't said how many plants, etc. Did I read it right that the total garden space you are talking about is one 4x8' bed and one 3x6' bed?

"We are planning on planting spinach, lettuce (mixed varieties), radishes, tomatoes, a variety of peppers (poblano, bell, thai), some broccoli, strawberries. "

That's an ambitious plan for that much space and starting a little late for some of it.

If you start really early you can plant the spinach, lettuce, radishes, broccoli in late winter. Then later, plant the tomatoes in with them. The tomatoes provide some shade for them when the weather warms up, and then by the time the tomato plants are getting big and need the room, the early stuff is done and can be pulled.

But to leave room to plant your tomato plants, your 8' bed maybe can hold one row of mixed spinach and lettuce and one row of broccoli - which is like 4-5 broccoli plants. And even in Colorado, this would have worked better if your cool weather stuff was in the ground already. If you still want to do the broccoli, I would suggest finding some well started transplants at a good nursery. The spinach and lettuce seed you could still plant now.

I put 5 tomato plants in an 8x4 bed and that is crowding it. For me that gives plenty of tomatoes for eating, but very little left over for canning. If you really want to can tomato sauce, grow determinate varieties. The indeterminates that I grow, produce tomatoes a little at a time all season. The determinates produce most of their crop all at once at the end of the season. You will have fewer tomatoes to eat through the summer, but will have a bunch at once to can.

Your broccoli plants will produce one main head (like you buy in the grocery store) each and then when you cut that, will produce a few small side shoots.

The spinach and lettuce you can just pick leaves from, but once it gets hot, they will bolt and go to seed and be done.

You can probably put 6 pepper plants in your 3x6' bed. Each plant will make maybe 10 - 12 peppers, depending on conditions and how they do. (That's bell peppers. I don't grow hot peppers, but I think they produce more.)

The strawberries are perennials, all the others are annuals. So the strawberries should have their own separate bed or get a strawberry jar planter or two.

Hope this is some help in getting started.

Re: Questions on "how much" from each plant in a g

Posted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 12:51 pm
by nes
tremuloides wrote: We would love to grow cucumbers but are aware that they need to be trellised fairly high according to some websites we have seen.
Nope, you can grow them along the ground :).
It's better to get them up away from predators, staying wet and so you can find them and they don't sneakily get HUGE on you, but I've done both ways.

I would suggest you try some zucchini too, even if you don't think it's something you eat (it wasn't something I ate, now I'm hooked on the stuff!!). They do get quite large & bushy, but they're incredibly easy to grow, and produce tons and tons of food (you'll only want one!).

If you want to save your seeds from your peppers (which is probably the easiest plant to do that from) you'll want to keep any spicy peppers away from them, maybe move them into an ornament garden near enough you can keep any eye on them, but far enough the polinators won't cross them for you. If you don't want to seed save that's not an issue.

Don't hedge your bets on the garden the first year, gardening isn't difficult, but you need to find your own stride with it. Just have fun, and worry about high yields another year :).

Oh, and where are your beans? You gotta have beans! :D
If you're worried about trellising again, you can get bush varieties.

Posted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 1:31 pm
by rainbowgardener
but if it's really just the two beds, there's not room for the cucumbers, squash beans, etc.

If you didn't need 60+ peppers, you could sacrifice a few pepper plants and put a trellis in that bed with room for one cucumber plant or a few bean plants.

Otherwise, you would need to start looking for space to put in more garden beds! :)

Posted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 1:35 pm
by gumbo2176
Rainbow gave you some very good advice. With the size raised bed you will have, you won't have much, if any, to put up for later use.

I grow Jalapeno and Belgian hot wax peppers in my garden and they are pretty prolific. I have 2 of each in my garden now that over wintered and are putting out lots of peppers now. I'll sometime pick a few dozen off the plants. I pickle many of them, use some to make salsa, dry some out or just use them when cooking.

Nes mentioned zucchini, but with the size area you have, you will only get about 4 of those in the entire space. If you were to turn over some soil away from that site and make a couple 3 ft. round circles with small hills, you can plant the zucchini there. Put about 6-8 seeds in a circle about 1 ft. round, when the plants come up, thin out the weaker ones and leave 3 or so to grow. You should get a lot of zucchini and I don't think Squash Vine Borers would be much of a problem for you in Colorado.

Posted: Thu Apr 12, 2012 12:11 am
by stella1751
I grew Poblanos a few years back. They were quite tall, over 5', and produced about 3 to 4 dozen large peppers per plant, maybe more. I didn't count; all I know was they gave me tons of peppers. They were slow to start producing, though. I had almost given up on them ever producing when suddenly they just went crazy!

Posted: Thu Apr 12, 2012 4:27 am
by tremuloides

Great advice folks!!!!

Like I stated this is our first attempt at veggie gardening. Unfortunately we have a pretty short growing season up here (snow forecast this weekend) and temps are still dipping to a bit below freezing here.

I have started the tomatoes already in the growing area downstairs along with my hundreds of flowers that are just in the Cotyledon stage right now.

We are treating this as a learning experience and hopefully we can build upon this first year to figure out what to do next year!

We have ample space to grow veggies but we live in the trees so finding an area that can get good solid sun for hours at a time is pretty tough. If the raised bed I am making comes out like we hope we will probably put one or two more in this year.

The nursery has been really helpful. We REALLY LOVE asparagus but are still trying to find a place to put them...fully realizing that we wont have shoots to eat until the second year and then we have to be careful not to over pick them so that the third year will have a good crop.

Posted: Thu Apr 12, 2012 3:55 pm
by digitS'
You will gain greater personal insight as time goes on, Tremuloides :) .

For a general rule-of-thumb on garden yields, I think this may be of some help:

[url=]Purdue University, Intensive Gardening[/url]