Christian1971
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How much to plant?

This will be our first garden ever. Still a few months away. Space is not an issue.
I am not sure how much to plant.
My wife, son and I plan to make salsa for us and some family members. Will start by growing seeds indoors. Again we have plenty of space for that indoors as well.
Obviously making sure I don't go overboard. If I havent already in the seed buying department :roll:
I read to plant double what you want because of seed failure and so forth.
Here is my list. Please give me recommendations of how much to plant of each. I am not concerned about a failing yield. If something doesnt grow, so be it. But its fun to try. Hoping this will also preoccupy me from my depression.
Here we go: thunderbolt hybrid pepper, red knight x3 r pepper, socrates x3r hybrid pepper, orange blaze hybrid pepper, king of the north pepper, bananarama hybrid pepper.
Tomatoes: corleone hybrid, tomato lemon tree, golden gem hybrid, green giant, super sweet 100 hybrid, toma verde tomatillo, verde puebla tomatillo, green sausage, sunchocola, orange paruche hybrid.
I live in central minnesota. Appreciate any tips. Happy 2015!!!

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rainbowgardener
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Re: How much to plant?

Those are really hard questions, since it is hard to know how many your family will use and I am not expert enough on all the different varieties to know which are higher yielding etc.

I can give you some rough ballparks on what to expect in the way of production and hopefully that will help you figure out how many plants you want. Pepper plants probably produce a dozen or so peppers each. Pepper plants that produce big, thick walled bell peppers probably a bit less and chili peppers and other smaller pepper plants probably more like two dozen.

Indeterminate tomato plants, you can probably expect 20 pounds of tomatoes or more from one plant. Cherry tomatoes you will get hundreds from one plant. If you want more specifics, you can check your varieties in tatiana's tomato database

https://t.tatianastomatobase.com:88/wiki ... riety_List

it will give you lots of information about the variety, including estimated yields. She has similar db's for other veggies, including peppers

If you don't have experience starting seeds indoors, please do check out our Seed Starting section. It isn't real complicated, but a little bit of information and basic equipment can be the make or break between success and total failure.

I highly recommend you think about planting a few herbs and flowers around or scattered in your tomato and pepper beds. They don't take up much room and they will be protective. Onion sets work well, as well as basil, and flowers that have nectar in tiny florets, such as alyssum, dill, yarrow, tansy, chamomile, feverfew, catnip and buckwheat, lemon balm, tansy, marigold, thyme.

The nectar flowers are very helpful in attracting beneficial insects to your garden. One of these is the tiny non-stinging braconid wasp which is a parasite on the tomato hornworm. Will save you lots of trouble if you have the braconids in your garden! But this only works if you don't spray insecticide in your garden.
Last edited by rainbowgardener on Mon Dec 29, 2014 8:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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digitS'
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Re: How much to plant?

Christian1971, it's not a bad idea to take a shotgun approach to variety selection the first season or two. Gardening environments vary and not all varieties are broadly adaptable. At least, production will vary.

A tomato or pepper with a days-to-maturity rating of 80 or 85 may have trouble producing ripe fruit there in central Minnesota. I know that's true in my garden. Springtime here is cool, cloudy and windy, often. Peppers are always a bit stunted, even if the variety is an early one and they ultimately produce some nice peppers. Incidentally, Italian sweet peppers do better for me than the bells. Habaneros are impossible! The most reliable hot pepper I've found is a hybrid, Super Chili.

Here is a 1 page pdf from Michigan State University. : Vegetable Production. It will give you an idea of yield and what people might be using from their gardens, fresh and out-of-season. Yield numbers are give by 100' rows or 100 sqft. RainbowGardener has given you per plant ideas.

I hope this helps. Best of Luck in your new garden!

Steve
We are each other's harvest; we are each other's business; we are each other's magnitude and bond. ~ Gwendolyn Brooks

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jal_ut
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Re: How much to plant?

Why do want to plant a garden at all? Is it for food production? If so I can tell you that the top 4 food producers in my garden are: Potatoes, beans, squash, and corn.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

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applestar
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Re: How much to plant?

