Tomatoes, Lemon Basil, Golden Zucchini, Lemon Cucumbers, and Swiss Chard Harvested October 7th
Okay, so I just announced over on Farmgirl Fare that I'm writing a cookbook—and that I need your help. It's a big book all about making the most of your seasonal bounty, whether it comes from your own garden, a CSA subscription, the farmers' market, pick-your-own farms, or is dropped off on your doorstep by an undercover, overburdened neighbor when you're not at home. It's going to be published in spring 2010 and will include canning, freezing, drying, and storing the harvest, along with my favorite ways to savor everything fresh—all using my Less Fuss, More Flavor methods and recipes. Of course there'll be plenty of growing tips and gardening talk, too.
But here's the deal. In order to make the book as well-rounded and helpful as possible, we're including some fruits and vegetables that I don't/can't grow and/or don't have a whole lot of experience with (like okra and rhubarb and figs). I know some of you do, though, and my editor thought it would be fun if I took advantage of this wonderful community of readers I have and solicited your input.
I'll also want to hear about your general experiences in the garden with, well, just about everything. I mean, look how you came to my rescue last spring when I was wondering what to do with those 125 ready-to-pick-right-this-minute scallions. I may even pester you for a favorite recipe or two. Non-gardeners, there will be plenty of questions for you, too!
So what I'm going to do is start posting random questions here, hopefully every day or two. They'll vary from wide open to quite specific, and I'll just toss them out as they come to me. Short replies, longwinded answers, and links to your own blog posts about the subject will all be welcome in the comments section of each post.
I can't wait to hear what you have to say, and I thank you in advance for sharing your knowledge and experience. I know it will make the book better, and I'm also hoping that other In My Kitchen Garden readers will find your replies to these posts helpful.
So on to the first question. I realize it's huge and open ended, but it's something I'm asked a lot by new gardeners who are trying to figure out how much they should plant:
How big is your garden and how much food does it produce?
The big picture, the little details—the more information you want to share the better. A general idea of where your garden is located (state, country, growing zone, etc.) would be helpful, too. You don't have to know specifics regarding bushels of this or pounds of that (though you're welcome to list everything you grow if you like)—even just telling us that your 400 square foot garden keeps your family of four in fresh vegetables for most of the year is helpful. But if you know that if you plant 100 feet of green beans you'll usually end up with up 50 quarts of dilly beans, do tell!
If you've posted a photo of your entire garden (or most of it) on your blog or flickr, you're welcome to include a link to it in your comment.
It's difficult to tell somebody the exact number of plants they need in order to harvest so many pounds of something because your bounty depends so much on location and growing conditions. As I noted in my previous post, Growing Tomatoes: How Many Plants Do You Need? (And What To Do If You End Up With Too Many Tomatoes), my pal Finny gets enough tomatoes to fill up on fresh and can for later from two plants, while a friend of mine here in Missouri puts out 200 plants in order to ensure enough tomatoes for himself and his wife for the year.
Thanks again for your help! I'll hopefully have the next question up in a day or two. If you don't want to miss any of them, consider subscribing to the In My Kitchen Garden RSS feed or signing up to receive each new post via e-mail—you'll find the Feedblitz sign-up box located in the top right corner of the page.
© Copyright 2009 FarmgirlFare.com, the homegrown foodie farm blog where we have especially big plans for the garden this year because of the book, and yet are already behind out there because of the book. In the name of research, I'm planning to grow both green and red okra for the first time, and I'm even going to give sugar snap peas another try, despite the terrifying (and not very tasty) first and last experience I had with them years ago.