Prep Monday—How Much to Plant


For us, the goal is to grow everything we eat, enough for an entire year. Back in the old days, people did this without the benefit of power tools and grow lights, greenhouses, etc. I’m not opposed to using whatever tools you prefer, but it’s also good to know how to do things old school and to plan for particular times during the year—for instance, you’ll probably not be eating many fruits or vegetables out-of-season.

The big question, of course, is how much to plant? How many hills of zucchini do you need (ha!) and how many rows of potatoes? You will, by necessity, need to store foods throughout the year, whether by canning, freezing, or dehydrating, or simply using cold storage like a root cellar.

Based on my research and modifications, here’s what we should plant in the garden to feed 2-3 people for one year:

Roma tomatoes—12

Big Boy or Beefsteak—2

Cabbage—8

Corn—180 feet

Carrots—40 feet

Cucumber—8 hills

Kale—60 feet

Romaine/iceberg—23 feet

Cantaloupe—8 hills

Onion sets—113 feet

Green onion—23 feet

Bell pepper—9 plants

Jalapeno—9 plants

Potatoes—225 feet

Spinach—60 feet

Zucchini—6 hills

Yellow squash—6 hills

Acorn squash—8 hills

Green beans—111 feet

Now, you might not like or use these, or you might add other varieties. And this is a partial list, for us. The important thing is to plant what you will EAT, not what a website or calculator or blog tells you to plant. But these numbers will give you a good idea of how much you’re going to need throughout the year.

Think about this: let’s say you’re going to make spaghetti sauce; you’ll need onions, peppers, and tomatoes, just from this list alone. How often do make this? How often do you use some kind of tomato sauce or paste or diced or stewed varieties?

That’s a lot of tomatoes! I did an experiment of sorts last year—even though my tomato crop was abysmal. I still have a few jars from last year’s canning, but I cheated a few times and bought commercial sauce.

Also last year, I had gardens at two different homes, and since I was at each one about half the time, the plants all suffered. But I digress. You’ll want to make adjustments based on your typical usage and tastes, and of course, space.

This year, we’ve doubled our garden size, and here is what we actually planted:

Asparagus—20 feet

Potatoes—40 feet

Spinach—20 feet

Onions, both kinds—40 feet

Tomatoes, both kinds—16 plants

Cabbage—20 feet

Carrots—20 feet

Garlic—20 feet

Kale—20 feet

Romaine/butter—40 feet

Jalapenos—15 plants

Bell peppers—15 plants

Green beans—40 feet

Kidney beans—20 feet

Pinto beans—20 feet

Sweet corn—40 feet

And finally, 6 hills each of cucumbers, watermelon, cantaloupe, yellow squash, acorn squash, and zucchini.

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Assuming a typical yield, I’ll still likely have to supplement from farmers’ markets or stores, but I think on most of this we’ll come pretty close. And this, by the way, is less than half our garden area.

There is a silver lining though, in all this garden work: you’ll eat less and exercise more . . .

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fiction or Prediction?


So, I have a plan: Thursdays are book days, as in my own books, REDUCED and REUSED.

[blink]

That’s as far as I’ve gotten.

Okay, okay, I’ll give it my best shot – we writers aren’t always adept at promoting our own stuff. But here are some reasons you should read REDUCED (and REUSED and, in July, RECYCLED):

Because you’re a woman.

Women in my books – although there are a few men, and male readers do seem to enjoy the books – do not take crap from anyone. They shoot, they track, they even blow up things. But all violence is directed towards the bad guys, so that’s okay, right?

Because you’re, um, older.

There are plenty of YA, end-of-the-world, shoot-em-up books on the market already which means simply that a lot of teenagers are running amok. In REDUCED, my characters are nearly or over thirty at the very beginning, close to forty at the end, and yet, they STILL don’t take crap from anyone. Why should teenagers get to have all the fun?

Because you like being outdoors.

You know, camping, hiking, maybe some extreme sports, although I don’t really go into much of the latter. But, especially since the bad guys are bent on destroying almost everyone and everything, these gals in REDUCED don’t have a lot of housing options. Tents, caves, abandoned and falling down buildings; you use what you can find, right?

Because you want to be self-sufficient.

This can cover a lot of territory: finding food and shelter and any amenities that are still lying around; able to find your way around without getting lost; doctoring injuries and illnesses. Stuff you maybe wonder if you’re capable of doing, and here, in REDUCED, you can learn some basics while escaping into an alternate reality of your own.

Does that make sense? A reader will know what I mean: you read to imagine, to feel, to put yourself in a character’s shoes and live the story with her. Even if you don’t really want to take off and live in the woods, you can imagine it all right here in REDUCED.

Because you’re a prepper.

What does this mean, exactly? Well, it means you’re ready for… whatever. Some prep for Armageddon, some for rioting and a police state, some for economic collapse – these last can certainly go hand in hand – and some for weather-related events. The point is that, in REDUCED, these folks knew something was going to happen and they were ready for it. If you had to jump in your truck and head out, where would you go? How would you live? With a group, family, friends, or by yourself?

You know how they say that you should have six months’ salary socked away somewhere? Good plan, but IF something happens, even a tornado or an earthquake, money will probably be your last concern. Not that having cash on hand, hidden away – and I’m not talking a small fortune, just some cash for immediate needs – could make things a little dicey in a weather situation. Ditto for food and water.

There’s a whole movement out there for prepping. Some are diehard preppers, most do a little here, a little there. A lot more people than you might think are getting ready… for something.

And that’s what REDUCED is about: getting ready, being prepared, and taking action. If you like action, if you like reality-based fiction, you’ll love REDUCED!

Conveniently, look over to the sidebar on the right of this page – you buy both books by clicking RIGHT THERE!