Saturday, February 21, 2009

A Question for Kitchen Gardeners: How Big Is Your Garden and How Much Food Does It Provide?

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, 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.


  1. Our garden is really big. I asked my husband what his estimate would be. He was silent for a long time, then gave me an estimate with the proviso that he's not SURE and we'd have to actually measure it. But his estimate was almost 1,000 square feet. Not that we use it all as wisely as we could (potatoes take up a lot of room), but it IS really big.

    It provides enough produce to keep the three in my house out of the grocery store produce section for at least 9 months of the year. And we give a lot away. A LOT. And I can a lot. Mostly tomatoes.

    I can't give you just one link to my site. Just click on "gardens" in the topics part. There is one photo somewhere of the whole garden, though it's nearly impossible to get a full photo of the garden, because of it's shape. As for the location . . . it's about 50 feet from the kitchen door. Handy.

  2. Hi Susan,

    Our garden is small but growing. Last year it was a 9'x7' plot, this year we are at least doubling it to include about 300' feet of space. So far I don't put anything up - we just eat it in season. One day I would like to can our own Italian red sauce with heirloom tomatoes. We grow varieties that can not be purchased at a store (which leaves a lot to be planted where we live), and tend to gravitate toward heritage varietals. Congratulations on the cookbook - it sounds wonderful!

  3. My garden is tucked behind the garage in our small city in NE Wisconsin. It measures approx. 18' by 16', but that's an estimate. How much does it produce? It varies. My goal this year is not to make it bigger, but make it more productive. Last year wasn't great, but I did get enough tomatoes that we didn't buy any until after Christmas and I still have at least two quarts of tomato sauce/ soup in the freezer.

  4. I have a 279 square foot walled garden in zone 7b (Memphis, TN), up 100 square feet from last year. Husband let me rip out more bushes. I'm growing or trying out about 30 different things this year, including 3 kinds of tomatoes, corn, green beans, chard, beets, carrots, peas, crucifers, red okra, sunflowers, rosemary, thyme, mint, etc. I plant a little of everything to see what survives. Last year I got about 11 cups of lima beans from 2 plants on a partly-shaded fence. I gave away tomatoes from 4 plants. I put up 5 pints of pickles and ate cucumbers for a month from one plant. My grandparents were farmers, and I'm learning.

  5. I have a 20'x20' plot in a community garden in zone 5. (It costs $25 and is fertilized for you... the best deal EVER!)

    Last year was the first time I ever tried to grow anything in my life. It was a LOT of space for a first-timer. We didn't buy vegetables from mid-July through September, and I didn't even plant the whole plot.

    I put in 16 tomato plants, and my boyfriend and I ate tomatoes for every meal but couldn't remotely keep up... next year, I'm going to look into canning equipment. I also totally overdid it on the basil and wound up with trashbags full, giving it away to anyone who'd take it.

    I think I had a bit of beginner's luck and especially good weather, but that much space still is way more than two people strictly need. This year, I'm going to diversify and put in broccoli and root vegetables, and also take more risks with plants that are harder to grow. And I'm going to put in some flowers, too.

  6. Howdy

    I farm a small area in north east Florida, about 1800 sq ft. I'm expanding it at the momunt to 5400 sq ft. Mostly because I can sell the stuff produced to a organic food co-op. The last year was tuff, between the rabits and the deer I only produced a few potatos and the early cold stoped them early.

    Potatos take up some room but are fun to grow, I have yellow ones ( Yukon Gold) blue ones (yes they are blue all the way thru) and new this spring will be red potatos ( red all the way thru )

    If your interested in pictures, I have a blog that I post on every week or so
    and there are pictures. I also raise eggs, or chickens which makes the eggs for me and they pay a large part of my food bill at the co-op.

    Goodluck on the new cookbook I will be looking forward to it as I have a small collection I use now.

  7. We have a garden that's probably about 40x80 or so. We have to re-clear the area every time we plant and weed vigorously daily; we also use the area for our compost pile, and weeds really like the horse manure. Since my back is uncooperative, that usually means that we don't have the full area available for planting.

    We've tried growing veggies twice, with our third gardenful coming up this year. In addition to an unhelpful back, I also have a black thumb, so when we do get veggies we're surprised and happy.

    Last year we had a single squash plant that produced more yellow squash than any single family could eat, several cucumbers and watermelons that did the same, and some tomatoes that seemed to thrive but just never fruited.

    Hoping for lots more this year, to eat, can, and give away. Today, we planted to sprout seedlings for transplanting in the ground later: tomatoes (I'm GONNA get some home-grown tomatoes, some year), squash, cucumbers, sugar snap peas, lettuce, spinach, and onions. I'll plant watermelons directly in the ground later, outside the garden. I'm looking for garlic and jalepeno pepper seeds.

    Herbs were a failure last year, but I may try again...maybe.

  8. Hi Susan,
    I have a small backyard garden that I started when I moved into my current home about 3 1/2 years ago. I can't give you the size, I have very bad depth perception. :-)

    I have great soil in zone 7 (Triad area, NC) and have had lots of success growing tomatoes, jalapenos, habaneros, cayene peppers, green bell peppers, squash and zucchini. My biggest problem is that the stuff grows so well it grows crazy and so do the weeds.
    I usually end up freezing way more than I can eat or giving a lot away.

    Looking forward to the cookbook and all the questions (and answers) you have here.

  9. Whoops, I forgot to include our location. Funny enough, we're also NE FL. Hi Grumpy, we're neighbors!

  10. We have 4 semi-raised beds in our front yard (we have an acre of land). Each bed is about 4 feet by 10 feet. We also have a kitchen garden, which holds only herbs and a small plot about 6 x 8 in our backyard. Last year was our first year here and to have a garden, of course. We had tons of tomatoes, of which we gave a ton away - and we still have yellow squash in our freezer. We had enough to eat on in the summer and fall (with produce supplements of what we did not grow) and we froze a bit of it. This year we will be utilizing a lot more space. Hope this helps!

  11. Hi,

    I dug up half my garden last year for a raised bed of about 16' X 10' mangaged to grow Spinnach, Corn, pumpkins I stil have 3 in the garage ready to make pumkin soup), peas, potatoes, lettuce spring onions, onions (that keept us going until Christmas) carrots (Feb just took the last ones out of the Garden), beetroot, garlic and leeks. On the patio I grew tomatoes and cucmbers and I purchased a minature apple tree so had my first apples (although I didn't plant it out in time so it stayed in the pot and blew over so many times my actual yield came down form 40 apples to 5.

    Unfortunately I had some beetroot but then it bolted, the spinnach was very successful but had so much all at once I couldn't think what to do with it. I did get potatoes but they got blight so did the tomatoes so had to spray them, really didn't want to.

    I love the taste of my own grown items nothing tastes the same, there is nothing like the sweetness of the sweetcorn freshly picked, so this year I am putting up a 8' x 10' Greenhouse which I hope to heat with a 'heat sink' to extend the growing season and dig up whats left of the other half of the garden to plant some more long term veg. I purchased some asparagus today in fact.

    I'm gardening on a very small scale and the raised bed makes it very easy maintenance but in order to get more from the garden I need to rotate the crops better and get the greenhouse up and running asap.

  12. Hi Susan - I garden in Gardiner, Maine and have 7 raised beds that are about 4'x 10' that I use for vegetables and herbs. I grow radishes, lettuces, edible pod peas, zucchini, yellow squash, sweet peppers, habanero peppers, purple beans, cucumbers, acorn squash, onions, garlic and tomatoes, lots of tomatoes. For herbs I grow basil, parsley and dill.

    I wish that I could give you some actual weights but I can tell you that this keeps my husband and me well supplied with fresh veggies until late October. Starting about the first of July I do not have to buy any vegetables unless we want to eat something that I am not growing. I freeze the extra veggies and send a lot to our kids and a couple of neighbors.

    I also have a rhubarb patch and 2 pear trees. I use the rhubarb for pies and to make strawberry-rhubarb sauce which is incredible on pancakes. As for the pears, I can some but recently my husband has found an excellent use for them. He makes pear wine.

    I am hoping to add another bed every year for the next few years with the hope that I can have an herb garden and I would like to be able to provide some fresh veggies to our local food pantry.

    I am enjoy reading your blog and am looking forward to your cookbook.

  13. I have 3 planters on the patio that basically supplement what I get from my CSA. Once we find a house, I hope to expand to an actual garden in an actual yard though.

  14. We live in the Portland, OR metropolitan area - on the NW side of town. We're just about a stone's throw from downtown - on half an acre of the unincorporated portion of one of the tri-counties - meaning - we don't have a ton of regulation. Woo Hoo!

    You can see LOTS of photos of the yard and garden at

    Our yard has several plots...

    On the front (street-side) part of the lot is a long plot that is typically flowers - this year I'm going to do poppies and Sunflowers - with an aim toward saving the sunflowers.

    There's a plot alongside the house that we'll likely build a cold frame over in the coming weeks and plant various greens as well as green onions.

    The main garden plot is 12' x 40' - I think! (My husband knows all of the technical stuff right off the top of his head - not me so much!) We typically grow somewhere around 30 heirloom tomato varieties, various herbs, cucumbers of different varities, beets, carrots, green beans, etc.

    And this year we're adding an 18' x 18' plot that will allow us to add some things that we've not had room for in the past - a decent corn patch, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, etc.

    The length of the 100' lot we have blackberries - I love blackberries - and I can jelly, jam, and syrup as soon as they're ready.

    We also have three pear trees and a crab apple tree. We've made various jellies and syrups with these.

    We are thinking seriously about adding a greenhouse - we'd love to not have to visit the local grocery store to buy produce... we do a good job for a decent portion of the year since we can and freeze so much. But we'd like to do more.

