With a bad economy at hand and garden planning just around the corner I thought a chart might be helpful to some folks looking for concrete direction.
The estimates given below are for the vegetable production and preservation needs for a family of 4 for approximately 300 days.
In practice the amount of food listed will probably last much longer and should extend into the following year’s growing season.
My figures are based upon my own experience, old cook books and some USDA and agricultural extension service recommendations from the 1950′s through the 1970′s.
You will notice that some figures don’t seem to correlate exactly. That’s my personal experience and judgement kicking in.
Quart and pint quantities are both listed for convenience. These quantities can be either frozen, home canned or dehydrated.
Please take into consideration that the needs of every family of 4 are not the same and that food needs are always changing.
Families with young children will not have the same requirements as families with growing teens.
In general terms a family of 4 will need approximately 600 – 725 quarts of vegetables for 300 – 365 days. This is based upon the assumption of 1/2 cup or 4 ounce serving size, with 4 servings per day. For home canning purposes and winter storage the rule of thumb is 80 quarts of fruits and vegetables per person. With 20 of those quarts being tomatoes. Again the amount will depend upon family habits and cooking preferences.
Amounts will also depend upon location. Families with a short growing season will need to store more than families with a long growing season.
It may seem like a lot of vegetables but it really isn’t. One large pot of homemade vegetable beef soup can use 4 – 5 quarts of vegetables alone. A large pot of chili can use 2 quarts of tomatoes.
White or Irish potatoes have also been included. This is based upon the premise that potatoes will be served 3 times a week. Some families will want more than that – some will want much less.
Cabbage has been included in the chart. The amounts listed are with freezing, sauerkraut and cold storage in mind. Tomatoes for tomato juice and tomato sauce have been included. I kept the tomatoes with the vegetables instead of fruits for simple convenience.
You will also note that some vegetables are not included in the chart. This is simply a reflection of personal and geographical food preference.
I only eat sweet potatoes occasionally and seldom eat turnips so I don’t grow them. If you like turnips or sweet potatoes or any other vegetable you will want to substitute one vegetable in the chart for another.
Take note that many vegetables like celery and onions will be cold stored, frozen or dehydrated for cooking at a later date. Vegetable quantities are based upon the assumption of cooking from scratch 3 times a day.
Also please note that vegetables that cannot be preserved – lettuce, radishes and such – have not been listed. Only vegetables that can be preserved have been charted.
There are many variables in gardening throughout the United States. The chart was written with my specific experience, growing location and skill set in mind.
Your vegetable garden may be more or less productive than mine, and you may be a more skilled or less skilled gardener than I am.
There is noted in the chart the per person foot row requirement of vegetables to be consumed throughout the active growing season.
The recommendations given are generous and will probably yield more food than can be eaten by the family in a reasonable amount of time. This is especially true for families with very small children.