How Much Garden Do You Need to Feed Your Family?

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.

The Long Beds

The Long Beds

The Shorter Beds

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?


About sharinglifesabundance

I am a backyard food producer. I grow 800 square feet of organic vegetables in the desert year round.
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2 Responses to How Much Garden Do You Need to Feed Your Family?

  1. Tiffany Hawkins says:

    Do you see why I haven’t started yet? Too many variables! Let it be known that yes, you WILL use math in “real life”, no matter how much you say you won’t when you’re in school.

    • It is true. The word problems are the most common math that comes into my life. I am good with a calculation, I just can’t turn it into a word problem. Now, what are the dimensions of that bed that you built? Let’s design a custom garden to feed your family a few meals. You need to start somewhere my dear:)

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