    Hope that helps!

  15. First, congratulations on the agent and the new book. I enjoy your blog very much.

    I live and garden in northwestern Greene Co., Missouri in zone 6. Even though we are southern Missouri, for gardening purposes we use the northern zone of the state.

    I can't really tell you the size of the garden but I can tell you what I grow. We fenced the area a couple of years ago to keep the newly acquired dog out.....and the occasional herd of cows (one of us left the gate open!) that loved the sweet corn right down to the ground, but skipped the green beans and cucumbers completely.

    Permanent additions to the garden:
    Asparagus. We eat all the fresh we can hold and give away to the neighbors. I also freeze it for winter enjoyment. I have about a 20 foot row.

    Strawberries: 20x20 foot patch, eat, freeze and make jam.

    Blackberries: I believe the variety is Darrow. I freeze them and make jam They are so scattered I can't really tell you about the size of the patch, but I started with 5 plants.

    I planted raspberries but don't know how many made it. I do not grow raspberries well!

    Fruit trees:

    Producing: one sour cherry tree, either Meteor or North Star. Produces tons of fruit. I freeze and make jam.

    1 peach tree that produced for the first time last year.

    The other tree was loaded with fruit and one of our windy storms split it in half. Foolishly I left one half remaining.....know I will have to take it out soon.
    Not fruiting fully yet:

    Methley Plum and Santa Rosa Plum. I did get 4 luscious plums from one of the last year so have high hopes for this year.

    2 apple trees planted in chicken yard, Golden Delicious and a red one???

    Last spring I planted 3 dwarf heirloom apples in a row in the veggie garden.

    Still not fruiting:

    2 dwarf pear Seckel
    Kieffer pear
    Moonglow pear

    Surely this will be their year!

    I plant sweet corn, 100 feet of rows, eat fresh and freeze on the
    okra, just 10 feet for eating fresh, but do freeze a few bags

    Sweet potatoes, Beauregard, my favorite

    Irish potatoes, Yukon Gold, my favorite and others.

    Pole beans on a cattle panel hoophouse. I only plant Kwintus., eat fresh and freeze

    Spring lettuces, a variety but one of my favorites is Cimmaron a romaine variety.

    Spinach, eat fresh and freeze along with wild greens.

    I have winter onions and also raise Candy and Super Star from seeds. They are both day-length neutral varieties and are the only onions I have ever raised to a good size and are incredibly sweet.

    Tomatoes, several heirloom varieties. I can them. Make juice, salsa,and ketchup
    I grew them in a lasagna bed for the first time last year and was so impressed, I am expanding that technique this year.

    Cucumbers, eat fresh, make dill and lime pickles.

    Sugar Snap peas, just a 10 foot row for fresh use. Do freeze some.

    Melons, watermelon and cantaloupe

    Squashes, both summer and winter-if I can manage without the squash bugs getting them first. I usually loose the battle!

    Beets, 10 foot row, eat and sometimes do pickled beets, froze some didn't like them at all.

    My goal is to raise everything we eat.....just recently got a milk cow (but that is another story), have our own beef. DH won't let me get a couple of pigs...but buy from local abattoir, so that's close.

    I know I have rambled but that is my gardening story. Hope you can find some helpful info in all these posts.


  16. I'm in central Connecticut, and I'm a localvore, blessed with wonderful farmers all around me to give me the base of my food.

    My own garden is fairly small, 15x15 feet I'd say, maybe a bit more. I do store veg, mostly freezing, drying and "cool dark place" this year, but I am learning to can and did so with apples. I just moved house last summer, so this will be my first year going through a "season" - last year was just some small veg I got from the local nursery and easy leafy greens/carrots/beets for fall plantings.

    This year, I have decided to plant the kinds of veg that I can't get through my local CSA, but that I grew up with and love (e.g. yardlong beans, unusual eggplant varieties, opo squash, okra). I chose raised beds, so we'll see how that goes. I'll also be preserving the local summer fruit from our wonderful farmers.

    I'd love it if my garden could keep me fully in the veg I chose, knowing that I'll get the others from the CSA. I figure if I plant more of fewer crops, I'll get a considerable harvest that can make me feel as if I've accomplished something (e.g. growing all my own opo squash for the season) rather than have, say, a small amount each of tomatoes, carrots, greens, etc and have to supplement all the time for those anyway from the CSA. I don't know how much it'll produce in all, but it'll be interesting to see as the season unfolds!

  17. My garden as grown from a 12x6 foot plot to 1000 square feet in 4 years...and growing! I have a huge, full sun back yard a mile away at my family business (my yard is to shady). Along with the plot I have 6 blueberry bushes that are finally getting big enough to freeze some...and a fig tree..I am still acquiring a taste for figs...but I have dehydrated a big bag that I rehydrate in OJ and add to muffins and my family had plenty to eat fresh.
    Last fall I added a peach and a cherry tree!
    I am down to 3 bags of frozen tomatoes and 1 butternut squash...still have dried tomatoes and a little dehydrtaed eggplant left. Will make notes and put up more this year.
    I have a gardening tag on my blog if you want to take a peek.

  18. Oops..I forgot my location also!
    Virginia Beach, Virginia zone 7 or 8? I'm not sure.

  19. Whoops! I just took a look at my plot plan/chart for this spring and realized that its actually closer to 20x20 feet, not 15! Sorry about that - I think my brain is fried after working these long hours for the past few days, and planning the same for today too. I'd rather be gardening - or at least planning and dreaming about it!

  20. Last year we had 3 tomato plants and it was enough to keep us in fresh tomatoes. I only made one pan of sauce and some of those were with tomatoes bought at a farmers market. We had a lot of blossom rot I think it's called where one end has tracks through it. This year I dug out all my flowers along the front of my house and in front of my front porch and we're putting in veggies. We're trying square foot gardening ( ) so hopefully we won't be overrun with more than we can use. I'm just planting the things we like to eat, zuchinni, cucumbers, little melons, tomatoes, beans, eggplant and of course some herbs. I'm also planting a Meyers lemon tree because I use a lot of lemons in cooking. Can't wait to see your cookbook next year!

  21. oh man I can't wait for spring! I have broccoli, cabbage, and onions started under my grow light and can't wait to start more things in a few weeks. My husband and I live in Southeastern PA (zone 6) and we have a fairly large garden. I have 7 4X8 foot raised beds as well as a plot about 20'X30' This year we are upping that plot to about 50X60. We grow quite a bit...corn, potatoes, tomatoes, onions, snap peas, broccoli, cabbage, lettuce, spinach, garlic, shallots, eggplant, green beans, a few varieties of dried beans, strawberries, peppers, cucumbers, zucchini squash, butternut squash, and lots of herbs. And this year we are starting asparagus, a grape arbor, putting in a permanent fence for some heirloom limas, several different kinds of pumpkins, and an orchard with 15 trees. It all sounds so overwhelming at this point! But we love it. I do a ton of canning and freezing...we buy maybe only 10 percent of the fruits and vegetables we consume. That includes canned, frozen and fresh. Oh, and this garden feeds our family of 3 (1 child) as well as plenty to give away to family and friends.

    Another thing we do is use the wheat that we grow for grinding our own flour. We grow many acres of soft winter wheat (for whole wheat pastry flour) and when we harvest it, I take a few buckets out to the field and hubby gets me about 50 pounds of it. Then I clean it, dry it, and store it for use in the coming year. I'm afraid 50 pounds wasn't enough...I might get more like 75 this summer. We purchase the hard wheat and oats for bread flour and oatmeal but I'd love to someday grow these as well!

    This year, we are really trying to grow more heirloom vegetables so that we can save the seeds and not have to buy next year. also, the fact that those seeds aren't genetically modified is great. It'd be so fun to become self-sufficient, though that's pretty far fetched!

    I'm so excited to hear you are writing a book! Have fun with it!

  22. My garden is about 10' by 30' and I only just finished preparing it last summer.

    Last year was my first year really planting properly and I got pounds and pounds of zucchinis and cucumbers last fall. So many that I was giving them away.

    Right now I have a glut of your beloved Swiss Chard which is great because I have been able to use your recipes for it!

    I also have broccoli, cauliflower, cabbages, cilantro, dill, lettuces, carrots, leeks, snow peas, spinach, snow peas, very young tomato, pepper, basil, and tomatillo plants, radishes, and masses of parsley, and eggplants. Not all of those plants are producing yet but I am currently harvesting broccoli, cauliflower, swiss chard, lettuces, radishes, dill, cilantro, parsley and eggplants regularly. All of it is organic.

    I plant very densely and interplant with plants to reduce pests such as nasturtiums, and flowering herbs. I would love more room but this will probably be it while we live here in Phoenix at least.

    The desert soil is very harsh here and needs amending so I also compost, and use fish emulsion every now and again. I am very hopeful for my garden this year and have canning stuff ready, perhaps a little ambitiously!

    Good luck with the cook book. Can't wait to read it! :)

  23. I live in zone 5a and my vegetable garden is approximately 9x11 feet. I normally get about 5 heads of broccoli, 13 heads of garlic, 5 huge tomato plants, about 3 dozen beets, a couple of cucumber plants, about 3 gallon bags of green beens and 1 gallon bag of carrots. I rotate and companion plant. I have an herb garden and corn in another part of the yard and I plant eggplants and potatoes in containers. Congrats on your cook book. I would buy it, it sounds right up my alley!

  24. My husband and I have a 4x6 plot, a couple of pots, and a barrel of herbs. Last year was our first year doing anything but patio gardening, and it was an adventure. I try to plant things that I can't get easily in the store in Boston, so hot peppers and tomatillos in addition to tomatoes and cucumbers (because... the fresher the better!) I canned your tomatillo relish recipe and altered it a bit to get some homemade enchilada sauce. We hope to expand our space this year and get some more yield out of it, but a lot of that is up to nature and our random gardening habits.

