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Best bang for buck plantings for 3 4x8 foot beds?

I'm trying to plan what I'll be planting this year. I'm looking to grow veggies that are likely to yield good quantities. Can anyone help me plan what to plant this year? Last year I planted some things like peppers and kohlrabi which took up valuable space but were slow growing and yielded very little.

One half of one bed will be devoted to tomatoes, one half of one will be devoted to lettuces and kale. The rest of the space I always find tough to plan. Half a bed will be peas/beans in the early spring.

Ay ideas please? I'm in New England.


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Green Thumb
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Re: Best bang for buck plantings for 3 4x8 foot beds?

Peas and beans, usually produce great amounts. I tend to have way to many. I buy the bush type green bean.

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Re: Best bang for buck plantings for 3 4x8 foot beds?

It depends on what you like to eat.
Beets 50-70 days (cooler months) Beets and tops
Kale -slow at first but you will get repeat harvests
Spinach, Asian Greens, Swiss Chard
Herbs -Fresh herbs taste better than dried and are more expensive to buy. You don't have to give up any of your valuable garden space. Most herbs will do well in containers and can be brought inside to overwinter.
Zucchini takes up a lot of space but you only need a couple of plants and it is prolific.
Cucumber grows up on a trellis, and you can have many plants in a small footprint. Plant for succession as the cucumbers will only be really productive for about 4- 6 weeks. Do the same with bush beans and lettuce. You need to plan for continuous harvest. Pole beans will also be grown vertically and will give you a longer harvest than bush beans and you can have more plants if they are grown vertically.
If you like eggplant, one or two plants (from transplant) produce more than you can use every 10 days or so and if they are grown in a large container, they don't need to take up space in the garden.
Hot peppers can be grown in containers and produce more than sweet peppers.

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Super Green Thumb
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Re: Best bang for buck plantings for 3 4x8 foot beds?

Second imafan on the swiss chard. It is the most productive thing in my garden - it grows from before the last spring frost all the way through the heat of summer and past the first fall frost. You can just keep taking leaves from it and it just keeps making more.

I don't find peas very high yielding, they are over and done very fast. Potatoes are a pretty good use of space to get actual food. They take a while, but you can start harvesting them as baby "new" potatoes. Celery is another "cut and come again" that keeps producing. Carrots don't take up much room. They are kind of slow, but like the potatoes, you can thin your carrot row by harvesting baby carrots.

Secret to getting a lot from a little space is succession planting. Plant early cold weather crops as early as you can and then replace them with warm weather crops, and then plant the cold weather stuff again in late summer/ early fall.

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Re: Best bang for buck plantings for 3 4x8 foot beds?

I would think that anything that grows on a really long vine, I'm thinking now of butternut, buttercup, hubbard squash or pumpkins would be a good bet if you just planted one or two plants, in say, a one foot or 18 inch square corner of your raised bed. Then, train the vines to go out over the edge and onto the surrounding ground. My squash vines easily can get to 20 feet long, so if you have the room to let them sprawl on the surrounding ground they won't take up much valuable space. Squash give a lot of bang for the buck, and my butternut last all winter. (I mean, once harvested) Only just last week I finished my last butternut from last season that I had stored in my pick up truck!

I finally learned to start planting my butternuts up against my garden fence and train the vines along the fence. Otherwise they'd overtake my whole limited garden space.

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Re: Best bang for buck plantings for 3 4x8 foot beds?

I find some squash and watermelons do not yield a lot of mature fruit for the space they take up. It depends on where you are. Pumpkins, watermelons, cantaloupes, and butternut squash, have very long vines but yield only a handful of mature fruit for me. On the other hand zucchini, scallop and crookneck squash, and gourds give me dozens of fruit.

Potatoes are not a staple for me and relatively cheap to buy so I do not grow them. Celery, I cannot grow. I do grow cutting cerlery and it lasts about two years. Carrots I can and have grown. But I cannot grow enough carrots, onions, or garlic to keep me supplied all year in my small space and they are relatively cheap to buy, so I plant things that I like to eat that are relatively expensive to buy but easy for me to grow.

I grow green onions, eggplant, hot peppers. Many herbs mostly in pots: bay leaves, thyme, sage, basil (in summer), lemon grass, and many kinds of citrus trees in pots.

In the cooler weather I grow beets, lettuce, kale, chard, green onions, parsley. peas and fennel. If I still have room I will grow carrots.

As the weather warms, cucumber, tomato, eggplant, beans, squash/gourd and hot peppers.

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