This question comes to me all the time. My answer…you are gonna hate me…are you ready? It depends.
This question was posed to me this morning by a close friend of mine. She wants to plan for the long term commitment. I only frustrated her, when I gave her the long answer. I have seen figures any where from 16 sq ft per family member to 200 sq ft. None of them worked for me when I was trying to figure it out for myself. I had a 200 square foot intensively planted garden when I had a family of four. That was enough during the salad only months. But not even half enough for the tomato, pepper and squash months.
Now I have 800 square feet and only two in the household to feed (happy dance). I love my kids, but I raised them to be self supporting, wonderful adults-with homes of their own. I see them all the time, and we love each other deeply. But I am only feeding two now. I have fallow beds for growing compost, and I feed my animals heavily from my garden.
Getting back to the question. It is a word problem, not just a math problem. You need to include time and space in that problem (I always hated word problems!). How many different kinds of veggies do you eat? How much of each do you eat? What percentage of those must you grow? Here is the answer for my situation.
I believe that I could raise enough veggies year round for Steve and I with 1oo-150 square feet of intensively planted beds per person. So 200-300 square feet. Remember there are potatoes, corn, eggplant, tomatoes and peppers to make room for (and don’t forget the squash) I may have over figured, but I like that better than eating my words later; because I did not grow enough veggies to keep from being hungry.
So, my advice to you my friend-if you still want me to be your friend after that answer- is plan big-start small-then fill in the blanks as you need too. If you find that you have too much. Share it, feed the animals, can it, and freeze it; until you can back it down.
Done! Next question?