Are you thinking of making fresh salsa or will you also try to make refrigerator or shelf stable bottled salsa? People's perception of "enough" can be different, too. :wink:

Just generally speaking, I think it's a good idea to grow at least two plants of each kind, and if you have the space, start with four of each to allow for seedling loss and accidents. More if you want to have plenty to process and put up. You can make bottled fresh salsa base and add fresh ingredients just before serving for best flavor, too.

Like rainbowgardener said, as long as you are growing these main ingredients, why not plan on growing the rest? I think lime/lemon and salt, pepper might be the only ingredients that are more tricky.

You'll need sweet onions and scallions/green onions. Consensus seems to be buying stated plants for biggest (baseball size or larger) bulbing onions, but buying and planting sets (little dime sized bulbs) in early spring will yield smaller (golfball to cue ball). Extras can be pulled young as green onions.

Cilantro is a must in my recipe, but some people don't like them. They are very easy to grow from seeds sown directly outdoors.

You missed the chance to plant garlic in fall, but you can still get them in the ground as soon as there is a thaw -- even mid winter if opportunity presents. You won't get the max potential divided cloves but may still harvest small cloves or undivided bulb... And you can also eat the garlicky greens.


...for winter fun, try saving generous pyramid shapes from the base of onions and garlic cloves and plant them just below the surface of potting mix in 1 qt or larger containers with drainage holes. Keep them on a sunny windowsill and water every 3 days or so. They'll start growing roots and then greens that can be clipped off for using in omelettes, soups, salads, sandwiches, etc.
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imafan26
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Re: How much to plant?

I do agree with what everyone has said. It would be good to try to estimate how much your family consumes weekly and plan accordingly. With a short growing season, it would be a good idea to do what Jal-ut and Rainbow does and plant more high yielding crops that can be canned or freeze well for the rest of the year. Even starting indoors, you will have a month with not much to harvest from the garden before everything sizes up. If you have enough light indoors you can grow lettuce, cilantro, mint, and some of the herbs indoors for earlier use.

In your Northern climate it is true you not only should start early but use early varieties of tomatoes. Tomatoes are a warm season crop and if you have a short growing season, you may not get an 85 day tomato to produce much. Applestar and Jal-ut have short days and the varieties they grow will probably be best for you. Early girl is an old variety that is early at around 54 days and prolific and tastes o.k. I would try a few early varieties an see which ones do best and taste best for you. You will need to plant a few extra plants for canning and freezing later. They will definitely have to be started indoors but not too early. We had this discussion in another thread. It is hard to time when to plant so you may have to plant some extras every week around your planting times to get transplant the right size to plant out.

https://www.almanac.com/gardening/planti ... inneapolis
https://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/yar ... le-garden/

In your pepper list, most of those are sweet peppers. You might want to add some hotter ones to spice up the salsa. I like tabasco peppers. They have good heat and the plant can survive for years. If you have space to bring it indoors in winter, it will do well in at least a 5-7 gallon pot for about 5 years. They live longer in the ground in my climate 10+ years. bird peppers are very spicy for their size and also in C. frutescens so can live for several years in a pot.
The C. annums would contain the bell peppers, cayenne jalapeno, and anaheim peppers. These are shorter lived. Most bell peppers are gone in less than a year, with the first frost for you, but after two flushes for me. Amazingly I have a Jalapeno that has lasted a couple of years for the first time. I would rather grow serrano or Fresno peppers than Jalapeno for salsa. I have had problems with jalapeno peppers being unstable and varying greatly in their heat. Serrano and Fresno peppers have been more consistent in their heat. They are a little hotter than the average jalapeno. Anaheims are great for stuffing and are only mildly hot. Cayennes are hotter than tobasco and good fresh or dried. Koreans use it to heat up Kim chee, hot peppers and pepper leaves are often added to Asian soups.

If you like Kale it might be a good one to grow since it can be harvested mutiple times and it likes the cold.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: How much to plant?