  25. We have several large gardens (2/3 acre total) in zone 7 located in the Columbia River Gorge in the PNW. We feed our family of three plus raise root crops for our family cow. Canning, freezing, dehydrating, and cool storage allow us to eat from our production year-round.

    At my site - Throwback at Trapper Creek
    click on vegetables or winter stores for many posts on our food stores, or preservation for canning such as rhubarb etc.

  26. I had a garden and CSA membership so I grew veggies that complimented the CSA items. Last year I had a 10'x16' plot, three 2'x4' containers and 8 planters with tomatoes. The plot had swiss chard, kale, arugula, bok choy, lettuce, turnips, carrots, peppers, snap peas, green beans and green chile. I planted a 4' row of the root vegetables and harvested from October to December. That was perfect for two people, but the turnips got really big around Thanksgiving. There were 6 green bean plants that fed us over three months. The greens produced too much, but I pureed and froze them for our dog. She is a crazy puppy that loves swiss chard! I had too many tomato plants and gave away bags to my neighbors. This year I plan to learn about canning so I can make salsa and sauce and save for winter.

  27. Hello! I'm in zone 6(b) in Northeastern Oklahoma. I have a medium sized back yard garden - two 20 foot rows that are 4 feet wide, plus another strip on my front lawn that is probably 15 feet long by 3 feet wide. Last summer I grew tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, cucumbers, peas, onions, okra, beans, Swiss chard, turnips, kohlrabi, broccoli, cabbage, winter squash, arugula, lettuce, carrots, zucchini, and herbs of all sort. It was definitely enough to keep us in produce for the spring, the summer, and most of the fall. I tried to track it on my blog over the peak months. Here's a link to some pictures:
    Happy writing!

  28. Hi Susan,

    First off I would just like to thank you for all the wonderful culinary information you have provided. We have been using your choice pita bread recipe for over a year now, thanks.

    We garden in Northern Idaho zone 5-6. Our food garden is approximately 10,000 square feet, and provides us with almost 100% of our food needs year-round.

    The amount of food we grow is calculated based on our daily intake. For example, we eat 3 carrots (1 for the chickens), 1 beet, 2 small onions and so on, daily. So by the end of summer I hopefully will be prepping around 1,000 carrots and 400 beets for our root cellar, which is where most of our food supply is stored.

    We also try to grow a large amount of fodder crops for the chickens to consume in the winter months when they cannot roam freely. Keeping the flock well fed has kept us in eggs all year.

    A small orchard that is still in it's infancy rounds it all off, and has started to provide fresh fruits and berries. Just this last summer we planted over thirty new fruit and nut trees.

    Gardening aside, we spend many days wandering the forests procuring wild edibles such as huckleberries and morel mushrooms.

    Growing and gathering all of ones own food is definitely a full time occupation but the end results are well worth the effort.


  29. Our garden - if you wish to call it that - is all in containers, on the sunny side of our not-too-large deck. We had four or five pepper plants (jalapeno, serrano, hot cherry, cayenne) and that was more than enough peppers for two people who like spicy food - even had some left to dry for later use. We had four tomato plants, but ended up buying most of our tomatoes from another gardener. We had two or three pots of basil that didn't produce as much as we would have hoped - we'll use Large pots this time. Oh, by the way, we're in northeast Georgia, inside the gravitational pull of Atlanta. I love reading your blog. Best of luck with the cookbook.

  30. Yeah, just kidding on the 1,000 square feet part. I just measured our total garden space. 2,000 square feet. Eek.

  31. I live in western Washington-- near the foothills of Mt. Rainier, so lots of glacial till! The rocks are crazy here-- about 30% of the "soil" is actually rocks, and some of them are huge! For this reason, everyone out this way gardens in raised beds. I have three 4x6 ft beds and three 4x 12 ft beds which have been filled with purchased garden mix. I'm growing my potatoes in the compost bin this year, so that will free up a bed, but two of the smaller beds are taken up with strawberries and raspberries. I grow my tomatoes, peppers & herbs in pots to save garden space. I've posted a pic of my garden when it was first constructed & pics of my potato set up over at the blog I co-author with my pal, Sherrill:

    I look forward to your book.

  32. I use my parents property. They have an acre but the garden area is about 20x12. They have so many deer it was the largest we could protect with an electric fence. 3 summers ago we planted tomatoes, onions,red, white, yellow and shallots, bell peppers and celery. We got 36 quart jars of homemade stewed tomatoes. It was SO good. Sadly the last 2 years we plant a good looking garden with hopes of lots of canning but the deer are too strong. They break down the electric fence as well as the wild turkeys. So I am going to try a three 3x12 grow boxes at my own home (didn't see any deer in the city last time I looked). I really want a herb garden, tomatoes, celery (the leaves are the best part), onions, peppers and squash.
    I run a daycare and the summer the deer weren't around it supplies for the daycare (12 kids) as well as my family and parents of 5. You don't need tons and tons of space to have a good garden.

  33. Our garden is small: under 100 square feet. We would get green beans and butter beans enough for one meal total (either green beans or butter beans, or a combination) a week all through the growing season. We have a peach tree that the previous owners planted in a highly shaded area right next to the house (so it's not ideal at all), from which we got a whopping dozen peaches. We got only a few peppers. We got a good bunch or two of carrots, tomatoes for maybe a gallon or two of tomato sauce, a dozen or so small onions, and garlic which lasted us 3 or 4 months. We had lettuce, cucumbers, and extra tomatoes enough for a salad a week for a month or two. And we got one, very small, watermelon.

    This year we're making better use of our space and we hope to get a larger harvest because of it.

    Here is a picture of our garden in July of last year. We're in zone 7, northern Atlanta metro.

  34. OK, so this is cheating, but it's the truth. I have 400 acres of truck farm surrounding my house and 80 acres in the best bottomland in the Sacramento Valley. There is a vegetable stand literally in my backyard that sells the best of everything you'd ever want. People come from miles around to buy Sloughhouse Sweet Corn. And I get the "local resident" discount. Thank you, God.

    The only thing they don't have is chard. I'll have to ask them to plant some.

    I plant a couple of cherry tomatoes in my own backyard. It's the only thing the peacocks won't decimate. I keep 40 chickens, too.

    So your recipes are well-used, even though I don't have to pull the weeds myself.

  35. Hi Susan - our garden isn't all that big (Southern California suburban space) and we've given up raising much food in it because it's nothing but food for the squirrels (well, we THINK it's squirrels). The only thing they don't like is chile peppers. Otherwise, our garden contains just herbs (parsley, chives, thyme, oregano, rosemary, tarragon, and basil in season). We do try to raise tomatoes (a couple of varieties) but only if we can nearly encase it in something so the squirrels don't eat the bounty before we can harvest.

  36. Well, you're apparently aware of the size and bounty of my garden, but I'll try to be more specific, in case that's helpful.

    I mean, I can't NOT answer your questions, Susan. I am very excited for this cookbook of yours, you know.

    SO, my vegetable garden consists of four 3'W X 8'L X 2'H beds in which I have historically planted the wildly productive 2 better boy tomato plants, 2 2' fences of Kentucky Blue Lake green beans, at least one cucumber plant, 6 strawberry plants, 4-6 basil plants, a random variety of pumpkin (usually something 5-10 lb in weight and meant for baking), 6 chard plants (mistake - too much chard), 2-4 Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce plants and a cucumber variety (usually pickling, lemon or burpless).

    These veggies kept us (Bubba-husband and myself) set for the summer and for canning pretty well.

    I'd say I'd get a few dozen pounds of tomatoes, about a half dozen pounds of cukes, a couple sinks full of lettuce, a few strainers full of beans and a few pints of strawberries from it during the season. Plus, enough basil to make a few batches of pesto and to eat on every tomato and thai dish and enough chard to blanket the Pacific Northwest.

    This season we're going for more focus - and planting FOUR tomato plants (I know, crazy) in two beds, a bed of sweet white corn, half a bed of Blue Lake beans and the other half of that bed with whatever people vote on from my Adopt a Cropseries.

    These are all crops we love, cook up easily, can or freeze well and are readily accepted by neighbors and coworkers. I've learned that weird vegetables, while fun to grow, aren't easy to pawn off on others when they can't be eaten at home (Hi, chard, I'm looking at you).

    And the specifics of our area: Zone 9 (typically), San Jose, CA, First frost 11/23 (Thanksgiving) - Last frost 3/1.


  37. Hi Susan

    Congratulations on the book deal. How exciting.

    I have a 4m x 4m mini potager at the moment but we have plans to build a proper kitchen garden next year which will be 21m x 21m.

    Here's the link to my exploits this year.

    This year it's been very much an experiment to see what would grow and how I'd cope. I've loved the whole thing and now wish I'd been a bit more organised about it. But that can be for next year.

    My biggest challenge is keeping food flowing for two people without being overwhelmed with too much of anything. We definitely need a bigger freezer next year!

    This year we've had cauliflowers, cabbages, broccoli, tomatoes, lettuces, carrots and lots of herbs.

    Oh, and because we're in the southern hemisphere we're enjoying the tail end of summer.

    Look forward to following your blog as this project evolves.

  38. We have two gardens 1)our potato/corn garden which is about 1/4 acre and 2)a 2500 square foot garden by the house. We live on a small farm in Maryland. We plant about 400 lbs of potatoes which in a good year we sell to friends, relatives and a small local restaurant. The corn we keep and freeze or eat. The smaller garden has everything from beans to zucchini. I freeze, can, and dry. I start my own plants, mostly in the basement and never have enough tomatoes. I make my own sauce since I can't stand bought so I need several bushels of tomatoes. 50 plants is average. We usually do long rows and I have herbs scattered beside the garden near the blueberry bushes. The garden, in a good year, can keep us in vegetables for most of the winter. But if a crop fails we can go to other farmers in the area. I love your site and can't wait for the book.

