Estimating Yields and Crop-Planting Area for Your Home Garden

| 1/29/2016 2:56:00 PM

Tags: crop yield, seed catalogs, garden planning, Eron Drew, Washington,

Seed catalogs are starting to arrive at my home. A profusion of choices are laid out before me and I start lusting over new varieties and dreaming about spring. Picking out what to plant is the easy part for me. Fitting it all into a small space can be the challenge. When done correctly, the proper proportions of each crop will yield a useable harvest without over-producing or wasting space. Here is some quick advice on finding that perfect balance and planting enough, but not too much.

First, consider the demands of your family. Maybe your household loves a nightly salad. Or maybe, you look forward to canning tomato sauce in the fall. Or perhaps your goal is to put up enough pickles to last until next summer. All of these goals are worth writing down before ordering seed and before dedicating space and time to tending your upcoming garden.

Once you have determined the needs of your household, the next step is to make a note of the types/varieties that are already your favorites for each crop on your list. This can be difficult when faced with so many choices. Often, our family keeps 75 percent of our tried and true varieties from year to year and then we use the other 25 percent to experiment with newer cultivars. Typically, a small home garden has room for only one or two varieties of each vegetable to be planted.  A simple method for purchasing seed is to keep one of your old favorites and choose one new variety for each crop to be planted. It allows an enthusiastic gardener to remain excited to experiment without jeopardizing the predictability that accompanies a known good performer.

After you have chosen your ideal allotment of seed, the next step is to estimate the square footage that each crop will occupy in your garden. A gardener must think critically about the final outcome that is expected for each crop and have an understanding of how to estimate yield per square foot. The following list offers some general guidance on the typical yield/square foot for the most often planted crops in a garden. Yields will vary based off of climate, soil type and variety.

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