Since this is your first garden, I would really suggest start small, don't try to grow everything. You can always expand the garden next year if it goes well. But it is much better to start small and have success, than to make a huge garden and be overwhelmed with the tasks, over-run with weeds, diseases and pests and give up the whole thing.

The make or break of your garden will be how well you prepare your soil. The soil in most residential areas is terrible, with most of the topsoil having been scraped off by the house builders. The newer your home, the more likely this is true. So you need to define your garden area and then work hard on improving the soil with compost, mushroom compost, well aged composted manure, chopped up fall leaves and what ever other organic materials you have access to.

If your soil is really bad, like hard clay, I would suggest building raised beds. Then you can just fill those with good soil and not worry so much about what is underneath. Best Wishes!! :)
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jal_ut
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Re: How much to plant?

Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

PaulF
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Re: How much to plant?

For me, the fun of gardening is keeping track of what was done one year so that changes (and later, tweeks) can be done for the next year. I agree to start smaller than you may think you want to. Expanding is easy. I would recommend a journal of some kind to track start dates, harvest information, frost dates, etc. Easier to read what happened rather than trying to remember.

Make gardening fun rather than a chore. Another reason to begin with basics rather than exotics, but then if there is something you really want to try, go for it. If you run short of something you like, plant more next year; too much of something, the same (or have someone or lots of someones in mind to take your extra).

Good luck with your new adventure.
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River
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Re: How much to plant?

Either way it's a constant learning experience which in itself makes it more interesting.
I do agree keeping a log so you can learn what works and what doesn't.

I only wish I had all the room to grow what I wanted. Best of luck
Mobile al zone 8b

Christian1971
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Re: How much to plant?

After more thinking, I decided it best to make a smaller garden. Especially with tomatoes. Would have a bit more control in regards to pests and such. Fencing would be cheaper too.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: How much to plant?

Christian1971 wrote:After more thinking, I decided it best to make a smaller garden. Especially with tomatoes. Would have a bit more control in regards to pests and such. Fencing would be cheaper too.
:clap: :clap: good plan!!
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ButtsBees
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Re: How much to plant?

https://www.motherearthnews.com/organic- ... fzraw.aspx
https://www.motherearthnews.com/organic- ... azraw.aspx
You can grow alot more intensively than row methods and in a small space! https://www.growbiointensive.org/PDF/FarmersHandbook.pdf
The spacing on seed pkts is generally for mechanical farming . No need to waste space ,water and weeding.
find the .PDF here: How to Grow More Vegetables by John Jeavons (5.7MB)https://files.shroomery.org/cms/How%20to ... 202002.pdf
A very readable book and should give you insight to answer your question.
Grow On!

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rainbowgardener
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Re: How much to plant?

Hope you will stay in touch with us as your project goes along. We can help you problem solve on the inevitable difficulties that will crop up - identifying diseases, pests, general failures to thrive and figuring out what to do about them. Tomatoes are the "gateway drug" of gardening, because homegrown tomatoes are so much better than store bought, they are like a different species. But they are not fool proof and are prone to a variety of fungal diseases, hornworms, aphids, borers, etc. Not to mention being loved by many critters including birds, deer, squirrels, etc. The first time you come out in the morning and find that every one of your tomatoes has one bite taken out of it, because the squirrels don't really eat them, just like the juice, you will want a place to deal with the frustration! :) :twisted:
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jal_ut
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Re: How much to plant?

You mentioned having space, yet you gave us no idea of just how big of a plot you plan to plant. How will you work the plot? Just hand tools, hoe, shovel, rake?

You mention peppers and tomatoes. Well these are specialty items. They are not the real food producers in the home garden...... yet more people spend more time and effort messing with tomatoes and peppers trying to get them to produce a crop than any other thing I know of. Starting them early in cups, planters etc. Pruning, staking, fertilizing, and talking to them. It becomes almost ridiculous.......... My idea of growing a garden is toss a seed in the ground and stand back and let it grow. A few seeds of crookneck squash and zucchini squash will make a lot of food with little effort.

Give us an idea how big of plot you want to plant and we can better advise you what is needed.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

Christian1971
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Re: How much to plant?