  39. I'm in Zone 7B, Norfolk Virginia on the riverfront. Because I'm near wetlands and protected areas, (much disputed), our garden is small with raised beds, side areas for squash and herbs and potato boxes. Hard to get a square footage on it, but the beds are only 105 square feet total. About the same with side beds and also 50 containers.

    I grow everything! Loads or heirloom tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, onions, beets, radishes, carrots, cukes, squash, corn, beans of all kinds, peas, strawberries...well, the list goes on!

    From my area, I get about all the veggies we need for an entire year with canning and dehydrating.

    With surpluses I've devised clever methods of using it too. Like dehydrating the yellow squash and zucchini into chips that the dogs believe are the greatest treats ever.

    I do keep a blog, but the major garden updates won't be starting until March, I think.

    Now it is just bed making, dirt moving, amendments and seed starting.

  40. Our garden in Jefferson City is teeny tiny. It grows enough to supply our summer fresh veggies but not enough to can. I rely on the Farmer's Market for large quantities.

  41. I am guessing my garden is 6'x12'-15'. I also have a strawberry patch. I think we are zone 5a according to one map. I have had great success with brocolli (usually plant 6-8 plants), green beans, peas (must be eaten young, in the garden straight from the pod), swiss chard and beets. So far only had some sucess with tomatoes, zuchinni (ants eat the plants), carrots, eggplant and melons. We generally only plant enough to eat while growing and occasionally freeze or can for a few meals. I have tried to do lettuce but it usually bolts before it gets big enough to eat (I am usually a couple weeks behind for planting). I want to try some chinese veg, asparagus, brussel sprouts.

  42. Oh, I am in western Pa. On one map it looked like my area could have been in three different zones.

  43. Our garden is 2000 sq. ft. Usually by Father's Day we have more squash than we can eat. We live in Durham, NC and our garden is in a very sunny spot. We plant tomatoes, okra, green beans, squash, zucchini, cucumbers, and corn. We have enough produce to last us all summer and give lots away.

  44. Congratulations - the book sounds awesome!

    We're located in coastal New England (Cape Cod, MA) and have been amending our sandy soil (great drainage!) over the 8 years we've lived here. We have been expanding and adding new beds each year and I like to tuck vegetables into flower beds, patio pots, and any spare sunny space!

    Currently, we have eight 5x8' raised beds, a 10x10' asparagus patch (in its 5th year), and a variety of fruit trees and shrubs sprinkled around the property (2 pear, 2 apple, 1 peach, raspberries, black raspberries, strawberries, ~20 blueberries, and goji berries, and 2 rhubarb plants).

    To date, I feel like most of our gardening has been experimental - I love to try new varieties and know that our CSA and farmer's market will supply us with what we need during the growing season and allow us to preserve much of what we use in the winter. I'm also dabbling in some four season growing/harvesting. I've learned a lot and am now trying to focus in on what we really use. I'm still tempted by the seed catalogs, but am trying to stick to my plan!

  45. I am in zone 8, Southern Willamette Vally Oregon. Think wet spring.

    I have 4 4x10 raised beds and 1 14x6 raised bed. My beds get 6-7 hours of sun in the summer.
    Last year I didn't plant very much since I had a baby in April and it snowed!
    We subscribe to a CSA so there is not to much pressure if the plants don't do well. I usually try to plant things that produce during the winter and early spring and supplement my farm box.

    1 bed has a very pathetic asparagus stand and a walking onion plot. It is not in my rotation. One of the other beds has a 3x4 area for horseradish. One root gets dug every spring and I share it with anyone who wants some for passover.
    I use a 3-4 year rotation for planting tomatoes. I plant between 8-12 depending on the bed.

    I get between 5 and 20 Lb tomatoes. Last year closer to 5lbs because of the late snow. I usually make 12 pints of salsa and dry the rest. Last year I just bought tomatoes because mine were so late.

    I have let some swiss chard, beets and yellow mangles go to seed. they responded nicely and have somewhat hybridized. I guess I get 10-30Lb of greens throughout the season and a similar amount of beet root in the fall and winter.

    Last year was my first time planting garlic and regular onions. I think I got 1-2Lb garlic and about 20 onions. I just used up the last of the garlic in January and started on the garlic from my CSA. The onions lasted maybe 2 months.

    I direct seeded pac choi in October and got about 10 plants.

    I usually plant some green peas for me to eat while I garden. I plant ~30 plants and I get a small handful every couple days from may to july. My husband doesn't see the point so I have stopped sharing.

    I usually plant 4 zucchini type summer squash plants. I usually get one squash a week from july to september. I don't seem to have any luck with these and usually try to beg zucchini off coworkers who grow too much. We could use 4 squash a week without any problem but since I don't seem to get good yields I can't justify using more room for them.

    I usually seed out 6 3 foot rows of carrots and get 10-12 Lb of carrots. Last year a gopher sampled 1lb + of the carrots.

    I plant 10-20 basil plants and use freely all summer. I harvest the extra blend it with olive oil and freeze in meal size dollops. I usually can make 3 quarts of these.
    I grow 5-10 cilantro plants that go to seed and supply me with coriander for the year.
    I grow a couple hot pepper plants last year I got about 20 peppers.

    I gave up on lettuce, the slugs loved it I never saw it.

    Broccoli seems to be hit or miss for me. Dito for cauliflower and cabbage.

    I don't seem to get enough sun or heat to grow eggplant.

    Amaranth seems to ripen a bit late here so if we have a long season I can get some seeds but sometimes the seeds don't set until too late and the rain and cold ruin the seeds.

    I have planted shelling beans, but the yield was low and the season not quite as long as needed. I got maybe a pound for the 14x6 bed devoted to beans.

    I have grown some winter squash in the past but they didn't do well.
    Have grown celeriac before and will try again this year. It seems to do ok here.

    We have 2 European pear trees and I dry or can some of the fruit. We gave away about 30 pounds this year. We have an apple tree that has a biannual crop. It tends to be wormy so most of the apples get dried, turned into sauce and made into cider.
    We have 2 blueberry bushes and we eat all they can produce fresh.

  46. Hi,

    I live in the Missouri Ozarks on 25 acres. We have a 1400 sq. ft. garden space, a small orchard of a dozen apple and pear trees and 20 blueberry bushes. Our garden provides very well for just the two of us (we freeze and can)and also for our son in college and my husband's parents. I three season garden and use crop rotation to get the most out of my garden space. I try to grow all of my plants from seed and start my cabbages, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, etc. inside. No greenhouse yet, but our house is passive solar so we have lots of sunny windows for my seedlings.
    We have plans to expand our orchard, build a greenhouse, another coldframe and add other berry plants.

  47. Our garden in northeastern NJ - 15 miles from Manhattan - consists of 3 raised beds that are 6' X 6' each and buckets that are on raised rows in the driveway and on our deck.

    We grow lots of tomatoes of many types and use all of them usually making sauce that can be stored in plastic bags in the freezer to enjoy during the winter.

    Herbs like basel, rosemary, dill, oregano, parsley, thyme, and sage are dried for use during the colder months.

    We grow eggplant, zucchini, summer squash, a variety of peppers, cauliflower, cukes, green beans, and pumpkins.

    On the fence that borders our garden we grow a variety of gourds that we dry and I paint. Also gladiolas and sunflowers grow along this area.

    In our cannisters we grow strawberries - cannot get enough of them.

    Behind our backyard shed I always throw blindly some pumpkin seeds and am always pleasantly surprised by what grows back there.

    We have more than enough to eat and freeze and each Friday visit our local outdoors farmers market.

    Sandy in NJ

  48. Two acres. More details here:

    Photos here:

    And I have my own amatuer recipe book.


  49. This year my garden will be shared with my parents at their retirement community. The backyard at my home is too shady and my mom wants to grow some vegetables and I can help do the work, so I am "helping" her with a small plot in the community garden.

    I went to see it yesterday and would guess that it is an 8 feet by 12 feet plot. The garden plots will be tilled up for the residents this week and then we can get in and plant. We hope to have spinach, lettuce, green peas, and scallions to start followed by green beans, squash, zucchini, tomatoes, dill, basil, parsley, peppers, and whatever else tempts us at the garden store.

  50. Hi Everybody,
    This is great! Thanks for sharing so much interesting and helpful info about your gardens. Please keep it coming! : )

  51. We've always had a big garden or two, but since we moved last summer and it's just us now, we are going to try raised beds, the square foot garden method. Should be fun and alot less work.

  52. Hi Susan,

    Mine's .. well, small, compared to some of the other comments here! We moved into our house just outside of St Louis, MO last spring, and put in a 4x8 raised bed in the back yard. The soil here can be charitably described as "terrible", and is mostly clay and shale. The bed is made up of bagged soil and peat moss. I plant for just the two of us, and mostly what I want out of it is tomatoes, peas, lettuce, a variety of peppers and carrots for the summer.

    I'm thinking of putting in a second 4x8 bed this spring as well; it's a toss-up whether the yard landscaping or the garden should come first, logistically speaking.

    Last year I used a combination of seeds from Lowe's and Baker Creek Seeds:

    4 heirloom cherry tomato plants went like gangbusters and were delicious. I'm probably going to decrease down to only 2 or 3 plants this year, though - we had so many that a good third of them rotted on the vine before I could get to them.

