How Much Should You Plant In Your Garden for a Years Worth of Food for Your Family

How Much Should You Plant In Your Garden for a Years Worth of Food for Your Family-2Every year I go through the same thing and ask myself the same question: “how much should I plant in our garden to supply my family with enough food for the winter?” Are you trying to figure out how much you will need too? Well, I’ve gathered up some of my favorite resources and I’m hoping to break it all down for you. So, you can take the guess work out of your garden planning and spend more time actually gardening.

If you are new to My Happy Homestead you can ‘meet our family here“. We have not always live in the country; in fact, most of our lives we have  lived in the city. So, growing all of our own food was not really an option in the past: although, we certainly did the best we could with what resources we had available and, I would highly encourage you to do the same.

We had strawberry gardens, a raspberry garden, a small scale garden, and picked local seasonally ripe food from area farms whenever possible. We ordered a cow, a pig, and shopped at local famers markets on a regular basis. You can check out how I shop for our family of 6 once a month here.

All that said, our ancestors did not have the luxury of having a grocery store on every corner they depended solely on growing a garden, having a farm, saving seeds, and preserving their harvest for survival. A garden was not a tiny, pretty little space in a perfectly manicured back yard – the garden was the entire yard. There wasn’t weekend dance classes, sporting events,  and weekly parties to attend. And, there certainly wasn’t countless vacations to be had. Life was the farm and the farm meant survival.

Since I only shop once a month for our family of six I am keenly aware of how much food we consume. I pretty much have it down to a science {now, that goes with out saying as the kids have gotten older I have had to make some adjustments}. But, I know we need 5-6 six packs of yogurt, 5 cans of each kind of bean {kidney, black, pinto, etc}, 1 Costco size sour cream, 3-4 gallons of milk, 2 lbs of ground meat for every meal, 8 packs of waffles, 3 bags/boxes of cereal, and on, and on.

How Much Should You Plant In Your Garden for a Years Worth of Food for Your Family

So, just how much ‘How Much Should You Plant In Your Garden for a Years Worth of Food for Your Family’ {disclaimer some of these we still have not grown but, this is based on my personal experience and research}

Asparagus 1-4 plants per person

Bush Beans 10- 15 plants per person

Pole Beans 10-15 plants per person

Beets 10-15 plants per person

Broccoli – 8 plants per person

Brussel Sprouts – 4 plants per person

Cabbage – 5 plants per person

Carrots 20-30 plants per person (100 seed pack would/should feed a family of 6)

Cauliflower – 5 plants per person

Celery – 4-8 plants per person

Corn – 20-40 plants per person

Cucumber – 5 plants per person

Egg plant – 1 plants per person (plus an additional 2-3 per family)

Kale – 1 5′ row

Lettuce – 10 -12 plants {obviously you can no preserve this over the winter months but, you can stagger your growing to harvest most of the year)

Onions – 30 plants per person

Peas – 30 plants per person

Peppers – 8 plants per person

Potatoes – 20-25 plants per person

Pumpkins – 1 plant per person {1-2 additional for the family}

Rhubarb – 2 crowns per family

Spinach – 10 -20 plants per person

Summer squash – 3 plants per person {there’s nothing like shredded zucchini already prepared for quick breads)

Winter Squash – 2 plants per person

Sweet Potatoes – 5 plants per person

Tomatoes – 5-8 plants per person

Another way to figure out how much your family would need to grow for the winter is think of how much your family consumes and research the approximate yield on a given plant. For example; if it was estimated that a 10 ft. row of bush beans would yield 3-5 lbs. yield then, I know I would need approx. 100+ ft. row to sustain my family over the winter as we consume approximately 5-6 lbs. of green beans per month. Of coarse this could not be broken down into an exact science since weather, natural disaster, and pests can all affect yield.

What I can tell you is this – plant what you like to eat and plant what you will use. If you are short on space plant what you can with what room you have available.

Do you have room behind your garage? That’s where our berry garden used to be. Try planting food where you would plant flowers – replace the dying tree in the corner of the yard with a fruit tree instead of an ornamental piece. And, start learning about harvesting your seeds – there is nothing more rewarding than knowing you grew something from a tiny seed and you were able to save the seeds for next years harvest thus, repeating the cycle of life.

