Growing your own vegetables is not only wonderful for your own wellbeing and health, but it can be amazing for your family. We all know that overwhelming feeling when you’re walking around the supermarket trying to pick vegetables for the week but there’s barely any left…
It can be stressful, especially when you’re trying to feed your family with healthy, green vegetables every day. But, what if there was a solution? Growing your own vegetables is both cost-effective and better for your health.
Before you can enjoy the benefits of having your own garden full of delicious vegetables you need to know how to plant them. This article will tell you everything you need to start growing your vegetables for your family from how big a space you need to how to avoid wasted harvest.
Grab a cup of tea and let’s begin…
First, you need to think about the size. How much land do you have available? And, how much space do you need to plant enough vegetables for a whole family of four?
As a general rule, you should allocate 200 square feet per person if you want to grow vegetables for a whole year’s worth. Therefore, for a family of four, you want to aim for 800 square feet and a space that’s 20 by 40 feet in size. That should give you enough space for everything!
Even though this is an average size guide for a family of four you might want to plan in a few extra feet depending on what you want to plant. For example, for Brussel sprouts, asparagus, large melons, or squash then you might need a slightly larger plot of land.
However, for the most part, 800 square feet will do the trick.
Pick Vegetables Your Family Like
Every family has its own preferences when it comes to vegetables. No one wants their kids to get into an argument because you don’t have the vegetable they want…
To avoid any family conflict it’s a good idea to ask everyone what their favourite vegetable is in advance. That way, you can put together a concise list of seeds to buy and how long it will take to plant them. Otherwise, you might be left with a lot of wasted vegetables…
Although it’s tempting to buy hundred of seeds and have a variety it might not be realistic to your lifestyle. You have to consider how long you have to grow them and how often you’ll be cooking with the vegetables.
For instance, if you like occasional rhubarb but you don’t eat it in large quantities then maybe you should wait and buy it at a local market. However, if you enjoy spinach most nights of the week then put it at the top of your growing list!
Next, you need to know how many seeds to grow per person.
Here is a table with a number of most common vegetables to grow for your family.
Keep a copy somewhere nearby so you can refer to it in the future when you’re planning your vegetable garden!
|Vegetable||Number of Plants to Grow||Plants for Family of Four||When to Plant|
|Lettuce||5 per person||20||Succession Plant|
|Pepper (sweet)||3 to 5 per person||12-20||Single Planting|
|Potato||5 to 10 per person||20-40||Spring|
|Sweet potato||5 per person||20||Spring and Fall|
|Tomato (cherry)||1 per person||4||Single Planting|
|Garlic||10 to 15 per person||40- 60||Fall|
|Cauliflower||2 to 4 per person||8-16||Spring and Fall|
|Broccoli||2 to 4 per person||8-16||Cool Season Crop|
|Brussels sprout||1 to 2 per person||4-8||Cool Season Crop|
|Leek||10 per person||40||Spring,|
Of course, these are just ten of the most common vegetables for family gardens, you can always grow other vegetables that you prefer. You can try corn, melon, parsnip, or radish whatever you like!
Besides picking your crops to grow you need to also think about the climate you live in. Some vegetables might not grow in your location if the weather is warm or if it’s too cold. Therefore, you should research your area and what vegetables are suitable for your garden.
As this will be a family vegetable garden you’ll want to ensure that everyone has a role in looking after the crops. In addition to this, it’s important to consider the age and lifestyle of your family. Although you might all eat a meal together, this quantity might change.
If you have teenagers, they may start eating more as they grow or they might spend more time out with friends and not want to eat at home. As well as this, your younger children might change their tastes and want a different vegetable.
That’s why choosing a variety that you can harvest and preserve is the best way to keep your produce fresh and useful in your home.
After your crop is ready to be harvested you’ll want to preserve the vegetables so you can make the most of them for a long time. One way you can do this is by freezing your vegetables. Using a refrigerator is a time-tested method for retaining the freshness of your food.
All you need to freeze your vegetables are a few freezer bags or plastic storage boxes. This could be a lifesaver if your kids decide they don’t want the same vegetable, or you make last-minute plans to go out for dinner.
By freezing you can enjoy them later without them spoiling.
Canning is another method of preserving your harvest. Even though it takes more time to carry out it can be worth it if you want to store food outside the freezer. You can find plenty of guides online to help you learn about canning.
Lastly, drying is great for making the most of your crop. The best part about drying food is that it doesn’t take up a lot of space and you don’t need to rely on electricity to keep your refrigerator and freezer running.
All you need is jars and a cupboard for storing.
Preserving your food is an excellent way to keep your food for longer after you’ve harvested it fresh but there are some other tricks you can try to make the most out of your gardening. One of them is, succession planting.
Succession planting is when you remove the plant when it’s harvested and plant something else in its place. If you stagger the planting for two or three weeks you will get the same crop maturing at different times, and thus, more vegetables to eat!
However, the growing time of your crop will obviously depend on your climate and schedule.
Gardening is a fantastic chance to spend time with your family and besides the practical benefits such as saving money and time shopping, growing your own vegetables offer other advantages.
You children will learn the value of nature and it will teach them responsibility. If they can be given a role in charge of watering plants and tending to the crops it will make them feel valued and involved in the family hobby.
Gardening is also eco-friendly and nurtures the idea of looking after your environment. During this time when your gardening you can talk to your kids about science, animals, and even how their day was. When life gets busy, it’s important to have these moments of calm.
Finally, it offers a release from the stress of everyday life and running errands. Watching a plant grow from seed to harvest is a magical experience and it is guaranteed to bring more happiness into your life.
In summary, growing vegetables for your family of four will depend on many factors such as climate, personal taste, and what seeds you have available in your area. That being said, there are many options to choose from on our list so you won’t be short for suggestions!
After you’ve decided on your vegetables you need to plan your garden and allocate time to look after your crops. You can even set up a family schedule so everyone has a responsibility to the crops.
That’s everything on growing vegetables for your family. Happy Planting!