    The heirloom snap peas came down with a sad case of wilt, and have caused me no end of headache (a tragedy, as I love snap peas like nothing else and the entire crop was a goner). I'm going to have to search carefully for a wilt-resistant strain of seeds this year, as I've read that the pest will stay in the ground where the wilted crop was planted, and I don't have enough space to move the plants to another area of the garden.

    All varieties of pepper seedlings had an early-season accident with a young miniature dachshund, and were never seen nor heard from again.

    A row of heirloom red lettuce salad mix was perfect and lasted all summer. The carrots were also sweet and perfect, and I will probably plant twice as many this year.

    There are many things that I'd like to try - onions, garlic, broccoli, potatoes, eggplant, a better herb garden - but unless we put in that 2nd bed there just isn't the space.

  53. It gets bigger every year. 2009 will see three gardens - one in Chicago (where I live full-time) and two in SW Wisc.

    Chicago: 200 sq ft.
    Wisc garden #1: 250 sq ft.
    Wisc garden #2: Don't know - but may 1/4+ acre.

    #2 is in the development stage. I hope to plant the majority of my veggies to last (via canning & freezing) for me and my husband and sell excess at a farmstand market and give to friends. You've inspired me to keep better records.

    Heirloom seeds and veggies only.

  54. Hi Susan -

    My garden consists of 10 raised beds that vary in size - it's about 40'x60' total. I grow a big variety - lettuce, peas, strawberries, blackberries, artichokes, asparagus, hot and sweet peppers, eggplant, carrots, chard, leeks, onions, corn, tomatoes, cukes, zukes, pumpkins, melons, beans, potatoes, lots of herbs and I try something different every year for fun.
    I don't buy much produce for about 6 months of the year. I'm lucky to live in the Central Valley of California - where everything grows and we have a long season. We're in zone 8/9 so tomatoes and peppers do wonderfully here!

    Here's one photo -

    We also have some fruit trees but they seem to have a harder time with the clay soil here. Lots of plums, pears, apricots and pomegranates though!

    If I can't or don't grow it there are a LOT of farmer's markets in the area, including some year-round ones which are great!

    Congrats on the cookbook!

  55. This is so fantastic! Congratulations! Unfortunately, I currently don't have a garden - I have a north-facing fire escape in Chicago, but I'm determined to make something happen this summer- I have hopes for tomatoes, beans, peas and peppers. With that said, I can't wait to read your instructions on canning, etc.

  56. Hi Susan-

    Even though I live in an urban environment (Minneapolis) I am fortunate enough to have a side yard that gets full sun. I have 2 gardens that are 4 feet wide by 25 feet long and I think we are going to extend it to 30 feet this year.

    Last year was a superb growing season for us and we had way more produce than we could eat. I started having nightmares about zucchini and what to do with them. We ended up blanching and freezing a lot of it at the end of the season. We gave a lot away to friends throughout the summer too.

    Congratulations on the cookbook!

  57. Hi Susan, I am just starting getting into growing my own vegies and have one garden bed of six tomato plants. that's it! i have been growing my own herbs (basil, coriander, parsley, sage, rosemary, lavendar, thyme, mint, tarragon) for a couple of years. we also have a very productive passion fruit vine, and not so productive lemon, lime, blueberry and lychee trees in the back yard. I am writing to you from Brisbane Australia and would love a book like yours as we get a "vegie box" from our local csa-like group and it can be a challenge thinking up what to do with the vegies we are given each week.
    All the best

  58. I have a small garden, 5 raised beds totaling about 86 sq feet, in Eugene, Oregon (we're about Zone 5 or 6).

    Climate here is great - very mild wet winters, warm dry summers, so lots of stuff grows year-round, especially herbs.

    Of course, in raised beds it's all jam-packed close together, so I can plant more than in flat ground.

    Last summer, with 3 cherry tomato plants, 6 snap-pea vines, 3 or 4 lemon cucumber vines, and some assorted other stuff, we had barely enough for the Toddler to stuff his face every time he went outside. The yields on each plant were great - I just hadn't realized how much fresh veggies would appeal to children. He let us eat all the lettuce, though. :)

    So, this summer I should have enough for the husband and me, too, by squishing in about twice as many plants in the same space (rotating crops, of course).

    I found that companion planting REALLY improved the yields. The space taken up by marigolds and borage, and helpful annual herbs, was more than made up for by pollenization and lack of pests.

    We also have several fruit trees - ask me about what to do with ten pounds of Brooks plums.

  59. I can't WAIT to buy you're cookbook!

    Ok, my garden is VERY small. I'm basically following the square foot gardening book so my garden is only slightly over 1 foot wide and around 12 feet long. Our soil STINKS and it was too costly to amend the soil unless we did it to a very small area. Anyway, I grow tomatoes, potatos, beans, spinach, basil and rosemary. Last year my tomatoes were killed by the blight. This year I hope to do some canning for the first time. Best of luck on this wonderful endeavor!

  60. First of all, CONGRATS! Couldn't happen to a nicer person.

    Our northern Virginia garden is growing this year, so to speak. Last year we had a single 4x13 bed (52 sq ft), this year we'll have over 200 sq ft, and we're trying to grow all of our own vegetables for a family of five. We plan to eat fresh and put away if we have enough. We've never had this much garden space before, so it's an experiment, but a fun one!

  61. It's hard to say exactly- this past year was bad for us, and our production was low, the year before was very good. (That year I was in charge and we tried the Square Foot gardening, by the way. This past year my husband was in charge and we didn't do square foot, also didn't plant much- life got in the way.)

    We're in S. Central PA, zone 6A, we have 2 plots about 20' by 4' where we grow beans (which we let dry on the vine) black-eyed peas, (ditto,) tomatoes, kale, chard, collards, onions, sweet potatoes, peppers, and where we kill squash plants. A 4' by 4' plot holds horseradish, another 4' by 4' is a garlic patch that didn't get planted this year. We have a rhubarb patch, a 4' by 10' potato patch, and a concord grape vine.

    There are 2 of us eating here. When everything goes well, I get enough black-eyed peas for the whole year, and enough pinto beans for a couple pots of chili. The rest; garlic, white and sweet potatoes, and onions feed us for about half of the year, and all of our kale and chard needs are met for the whole year- I freeze or can it. We eat all of our tomatoes fresh, and for some reason I am incapable of keeping squash- summer or winter- alive. Peppers are all or none- when we have a good year we have pepper for the whole year, using frozen ones, in bad years we get none. We made 3.5 gallons of wine from the grapes this fall.

    This year I will also be gardening in my neighbor's yard- so we are adding a plot about 10' by 20', and feeding between 1 and 4 people more people.

  62. Ceri!!
    You must be a neighbor.

    Can we get some of that horseradish in April? The "fresh" ones at Market of Choice in April are always pretty sad-looking...

    I'm surprised to see you calling the Southern Willamette valley Zone 8 - here in Eugene we're usually classified Zone 6. Or does the Willamette Valley go further south? (I'm a New England transplant and my knowledge of Oregon geography is really, really, bad. Really. It must be because the ocean is on the wrong side here.)

  63. Our garden is about 128 square feet - two raised beds of 8x8 each. It's small, but we moved into this house last year, and are going to slowly build from here. How much did it produce last summer? Two meals worth of green beans, and a handful of tiny tomatoes. The herbs all died, a woodchuck ate the zucchini, the birds ate the strawberries, and the peppers never fruited. A disappointing year, but I didn't expect much, given that we were still unpacking when garden season started and had so little time to plan.

  64. Hi Susan,

    I'm a fellow Missourian to the north of you I think, right smack dab in the middle of the state. I've recently started a blog, and as a long time gardener I've decided to answer your question by addressing a series of posts over the growing season to answering your first question!

  65. I have had a plot at our community garden for several years - many tons of compost added! - it's 12x24. My family of 3 is vegetarian and we eat all spring, summer and fall from it and our CSA share from the organic farm across the road. I grow a large number of varieties - 6 or 7 types of tomatoes for example, all heirloom or open-pollinated - okra, snap peas, green bean, arugula, lettuce, potatoes, eggplant, summer squash, radish, peppers, kale and other greens, almost all from Seed Savers. We don't have to buy any vegetables to speak of during that time, but I haven't mastered storage.
    This year I'm taking on a second 12x24 plot in order to grow some drying beans, melons and winter squashes, and have also added leeks and more greens.

  66. Hi Susan--Vegetable gardening has been a passion of mine for so many years so I signed up for this to be able to talk about gardening with you. I live on the Oregon Coast where summers are cool and winters are mild. We live on a 20+ acre farm. The bulk of the acreage has been used for fattening steers for market, but this year we are trying something new. We have leased the pastures to sheep owners--lambing to begin at any minute. Back to the garden--we have 11 raised beds. My DH made them from Port Orford cedar a few years ago. Before that I gardened in the same place but just flat down. It began to get difficult to get down to the ground and even harder to get up--hence my wonderful new beds. They are large ones (approx. 4' wide by 10 to 14' long. They are 2 timbers high. The tops are about a foot wide---nice for sitting. They are so easy to weed and plant now.
    I grow my own starts in my cool greenhouse and transplant to the garden---just like you. My garden is organic. It has never seen commercial fertilizer. I like to stir up my own, using organic products. I use it at transplant time. I do can, freeze and dry. Sept. and Oct. are very busy months.

  67. My garden is in Zone 5 in Southeastern WI. We live in a suburb so there isn't a lot of room for a big garden, but we make do. It's about 8' x 20'. I am also adding a raised veggie bed this year (4'x 16'). I grow all my herbs along side the south of our house and all my ruhbarb along the north side of our garage.

    We grow enough food to help supplement our CSA couple share. Some years I have enough to can tomatoes, some years not. I freeze a lot of items because I have smaller quantities that would be too much work to can.