Hungry for more gardening goodness check out these –

8 Simple Ways How to Love Your Home

crafts, design

Writing here in this space is as much a comfort as it is some strange hobby I do. The one thing with blogging is it always has a way of perfecting life. My sweet friends life is not perfect. In fact, I promise you and I are the same- I have dirty dishes in my sink, sand on my floors, finger prints on my windows, and a whole bunch of stories to go with the chaos of being a mom. 

I’m going to let you in on a little secret- lately, I have been a total crab. Ha, could you have guessed? 

I have hated my house the physical one- not the people in it of coarse; we have all been there. I let my desire for wanting change get in the way of enjoying what I already have. Have you been there? I have lost my temper more than I would like to admit – and, I have really not been in the happiest of a moods.

I struggled to figure out ‘why‘- and, only after months of internal searching and looking for answers in all the wrong places did I recently begin to make sense of some of the mangled mess. 

The physical house- ah yes, our starter home that has since become our family home. We never intended to live here 12 years-we never thought we would have four kids here either. Ha, who am I kidding the thought of having four kids, a dog, 2 guinnie pigs, and homeschooling in 1000 square feet never ever crossed our minds-and, truly was never “the plan“. 

Funny what happens when we think we have a good “plan” -it doesn’t always work out now does it? 

We make a meal plan all too soon to realize we haven’t followed a single day of it-and, to top it off we killed the grocery budget. 

We try to plan a purpose filled day only to have the kids get sick and throw the entire schedule off kilter. 

We try to plan the perfect birthday party -oh, to soon to realize there are 5 kids with different food allergies or intolerance’s that all need tending to. 

Here’s the thing, all the planning in the world is not going to ‘fix‘ something’s. We need to actually think differently- here my friends is how I started to love my home again. 

I searched realestate sights both day and night- I looked at different cities and even states- searching, looking, hoping, and dreaming up that ‘perfect‘ house. Guess what, I came up with nothing. My anxiousness grew and truth be told I knew a move at this present time wasn’t really even feasable- but, I was searching. 

Guess what I discovered- I have what I need- and, when the time is right change will come.

makeover, crafts, repurpose

8 Ways How to Love Your Home

Bring the outdoors in– one of my favorite things to do is buy a plant at the grocery store or bring in freshly cut flowers. There is something so calming about bring nature inside. I really do not have the best green thumb and our home doesn’t get the best light so the plants don’t seem to last very long- but, it is always worth the effort.

De-clutter- get rid of stuff people. We have the most amount of kids and the smallest house out of everyone in our family- and, guess what? After some soul searching I’m o.k with that- an addition would be nice and a bigger back yard would be dreamy- but, I have learned the bigger the space the more junk you hold onto. Have I mentioned how much I hate clutter? 

Make your space work for you-if you don’t use it- get rid of it. I’ll even help you- seriously, if you are struggling to get rid of something or unsure send me a message and a picture of what it is I will gladly help you figure it out.  

Paint it– we have lived in our home for 11 years- it was only suppose to be 5 and, guess what we have not painted anything in years. The time is coming- it is amazing how just adding a coat of paint to something can make it seem new again. 

So if you have been contemplating that room make over or some of your things are getting ‘old‘ try a coat of paint. My most recent little project was adding some chalkboard paint to some old flower pots- it cost me less than $10.00 and was enough change to make them ‘new to me‘ again- it no longer mattered that they were 10+ years old. 

If you have something old sitting around your house that you no longer are enjoying – a simple coat of paint might just be the answer.

Everyday is a gift- during all of my pouting the one thing I continued to lose sight of was that everyday and everything is a gift. How easy it is to get caught up in ourselves or the ways of the world. 

More stuff, more friends, bigger houses, better vacations – none of it will truly make you happy. Well, it will temporally- but, having “more” of something is not synonymous with happiness. True happiness is seeing and accepting what you already have. 

Think outside the box- homeschooling four kids in 1000 square feet has taught me a lot about thinking outside the box. Most people have linen closets I have homeschool closets full of books and kid activities. 

You might also be surprised to know that toys in the living room are contained to one small bin the rest are in my kids rooms – which they share. Keep what you need and use- let the rest go. Think of ways to use everyday spaces in a new non-traditional way. For example, who says a dresser can’t make a great desk- if the decorating police aren’t going to come after you- then do it!

Beauty comes in all shapes and sizes – big is beautiful but so is tiny. How many people can truly say they love their home- they wouldn’t change a thing. Probably as many as you would find that say they love everything about their body- no one! 

Size doesn’t matter- what does matter is how you make your space work for you and how it makes you feel in the end. Just as eating a huge sundae might make you temporarily satisfied – it will not achieve the long term happiness, feel good feeling your after. 

