Grow Vegetables at Home or on Your Small Farm

This long excerpt from "Grow It!" provides detailed information about soil nutrients, location, fertilizers, pH balance, planting times, plant spacing, and other factors that will affect your plants when you grow vegetables.


| May/June 1973



021-033-01a

The book from which this bounty of information about growing vegetables originates.


PHOTO: MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF

Special Note: All material here reprinted from Grow It! copyright 1972 by Richard W. Langer. The title of this excerpted chapter is "Vegetables." 

A plant is like a self-willed man,
out of whom we can obtain all which we desire,
if we will only treat him his own way
.
—GOETHE

For the small farmer, no single crop, area for area, will yield as much as the vegetable garden. When James Norman Hall was living in Tahiti, there was a shortage of familiar fruits and vegetables, and what few there were, were motley. The papayas and mangoes tasted great, but occasionally he longed for a good lettuce and tomato sandwich. Or so the story goes. He had a friend of his send him a large package of assorted superseeds to plant. Hall was busy with his writing, however; his garden suffered from neglect, and eventually expired from total insect devastation. He gave the remaining seeds to some Chinese friends, thinking that perhaps they could at least salvage a few vegetables for their family. Five months later, after carefully tending their new garden, his friends returned a huge basket of vegetables to him. Two years later he was still getting a basket a week — and the industrious farmers were supplying almost all the fresh vegetables to the town of Papeete. And that's more or less the story of any vegetable patch. Good seed and good care give superabundance.

How big you want your garden to be depends not only on how much vegetables are part of your diet, but which ones as well. The yield of tomatoes, say, is much greater than that for sweet corn occupying the same amount of ground. A one-hundred-by-one-hundred-foot garden should yield an ample supply for four plus guests. To help you plan your garden, the approximate yield per hundred-foot row is given for each vegetable in this chapter.