    I plan to blog a little more about my garden and cooking this year. They are my passions!

    I can't wait to see your cookbook!

  68. I have a very pathetic urban garden that I start with gusto every year, and then ignore mid-season. HOWEVER, even with that treatment, my 10 tomato plants had me SWIMMING in tomatoes last year (late in the season thanks to our very mild early summer).
    Tomatoes probably take up about 90 square feet of the hottest, and therefore, most unpleasant and under-used sections of the yard. Thanks, tomatoes!

  69. Preface: I live in an apartment building, on the 1st floor. My landlord is nice enough to let me do a bit of gardening.

    My existing garden is about 30 square feet, and I left roughly 5 square feet fallow last year as a sort of trench composter. I don't currently have a composter, but I may be getting one this spring. Also, I'll be more than doubling the garden space here, and I've requested an allotment from the city I live in.

    Last year, I used a lot of space for tomatoes, peppers, and herbs. The tomato crop was smaller than I would've liked, mainly due to the less-than stellar conditions we had last summer. The pepper crop came out nicely, as did the herbs. I was able to get some carrots and peas as well. I wouldn't say I got enough to live on by any stretch, but it was enough to help supplement the regular groceries.

  70. I grew up with a veg garden, so now that I have my own place, putting in a garden was a must. First it was just a few tomatoes (ordered at $9 each from CA, because I wanted those "rare" heirlooms; now I know better and order the seeds and grow 'em myself).

    The garden doubled last year, from about nine beds (3'x 17') to about 21 beds, of varying sizes. Last year also saw the addition of drip irrigation.

    I live in the middle of the Adirondacks in New York, where our growing season is July and August, if we are lucky, and if we are REALLY lucky, we can add June and some of September.

    I tend to grow the old standards: peas (can never grow too many), beans, carrots, onions, greens, potatoes, cukes, pumpkins, buttercup sqash, corn (which never does well). Last year I tried broccoli (worms and all) and cauliflower (they looked awful and so got composted). Peppers and eggplants don't do well - the season is neither long nor hot enough. And, of course, tomatoes.

    Last year I must've started about 200 seedlings - something like 20 varieties. I was giving plants away and still mananaged to plant over 90 plants! My goal: the perfect homemade tomato sauce. Made over four gallons of the stuff last year, and have yet to get a flavor I like.

    This year I am going to attempt grains: spring wheat and oats. If they do well, I shall invest in a grain mill...but not until then. It would be so great to be able to make my bread from my own grains!!!

    You can read about my gardening adventures at my meager gardening blog:, should you feel so inclined. Not having a digital camera of my own, photos are few and far between.

  71. My husband and I have 5 rural acres and an old farmhouse in SW Oregon, and grow exclusively organic. We have been here for 25 years. Of those 5 acres, 3 are in open pasture, and are not used for the below food-growing efforts. Our children are grown.

    I believe that we could be completely independent in our food needs (to include some bartering for things like honey, etc.) if we utilized all 5 acres.

    My vegetable garden is approx 300-400 square feet, but i use trellises, plant lots of climbers and space intensely, so the yield is of an area much larger. This "kitchen" garden is a short walk from my back porch.

    i also maintain about 10 large pots (40-50 gallon-size each) in which i grow strawberries, tomatoes, blueberries, huckleberries and herbs in. These are clumped together in a sunny area for easy watering and care.

    I also have a plot of dwarf fruit trees that is about 800 sf in size and supports 12 trees--apricot, pluot, cherries, apples, peaches, pears. This tiny orchard is shaped as a long strip two trees-wide, that i have separated from the vegetable garden area with a circlular patch about 50-100 sf in size in which I grow annual and perennial flowers that attract pollinators needed for both. (i have mason bees for the orchard as well).

    I freeze, can and dry enough food each year to sustain us from late spring through winter and up into/through Feb, when things start to run out. Though we have the room for it, we currently do not have chickens or dairy animals, but believe that we would be nearly 90-95% self-sustaining if we did, as eggs, milk, cheese, flour and toiletries are about the only things i buy.

    i make my own jams, breads, sauces, grow mushrooms and herbs, and always cook from scratch.

    Most people who don't garden think that they wouldn't have the time to do what I do, but I've been growing and putting up our own food just like this for 25 years, all while raising a family and working outside of the home, too, so in my opinion it's simply a matter of using the time that some folks spend sitting in front of the TV, shopping at malls, or mowing acres of perfectly-manicured lawn each weekend instead gardening and preserving their own food.

  72. My gardens all put together equal about 150 sq feet so we eat most of it in season and have enough tomatoes in the freezer to make a few quarts of tomato sauce during winter.

  73. I'm in southeast Iowa and we have a 5-ft.-by-3-ft. raised garden, in which we usually plant tomatoes, green peppers, green beans, jalepenos, and last year we tried zucchini but it refused to produce. When the weather is productive -- and last year it rained too much so it wasn't -- we usually get enough tomatoes to have at each meal, and a green pepper or two a week. We save up hot peppers to do "poppers" for a meal, and also for quick salsa, and we had green beans quite a bit. This year we hope to get enough tomatoes to can or freeze some sauce and salsa, and maybe can some beans. We also plan to do tomatoes, onions and carrots. What I do can a lot of each year is apples, both in sauce and pie filling form, and I usually do these with donated or orchard-bought apples. I go through about 15-20 lbs. each summer, if not more for pies and crumbles. I put up 20 pints of applesauce, plus six quarts of sauce and four quarts of filling, last year. We are also growing three currant bushes, and in two years' time should have fruit for jam.

  74. Place: Fairbanks, Alaska
    Zone: 3
    Growing season: June-August, about 90 days
    Size of garden: I started off with four raised beds (3 feet x 6 feet), but have cut back to containers
    Amount produced: Either too much or too little depending on the weather. Last year, I put in 8 tomato plants, but only got a plateful of small, cherry-sized green tomatoes thanks to cold, wet summer. On the other hand, I plant two six-foot rows of Romaine lettuce one year and couldn't keep up with it. I wound up giving bags of lettuce away to co-workers. There seems to be a perfect balance here that I'm not able to obtain.
    Preservation method preferred: Freezing. I've tried pickling and canning and freezing is better.
    Other info: I have a hot, dry yard that weeds, grass, and shrubs seem to thrive in and very little else. This year, I plan to put in a greenhouse.
    --Robyn :-)

  75. Hi,
    I'm in Maryland. Currently live on a large farm that used to grow tobacco, now mostly soybeans. Personally, we have two raised beds (4'x8'), a wildflower field (beautiful when in bloom), and a 3 tiered strawberry patch. I have herbs in pots and various locations here and there. This year we're tilling an area to grow sweet corn and putting bluberry plants in. Hubby wants to add some fruit trees - the deer tore up the last ones we put in.
    In the beds this year will be mesclun mix, tomatoes, cantalope, string beans, snap peas, various peppers and right now the garlic I put in in October is getting ready to fill out.
    I have had great luck in the past with mostly "shopping" in the garden during the summer and freezing a LOT!!

  76. My husband and I actually run a CSA in southeast Wisconsin ( With the help of an unheated hoophouse and a very small greenhouse for germination, we deliver June through October in our Zone 4/5. Last year we fed around 200 families off of approximately 3 acres-and that, like some other people have mentioned, included a lot of room given over for potatoes, corn, pumpkins, and the like. This year, we'll be planting in 6 acres, hope to grow to about 270 families, and hope to provide a bit more than we were able to last year. And we're hoping our fledgling orchard will finally begin to produce as well!
    Can't wait for your cookbook—I've already sent many of our CSA members to your blog and included some of your recipes (with credit of course!) in our newsletters . . .

  77. Last year, we had a ton of containers and a 2 ft x 15 ft strip on the side of the house that was Totally Tomatoes. This year, we'll be adding a 13x15 plot, plus more containers. It's hard to estimate how much we produced; we dried and froze some tomatoes, ate them daily, and gave a lot away, got a steady supply of lettuce and peppers, and still have hot peppers and a few tomatoes in the freezer. The containers didn't all work as hoped, but I've learned a lot and hope to do better this year.

  78. Congrats on the book Susan!

    I'm an "Urban Gardener" and with the hot summers here and watering restrictions, I've kept my garden to a 6x8 patch. I grow tomatoes, peppers and herbs mostly but need a few more "idiot-proof" ideas.

    I'd love a chapter- or perhaps notes within your chapters- for those of us "challenged" gardeners who would still like to experience home-grown goodness. Like- what foods taste better, are better for you, basically how to get more bang for my little buck of a garden.

    I look forward to you book!

  79. I live in barbados in the West Indies, and my garden is 100' x 20' and divided into two parts. About three quarters is devoted to my fruit trees: bananas, limes, gooseberry avocado, acerola, papaya, starfruit. The rest of the garden is planted with lots of veggies. there are several types of hot peppers, and bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, edible pod peas, blackeye and yardlong beans, four types of okra, cucumbers, and squashes(four types). I also have eggplant, spinach, lettuces carrots, beetroot and herbs. I practice vertical gardening, so I tend to get alot of plants in, especially with the cucumbers and other runners.

    We dont buy any veggies from the market at all, since we cannot guarantee that they have not been sprayed. We compost as much as we can, and we use chicken and sheep manure as fertiliser when necessary.

    We do get some trouble occasionally from the native green monkeys found here on our island. They are cute to look at, but they like fruit and vegetables just as much as we do.

    I am looking forward to your cookbook, good luck.

  80. Hi Susan!

    I have a very small 4' by 6' urban plot in Atlanta GA that supplements my summer produce shopping with garden tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, okra, beans, and herbs.

    Good luck with the book!