The purpose for our garden is two fold. One, it is not meant (at this point) to be a major supplier for our dinner table. I have added potatoes to the list, but otherwise it is to see how well I am able to garden. If I am successful, then I would like to increase the garden and its variety. See what crops we like and don't. If somehow it fails, nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Secondly, planning a garden has been very stimulating. Especially with my depression and stressful job, it is a real morale booster. Helping me get thru the winter.
As far as size of garden, I am not totally sure yet. I have decided to make it smaller. I have a dozen tomato varieties, peppers, a couple potatoes, onions, and squash. We get all the sweet corn we want from our neighbor down the road. Looking to make salsa, and just add more veggies to our diet. We grill a lot. I am cutting down on the number of each veggie. Once I get a good idea on size of garden, I will let you know.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: How much to plant?

I suffer from winter blues myself and planning the garden and starting seeds indoors, working with the seedlings and the lights is what gets me through the winter. I'm getting ready to start the first seeds as soon as I can get all my potting soil ingredients together (this week). Looking so forward to having little growing things again!

A dozen tomato varieties doesn't sound real small to me with my city lot :) . Have you told us where you are located? Are you planning to start things from seed or buy transplants? Timing is important, when to start what, when to put what in the ground, makes a big difference to success. Potatoes for example are early and get planted when the forsythias bloom, which is before the last frost (for those of us in cold winter locations). Squash are warm weather plants and can't go in the ground until the soil is well warmed up.

Have fun and keep us posted!!
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Christian1971
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Re: How much to plant?

I live in central minnesota. I plan to start all my seeds indoors beginning of April. Last year most folks didnt plant until mid June if I recall. Windy, raining and very cold last spring. I also ordered a couple dozen different Dahlias. Will start these tubers indoors as well. I have plenty to do. But there is no rush. Will have my neighbor remove the sod with his bobcat. Then I will go in and till.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: How much to plant?

I think you are being a little conservative.

Looks like your 50% last frost date is around mid-May. https://davesgarden.com/guides/freeze-fr ... hp?q=56304

I start my tomato seeds indoors about 6 weeks ahead of my 50% last frost date (which is a month earlier than yours). Peppers I start more like 8 weeks ahead, because they are slower growing. Potatoes get planted as soon as you can work the ground.

But especially if you are planning to till and especially if you have soil that is high in clay, you want to be careful not to till while the soil is wet. Clay soil will clump up then and not be able to be broken down all season.

Incidentally it looks like you are probably in (USDA cold hardiness) zone 4. Brrrr ....
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jal_ut
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Re: How much to plant?

Here you can get 16 foot by 3 foot stock panel fencing. These are heavy wire and quite rigid. Four of these would fence a 16 x16 plot nicely. Do you have a local farm supply store where you might ask about these?

Do you need a fence? I have a large garden and no fence. The wild critters come and go at will. I do put a radio in the corn patch to scare off skunks and raccoons, but have had little trouble otherwise. I do see deer tracks in the area at times though they don't seem to do much damage to the garden. Each area will have its own set of problems. Good luck.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

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rainbowgardener
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Re: How much to plant?

PS re "I plan to start all my seeds indoors beginning of April. " Really you need to learn more about your seeds and their timing and needs. Doesn't work to start everything at the same time. You said dozen tomato varieties, peppers, a couple potatoes, onions, and squash. Potatoes don't transplant and need to be planted outdoors very early (when the forsythia blooms or about a month earlier than your average last frost date). Onions are very slow from seed. I plant the seed in the ground in the fall. To start now, you need onion sets.

Peppers are slower to sprout, grow and fruit than tomatoes, so I start them a week or two earlier. Squash are very fast growing and can't go in the ground until the ground is well warmed. Because they grow so fast, you don't really need to start them indoors, you can just plant them in the ground, when the ground is ready. I do start mine indoors, but they are the last things I plant indoors, just about a week before the average last frost date.

So I start a succession of things indoors, starting from about now and planting more seeds every week or two between now and some time in April. The last things come outside the first of May and I turn the lights off for the season.
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