Vegetable Garden Planning How Much is Enough?

Friends Drift Inn Gardening
Thinking it Through

Seedlings started in egg cartons

For me, the hardest challenge of the “pre-garden” season is making a workable garden plan that will produce “enough.”

I understand why new gardeners get overwhelmed. Some garden guides give suggestions for how much to plant to eat fresh during the summer. Others offer advice on planning for canning, freezing or other means of food preservation providing food throughout the year. And of course, there is the seed savers guide that instructs formulas for growing enough crop to produce seeds for the next year.

It’s “enough” to make me eat my hat. CHOMP

Knowing how much to Plant

My Red hat avatar with question marks

I’ve been starting tomatoes, eggplants and peppers the past few weeks.
Tomatoes
and peppers are something we never have enough of. If I overplant, I’ll sell the surplus at the Farmers Market.

I anticipate about 100 tomato plants, and about fifty pepper plants. Eggplants are more of a novelty, so about a dozen plants works for me. I know from experience that is right for us. But what is right for me may be upside down and backwards for you.
    

Here’s a rough idea of how much to expect per plant

Tomatoes

Determinate Varieties like Romas and Rutgers are heavy yielders expect 10-20 per plant
Indeterminates especially heirlooms like Cherokee Purple and Brandywine 3- 5 per plant
Cherry Tomatoes go crazy; I would hazard a guess of about 100 per plant

Peppers

My experience with California Wonders, Cayennes, Hungarian Wax, and Banana Peppers is about 10 per plant if the season is not cut short by early frost. Remember, hot peppers take longer to reach the “red” stage, so they may not produce as heavily as sweet peppers harvested while still green.

Eggplants If I get 2 per plant I feel vindicated! Giggles

Summer Squash, Zucchini, and Cucumbers

On a bad year, expect summer squash and zucchini to produce 10 per plant. In good years more like 3 dozen per plant. Stagger plantings or you will be overrun!

Cucumbers the bane of my garden, they never do well. One plant will produce 10 to 15 fruits; if the weather cooperates you should do better more like 24 per plant.

Winter Squash and Pumpkins

Expect six per plant. Obviously, 6 acorn squash is not very many….but 6 Musquee de Provence Pumpkins….well that’s a lot of pumpkin! Giggles

Melons are tough to predict.

Anywhere from 1 to 4 is normal. I’ve had good luck with cantaloupes….but lately watermelons have been a huge disappointment. Go figure.

Happy Growing!

More Friends Drift Inn Gardening

Heirloom Gardening in a Big Red Hat
Of Hoops, High Tunnels, and Stink Bugs Spring Gardening
Basil Herb Gardening in Container or not?
Zucchini and Summer Squash 2011 Garden Picks

3 Pumpkins for Your Garden Long Season Growing
Beans There and Done That Growing Beans

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About Joyce

Joyce Friend Pinson is a regional farm-to-table columnist for the Appalachian-News Express. She is a local television host. Her column show and blog, Friends Drift Inn, explores food, gardening, and real life farm-to-table stories from the perspective of a baby boomer in Appalachia. Joyce has a background in agriculture, media, and small business. Joyce is an heirloom gardening addict and home canner. She has a penchant for big hats, pointy toed shoes, and bourbon. Along with her husband Charlie, Joyce really does live in a barn where they ballroom dance. And laugh. And cook. And giggle.