  81. Congrats on the cookbook! I can't wait to see it!

    I live in zone 4. Iowa. Decent soil, decent rainfall, but extremes in heat and cold are common.
    My gardening space is very piecemeal. I have a community plot on the other side of town that's around 120 square feet. I try and keep that full of root veggies, so I don't have to drive over to tend it as often. 50 garlic and 100 onions last us till the lettuce starts producing in spring.

    I have a dozen+ containers on the south side of our rental house with herbs and greens and flowers. That includes the coldframe which houses most of the spinach/lettuce that I grow. The 2x3 foot coldframe provides all the lettuce my husband and I can eat from March till it all bolts in May/June. And then when I get the timing right on fall plantings that same coldframe can keep spinach alive all winter (not growing, but alive).

    The bulk of my garden is an hour North on my best friends acreage. We have an agreement where I start the transplants and save/buy seed and help her get it all in the ground in the spring, then she helps with the day to day maintenance and I go up 4 or 5 times a month and help with the heavy weeding or harvesting. I get a portion of the output, she gets a portion of the output and then we sell everything else to a local organic food co-op. That plot is 600 square feet, but I only get a small portion of the output.

    Very piecemeal, and not very efficient, but it gets me organic heirloom veggies in bulk, which is something I couldn't do on my rental property.

  82. I can't wait for the cook book!
    My garden is in zone 6a/b and about 15' x 30' plus I have 2 half barrels and several window boxes for the lettuce.

    We plant a huge amount of tomatoes (all sizes- the kids love the cherry ones) and either can or freeze sauce. There is also zucchini, crook neck, Hot peppers (several types),bell peppers, potatoes, onions, garlic, carrots, lettuce, Chard, spinach and this year fennel. We also have raspberry, blackberries and apples. In the herb garden there are the regulars - thyme, oregano, sage and a couple others.

    Each year several friend and I get together figure out what we are each planting and then plan on sharing! This makes all the work a lot more fun.

  83. Hi, there!

    I used to have an enormous garden (4000 square feet) years ago, but I'm a lot older and we have less land, so now I've turned a space 20'x50' into a potager, with ten raised beds--most are 4'x8' but a few are larger, L-shaped and three are smaller. Behind this I have an asparagus bed that's about 12 feet long.

    You can see pics of it here:

    I grow tomatoes (heirloom and modern), summer squashes, melons, cucumbers, bell peppers, eggplants, kale, collards, chard, spinach, beans, snap peas, garlic, radishes, turnips (for the greens), strawberries, lettuces, oriental greens, and a tiny patch of potatoes. This year I'm cutting back on the tomatoes a bit and adding okra and am going to try and fit in a watermelon.

    We NEVER have to buy any produce during May-June-July-August-September (except for corn), but our growing season is short, so we do have to buy fresh produce the rest of the year. Honestly, I don't find that this size garden (despite the intensive planting style I'm using now) produces MUCH in the way of excess for canning or freezing (however, I always get about a dozen jars of spaghetti sauce, plenty of pickles, and pepper relish each year)....but maybe I'm just spoiled, remember the days of BUSHELS of produce from the Too Big gardens we used to have.

    However, my potager is far more attractive than was my traditional, hoe-the-rows setup, so I spend a little time out there every day, enjoying the beauty. Weeds are rarely a problem, because of this familiarity, and due to the fact I've mulched all the paths with cedar chips, and the beds are planted so closely most weeds are smothered out.

    Oh, we live in lower zone 4, in NW Iowa.

    Additionally, on my 2/3 of an acre (which we moved to five years ago) I've planted these food crops:

    7 semi-dwarf apples (Spitzenburg, Cox Orange Pippin, Winesap, Honey Crisp, Honey Gold, Roxbury Russet, and a 4-on-1 Heirloom)

    3 semi-dwarf pears: bosc, d'anjou, and one whose name I've forgotten.

    A Reliance peach, an apricot for the north (forgot the name ;-), a Black Gold Cherry, and a plum-cherry.

    Also six gooseberry plants (primarily Invicta and Hinnoki Red), three rhubarb plants, 7 highbush blueberries, red, purple and gold raspberries, some Prime Jim blackberries, black and red currants, York and Nova elderberries (6 bushes), serviceberries of various kinds, and some native hazelnuts.

    The apples bore a VERY modest crop last year, we got ONE peach and one apricot (well, it's a start!), the asparagus bed was old enough to harvest (I wish I'd planted a bigger one; there are three of us and we could eat asparagus several times a week), the strawberries and raspberries are starting to come into their own, and the blackberries produced a large crop which, sadly, did not ripen before the first freeze.

    I'd say that within the next year or two things should really be humming along, and we'll be almost self-sufficient re: fruits and vegetables nearly half the year.

  84. i have a wee city garden. we've got half of our back yard covered by a 6x6 raised bed, and new this year a 4x8 raised bed. plus potted tomatoes and a 2x8 asparagus patch. the asparagus is an investment - we won't have any to speak of for another year or two. last year was our first kitchen garden with the 6x6 bed. it produced enough greens, beans, and otherwise to keep two people relatively well fed, but without much left for putting up. (we did freeze excess beet greens, braising greens and a ton of tomatillos). interestingly, though, my next door neighbor had even more bed space than we did but - with far less light - had very little harvest a lot. clearly conditions play a huge role in yield.

    we ended up buying a veggies from the farmers market to put up for the winter and discovered that we go through at least forty pounds of canned tomatoes over the winter.

    although i'm looking forward to a bigger and more productive garden this year, there's no way i won't be buying tomatoes from the farmer's market as long as i'm in a city house with a tiny yard.

  85. Our garden is very small - a postage stamp, really. But somehow, we've managed to squeeze in an espalier apple tree, a grape vine, some strawberry plants (in pots), blueberries (in pots). Here's a question that I'd love to have you address: My grandmother just passed away, and she has a great lemon tree that we'd like to take a cutting from and try to plant in a pot. Is that feasible?

  86. We have about a 150 sq ft garden in Central Florida - Zone 9b. We have only successfully grown radishes and a handful of peanuts. Everything. else. died. So I have the most intense case of black thumb. LOL - guess I'm no good to you. Every tomato died - every squash, green bean, pea, cucumber, pumpkin - everything. I just plain don't "get" gardening...I almost don't want to replant this month for the Spring because it costs a lot of money to get the garden ready and have everything die again. Sigh ... I suppose we will replant, but...

  87. Well, first off, I'm in Australia so the seasons are reversed. We are edging into autumn. This year my garden was a bust because I was in the states in Oct/Nov which is planting season, and then we had 3 weeks of over 35C weather and everything that was alive died. We are also on permanent water restrictions so I sometimes use grey water (rinse water from the washer) to supplement rain (ha) and regular watering. I have 2 raised beds about a meter by 4m. They are partially shaded. I have a large L-shaped bed that runs around the edges of the back yard. I have made about a spade's depth of soil in it. Underneath Canberra soil is a hard rocky clay. In addition I have 3 plum trees, one a very mature Satsuma, and 2 that are like Italian prune plums (which is what I was aiming for). I have raspberry, loganberry, blackberry and boysonberry bushes. I also have a pear tree but I'm afraid the parrots eat more than I do. I net the big plum tree to minimize loss. In a good year I am giving away beans and zucchini to all, and making pickles, jam and chutney. My garden is small compared to the garden I had in the US which was 100' square. I also have assorted herbs: rosemary, sage, oregano and bay.

  88. Susan -
    Congrats! Long time reader on both farmgirl fare and this blog, first time poster. I really enjoy your writing and look forward to a cookbook!

    Live in Dundee, Oregon (in the Willamette Valley). Our garden is 4 x 28 feet and we are trying square foot gardening this year. We've usually had enough for two and some to put away but now with an increase in our family size we have finished up my frozen stores early! My blog, which is gardening, baby stuff, and whatever else is happening in my life can be found at

  89. Susan, your blogs are so inspirational! We live in the Finger Lakes of upstate NY. Our garden is about 150 ft. by 40 ft. and we grow about the same veggies as the other posters. We have a small orchard with pears, apples, and an asian pear called Chojuro. It is a dwarf tree, and the deer ate every pear in 2007. So, in 2008, we clothespinned mesh/onion bags on the branches, and got 35 pears! They are supposed to hang on the tree until ripe in Sept...and the taste is superb! We had lots of blackberries in 08 which made great sauce for ice cream. Red raspberries were frozen IQF and the relatives ate the rest at a picnic here. Our asparagus bed is 32 years old, so I started a new one last year. We had 3 bushels of peaches for pies last year, and none the year before. We freeze green peppers unblanched for winter, and make sauce with tomatoes, using a Victorio from 1970. It separates the pulp from seeds/skins and makes sauce prep very easy! The best cherry tomato we ever had was a yellow sugar one (2008)from Pinetree seeds. Deeelicious! Good luck with your 2009 garden!Your writing is suberb and your pictures are great!

  90. I live in Davis, CA and my garden is a community garden plot that is supposedly 20 feet by 18 feet. We definitely get enough to feed the two of us, although certain things I buy at the farmer's market for various reasons. I've only had the garden 2.5 years, so I've been gradually phasing some things in and out or adjusting when I plant them.

    Tomatoes are the most important. The first summer, I planted 24 romas for sauce and 76 heirlooms. We had more than enough heirlooms for us for the season plus plenty to give away, and enough sauce tomatoes to make sauce and ketchup for more than a year. Last year, unfortunately, I planted the same and got less than half the amount, so I had to buy tomatoes to supplement.