However, making a commitment to work out and doing it likely will. You need change your way of thinking- positive long term change not temporary fixes. Buying a pillow for a couch you hate is not going to fix the problem- but, maybe buying a ‘new to you‘ couch at a second hand store or using a slip cover to change the entire appearance will. 
Why wait? We wait, wait, and wait to do things – we wait to have enough money, we are waiting for that perfect time, we are waiting our life away. Do it now, what is holding you back? 

Is it money- hit up the nearest thrift or resale shop for that perfect decorative piece. Maybe try bartering services with a friend- you cook her family dinner for a week and she sews your new curtains. 

Is it time- prioritize – if it’s important you will make time for it.

Home is what you make it – perfectly imperfect. My home has finger prints smeared on the front door- crumbs on the kitchen floor, and dust so thick in some places I can write my name. My home isn’t dirty it’s lived in. We do not need a show case to be our home- all we really need is a place that provides shelter and makes all who enter feel welcome. 

What is the next big project going to be at your homestead?

Gluten-free Not Necessarily Better For You

Gluten-free Not Necessarily Better For You

Did you know gluten-free doesn’t necessarily mean healthier for you. I know you’re probably thinking; “but isn’t this the latest ‘diet’ trend?”, then “how can it not be healthy“?

Gluten itself does not contain any nutritional value however, the whole grains that contain gluten often do. So when we are saying “no” to gluten, we are in fact depriving ourselves of those other nutrients. Research has in fact shown that a well-balanced, “real food“, whole grain, low sodium, minimal sugar, high fiber diet as part of a total wellness plan may help in lowering heart disease, type-2 diabetes, and aid in prevention of some forms of cancer.

Many gluten-free products are made with refined starches; such as a potato or corn starch containing a lot of empty calories. These foods were originally made for those individuals with Celiac Disease; the consumer who is unable to digest any gluten what so ever but still looking to maintain a somewhat “normal” lifestyle. It is also likely that after years of destruction and malnourishment from the effects of gluten on their small intestine they can afford a few extra calories. When our little crafty-bee was diagnosed as gluten intolerant she had already lost 3-4lbs. That might not sound like a lot but for a child who is only 2 that is a whole lot-the girl could never tip the scale much over 19lbs.  However, if your average consumer were to choose a package of gluten-free cookies over a “normal” package they might be surprised to see that the amount of sugar in the gluten-free package is actually quite a bit higher- hence leading to unnecessary weight gain if not consumed in moderation.

Gluten Free, GF, No Gluten, Celiac Disease, Wheat Free, Healthy LivingHere’s the thing, processed whether gluten-free or not, is still processed. Sort of like brown sugar is the same as white sugar; it is still sugar. Although, processed foods often times have pretty packaging, marketed as “low fat”, “low sugar”, “fat free”, and “containing omega-3’s” to give you the illusion they are healthy; they in fact are not. Have you ever noticed the side of a Hawaiian Punch juice box? It is covered in beautiful fruit pictures, but how much fruit is really in it?

What theories do you have on the drastic increase in autoimmune diseases, increased cancer rates even among children, increased neuropathy issues, stroke, diabetes, and coronary heart disease? I can tell you what it’s not from; it’s not from us eating a well-balanced nutritious diet. It likely is many factors some of which our out of our control, but knowledge is power. The more we learn and advocate for change the more likely we begin to see a change – if not for our own generation at least for our children.

I know what you’re going to say; “but it is expensive” to eat healthy. Yes, I know. I have four kids that are still quite young with ever growing appetites. Our grocery budget makes my stomach hurt most days. However, the cost of healthy living today will undoubtedly cut down on your long term healthcare costs. I pride myself as a mother knowing that in nearly 9 years, we have only had 3 antibiotics ever in our home and 2 of those times was due to a recurring ear infection that required an adnoidectomy. My savings in doctor office and prescription co-pays offsets the cost of our healthy living diet.

I also know you’re thinking; “but it takes so much time” to prepare meals. O.K., I cannot deny that making a batch of homemade muffins is not as convenient as walking into your closest bakery or running through the nearest drive thru at the local coffee shop. It does take time and a bit of planning. 

My Simple Savvy Meal Planner is coming soon – so stay tune for more details.

If you’re still not sure your family’s diet can use a face lift stop by – 13FactsAbout Processed Food to learn more about the foods you are eating and how a few simple  changes might just make you feel better.