If you are thinking of starting your first garden and are wondering “How many plants of what do I need?”, there are a couple of ways to go about it.
One way to decide what to plant is to track what you buy for a couple of weeks. This will give you a good idea of what you like to eat. You can then plan your garden around your favorite eats. This summer, you can go to farmers markets and try out what looks interesting to trial run them for next season.
If you eat a lot of salads, greens with complimentary veggies and herbs would be a great first garden. To keep yourself in lettuce, sow seed about every 3-4 weeks. In early spring, any type of lettuce is good. Once you head into May, use varieties that withstand the hot temps of summer like:
Leaf lettuce-”New Red Fire”, “Simpson Elite”
Butterhead-”Optima”, “Winter Density:
Romaine-”Jericho”, ”Green Towers”
This table gives you the number of plants or seeds you need per pounds of produce you want to get from your garden:
If you want a rule of thumb based on your family size and don’t want to track exactly what you have purchased, just use the table for how much to grow per person in your household as a rule of thumb. You can adjust after the gardening season is over.
There are also many programs and app’s out there today that can help you know what to grow, when to plant, and will give you growing tips on each fruit or vegetable.
The biggest watch out for starting a new garden is starting too big. Start small with what you use the most in the kitchen. Herbs, lettuce, carrots, radishes, peppers, or tomatoes are great ones to start with.
Here is the basic garden I grow every year:
Herbs (1 each)-chives, thyme, rosemary, sage, oregano, and flat leaf parsley
3 basil plants (for pesto and seasoning)
3 tomato plants-1 cherry tomato type and 2 slicer types
3 pepper plants-2 sweet peppers and 1 spicy pepper
1 bush zucchini
1 Egyptian walking onion (a perennial)
8 garlic plants (you can buy cloves for planting at any big box store)
Arugula, spinach and lettuce scatter sown in self watering pots