    Otherwise, in the summer I plant 24-36 sweet peppers, one hot pepper, around 2 zucchini plants, approx. 4 eggplants, lots of basil, one or two cucumbers (not a lot of luck with these), one winter squash, one or two melons, and an assortment of things that I plant from seed (radishes, carrots, beets, etc.). In the cooler months, I've tried with varying success: cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, chard, carrots, beets, turnips, leeks, garlic (great success!), and shallots. This year for the first time I'm growing fava beans and onions. We have lettuce in the spring and fall. I'm hoping to try potatoes, too, but possibly at a friend's garden b/c of the space issue. We can and freeze quite a bit of food, and I find that I mostly don't ever have to buy anything I can otherwise grow.

  91. We live in a townhouse-type apt. in CT, so my garden is about 8'x3'. I have a few perennial herbs: echinacia, comfrey, sage, and I put in several annual herbs and veggies with not the greatest results. I think it just doesn't get enough sun, and I'm constantly competing with bugs (I quite gladly sacrificed my seed-parsley to two swallowtail caterpillars last year). I'm learning new tricks so perhaps this year will be better. The parsley in a 10" pot next to the kitchen sink does great though! In spring it will go to the garden and grow seed for the year after.

  92. Our northern Alabama garden is not large: three, raised 6x6 boxes full of compost and loam. Plus fruit bushes and trees everywhere we can fit them: fig, blackberry, blueberry, raspberry, strawberry and an ancient apple tree ("Cannon" apples, I think). Also, I gave up investing in flowers and ornamental plants last year and this year have filled deck planters with leeks, cabbage, spinach, lettuce and Brussels sprouts.

    Two weekends ago - before our bizarre two inches of snow - I planted onions, cabbage and sprouts in the garden boxes - only to have the squirrels mow them down. Who knew squirrels loved lettuce?! Am also still harvesting carrots planted last fall.

    In the summer I can my own cucumber pickles and green tomato pickles. I make apple butter, apple sauce and apple turnover from the figs (kidding)...acutally I freeze the figs.

    EVERY YEAR I plant rhubarb and every year it dies. I don't know what to do.

    Our garden barely, really, feeds the two of us and I supplement from the farmer's market. I'd love to have a much, much bigger garden, but we live "in town."

  93. The vegetable garden is 8 feet X 5 feet. The herb garden is 4 feet X 5 feet. We end up drying, canning or freezing about 1/3 of the produce. Good luck with your book. Be sure to include the donkeys.

  94. Hi Susan,
    I'm so excited for you about your book deal. I can't think of a more enjoyable writer and person worthy of this new adventure!

    When we moved to the foggy northern coast of California 15 years ago, I left a garden near Davis, CA that was 50 feet long and 25 feet wide. That's 1250 square feet - as big as some houses! In it were an apricot, peach and apple tree as well as rows where I grew green successive plantings of green beans, several kinds of eggplant, tomatoes, corn, numerous kinds of peppers. Summer temps often climbed to over 100-degrees with night temps dipping to the low to mid-70s. Herbs grew rampant and tall. Then, we were a family of five with three growing boys and the garden kept us well fed.
    Now, in my roughly 500 sq. ft. garden up against the south-facing wall of the greenhouse, I grow any kind of lettuce I can think of. chards, kales, shallots, carrots, beets, peas - both shelling and pod, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach and many more cool-weather crops that escape me at the moment. Herbs like parsley and mint grow well here, as does thyme, rosemary, sage and tarragon. I amend our very acid soil (redwoods grow right up to the garden) with composted chicken and horse manure.
    This summer I have some French pole beans I'm going to try. I know potatoes grow well here but I haven't tried them yet. Cilantro self-seeds here and grows year-round even though we got snow several times this winter and heavy frosts. I tried my hand at growing both golden and green zucchini plus some Cinderella pumpkins. The golden zucchini produced through November, the green didn't do well at all, and the pumpkins plants gave me 4 pumpkins. Oh, and I have gophers, moles and voles that burrow through the garden and munch the root veggies so I may not plant them again.
    In the greenhouse, where the chickens are currently residing awaiting their new chicken house, I was successful in growing tomatoes, peppers and basil. The eggplant didn't do well, it's not hot enough. Our average temperature here, less than a mile from the Pacific Ocean and 60 miles from the Oregon border, is 52 degrees. Not a hot weather climate at all and in the summer it's often foggy rather than sunny.
    The garden feeds my husband and I with some left over for the neighbors. And even though our garden produces enough salad greens for an army, we still go to the farmers market spring through fall for items that they can grow better than I. Plus we like to support our local farmers and fisherfolk.

  95. I'm in Brighton, UK, which is apparently zone 9A. I am on top of a chalk hill though, so not great growing conditions. There are full photos of my garden here: but it is roughly 6mx6m front and back. Around 800 square feet? I had a bad year last year ( for details!), but I normally go for a little of everything rather than true sufficiency.

  96. We have 272 sq ft of garden (2 8x8 beds, 1 6x8 bed, 1 4x24 bed) and generally eat from it every day. We are in the deeeeeep south, which means lots of rain in the fall and precludes a lot of root veggies. However, last year we planted okra 2 rows 6 ft long and had TONS of okra - totally delish since the store bought is rare and icky. Green beans, tomatoes, lettuces, squash galore. This year we should get 2x the yield since we are planting more, better and earlier. We are still newbies.

  97. We have a 12 by 16 foot community plot in ca, and a backyard garden with about four planter boxes full of lettuce, chives, and spring onions. There's two pomegranate trees (giving about 250 fruit a yr), a lemon tree, kumquat tree, and a persimmon. We have trellised cucumbers and pole beans, three types of potatoes, heirloom tomatoes, trombetta squash, zucchini, fennel, carrots,italian oregano, chocolate mint, marjoram, and tree peppers. It's quite a lot, but all the food is soo much better than storebought. Kumquat marmalade is really good too. We make about 6 pints with four pounds of kumquats.

  98. We garden in about 600 sf on the Kitsap Peninsula in WA State. Its just my husband and me, so theoretically, we could grow enough for our own use throughout the year...provided I was more organized about harvesting and putting things "up". Like a lot of gardeners, seems that everything is ready all at once and it usually coincides with the one week we plan to go camping or visit family! I'm trying to plant on a better rotation this year. We tend to stick with the tried and true veggies that don't require a lot of fuss and do well in the shorter/cooler growing season...pole beans, bush beans, peas, beets, root veggies, squash, strawberries, lots of greens of all sorts, corn, and tomatoes. I've tried heirloom tomatoes and I always come back to my Early Girls and Sweet 100's. They taste best with a slight dusting of pollen on them, still warm from the sun. My mouth is watering just thinking about them!

  99. Well, I am a little late on the bandwagon, but here it goes anyway.

    Let me start out by saying that I get a weekly box of CSA veggies and fruits, but the garden supplements it nicely and is therapy for me.

    My little 8ftx4ft garden is supplemented by a few window sill boxes of herbs. I am in Socorro, New Mexico, where we can get in at least three plantings if I am on my toes.

    Here is the general breakdown and crop yield:
    mid March-April: lettuce (leaf usually), spinach, basil, other herbs, onions, carrots, beets, etc.

    Mid May-June: TOMATOES! corn, peppers, another round of herbs, heat tolerant squash/melons

    Mid July-August: more lettuce, garlic, chard, onions, same tomatoes and peppers, cool crops.

    I have learned that things here in the high desert MUST be able to deal with 50-60 degree temperature swings in one day. But I don't have to worry about slugs :)

    The garden keeps my family of three, and occasionally more, in veggies most of the year. The basil plots mean that we have fresh pesto available most days, year round. This year I plan to try canning the extra tomatoes instead of letting them waste away.

  100. Well, first off I live in Pearl City, Hawaii. I personally have never seen the temperature drop below 60 on this island, and never above 90. We only have two seasons: the rainy season (winter) and the windy season(summer). I've just started a small 4'x20' garden along the side of my house.

    I have two okra plants that are doing ridiculously well. They are already nearing 2' high and have only been growing 3 weeks. You get 1 pod for every 2", and the plants regularly get up to 7 feet high, so about 42 pods per plant. I've also got 3 tomato plants up and fruiting already, one cherry, one grape, and one regular. I'm expecting 10 regular tomatoes, 30 cherry tomatoes, and maybe 30 grape tomatoes. I've got 3 zuchinni plants, and 5 bush bean plants which are only about 6" high. I've got one watermelon vine going, one cantaloupe vine going, along with some eggplant seedlings, cucumber seedlings, and bell pepper seedlings. I have peas and lettuce, but I don't have much hope for them because the average temperature around here is 78 degrees F. I also have about 10 herbs, and they provide me with enough that I never have to buy any, and I cook a lot. I may have to expand my garden to make room for some of these.

    The wonderful thing about Hawaii is that you can plant and grow all the summer crops year round, and they do very well. So when I do get everything organized, I can stagger the crops and have all the vegetables I need year-round.

    I also grow some tropicals and exotics, like mango, kiwi, guava, passion fruit, coffee, and tea. I am not very experienced with these, but I can give you some information if you like.


March 2013 update: My apologies for the inconvenience - I know word verification is a pain - but I've had to turn it on to help stop the ridiculous number of anonymous spam comments I've been getting every day. Thanks for your understanding.

Welcome to! Thanks so much for taking the time to write. While I'm not always able to reply to every comment, I receive and enjoy reading them all.

Your feedback is greatly appreciated, and I especially love to hear about what's going on in your own garden. I know, too, that other readers also delight in reading about your garden successes, failures, helpful tips, and lessons learned. Feel free to leave comments on older posts!

I try my best to answer all questions, but sometimes it takes me a few days to get to them. And sometimes, I'm sorry to say, they fall through the cracks, and for that I sincerely apologize.

I look forward to hearing from you and hope you enjoy your visits to my kitchen garden!