How Much to Plant Per Person for a Year’s Worth of Food

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Wondering how many vegetable and fruit plants you need per person to grow enough food for your family for a whole year? As homesteaders, we want to maximize our harvest through our gardening efforts. Growing even a portion of your own food can help reduce grocery costs. But planning for a full year’s supply takes more strategic planning.

Key Factors When Calculating Food Needs

When determining how much to grow per person, consider these key factors:

  • Your regional growing conditions – climate, sunlight, soil quality
  • Realistic yield predictions based on your microclimate
  • Actual consumption – how much does your family really eat?

I’ll share guidelines below for many common crops, but keep these factors in mind. Pay attention to what your family truly consumes to determine if you need more or less than general recommendations.

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Staple Vegetable Crops

These vegetable crops are easy to grow, versatile in the kitchen, and store well through winter:

Beans

  • 10-20 plants per person
  • High in protein & calories for subsistence living
  • Choose pole beans for higher yields

Garlic

  • 15 bulbs per person
  • Stores for up to 9 months
  • Also used medicinally & for livestock

Potatoes

  • 15-20 plants per person
  • 50 lbs yield from 2 lbs seed potatoes in healthy soil
  • Pick varieties suitable for long storage

Tomatoes

  • 5 plants per person
  • Focus on paste/canning varieties
  • Preserve as: salsa, sauce, stewed, etc.

Other Key Crops

Cucumbers

  • 6-9 plants – enough for fresh & pickling

Winter Squash

  • 5-6 plants per variety
  • Store for months using root cellar techniques

Summer Squash

  • Just 1-2 plants per person
  • Very prolific producer

Grow More Beans & Peas

Prioritize dried peas and beans in your garden plan. As a vegetable high in protein and calories, they provide key nutritional density if trying to grow most of your food.

Preservation & Storage

To harvest enough food for a year, preservative methods like water bath canning, pressure canning, dehydrating, and cold storage are essential. Stagger planting and continue putting food by all season long.

Let me know if you have any other questions! I’m happy to provide more details and help with your garden planning.

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