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Planning a garden to feed a family of two all year

If you push the Garden envelope with freeze protection and indoor seed-starting, then January is the time to plan out the growing year. After all, we'll be putting our first seeds in dirt on February 1!

I keep a separate Spreadsheet each year for my plan and for my actual garden plantings. This technique makes it easy to copy and paste last year's plan into next year's spreadsheet, at which point I take a good hard look at which plantings worked out and which didn't. If I'm smart, I also insert notes into the spreadsheet as the garden year progresses --- simple reminders like "Plant tomatoes inside 3/15 instead of 3/1 next year" make a huge difference nine months later when the time comes to get the my spreadsheet in order. But sometimes I just remember that succession planting summer squash every two weeks was really too much --- once a month would be quite sufficient.

I've uploaded my 2016 plan just in case you want to use it as a jumping-off point for your own garden. (One bed is approximately equal to 15 square feet in the spreadsheet linked to above.) This is for the ambitious gardener who wants to feed two humans on vegetables that nearly entirely come from  your own land for twelve months out of the year, so please do scale back if you're a beginner. (The Weekend Homesteader gives tips on which crops are easy to start with if you've never grown a garden before and on designing a bite-size garden.)

Interestingly, you'll notice from the Square Footage chart to the left that we're slowly but surely scaling back our own garden's planting area. The blue lines are my winter dreams; the purple lines are that year's reality. Since 2013, we've been on a slow downward trend despite the fact that we grew masses of concentrates for the goats last year (meaning our actual harvest was much larger than ever before). That's the beauty of improving soil --- you can grow more food in less space with less elbow grease. On the flip side of the coin, though, if your dirt is impoverished and you haven't had time to bring it back to life yet, you might need to increase the square footage recommended on my chart to feed your own family of two.

This post first appeared on Walden Effect: Homesteading And Simple Living, please read the originial post: here

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Planning a garden to feed a family of two all year


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