How much veg to plant

Update 31 October 2009. Please see the results of the 2009 square metre bed trials which shows that it is possible to get an average yield of 8.83 kgs from a single bed by using close spacing and intensive cropping. The figures below are based on ‘row gardening’ which is more suited to large gardens and allotments.

This summarises how much to grow to feed a family of two adults and three children. Each of the rows is 4.5M (15ft) Long. Also included is advice on how much to harvest for each meal. Remember that it is always better to pick your crops fresh for each meal and eat them as soon as possible after harvesting. Leaf vegetable, in particular; begin to lose some of their nutritional value immediately they are harvested. If you have a surplus of a particular
crop, don’t allow it to get old and tough: gather it and freeze it while it is still young and tender or give it to friends.

Broad: 3 rows (plus one for the freezer, if needed), 45 cm apart, seeds 30cm (1ft) apart. Pick 340g (3/4lb) of pods when young for each adult, 226g (1/2lb) for each child. When pods have filled out, pick 226g (1/2lb) for each person.

5 rows, 30cm (1ft) apart, seeds 25cm (10in) apart. This should also give you a surplus for freezing. Allow 170-226g (6-8oz) per person.

1 double row, 60cm (2ft) apart, when grown up a support. On the flat, 4 single rows, 60cm (2ft) apart. Seeds 30cm (1ft) apart. Pick 226g (1/2lb) per person.

1 row for summer salads gives 30-40 small beet; 2 rows, 30cm (1ft) apart, for autumn and winter use.

Broccoli, Purple Sprouting
1 row of six plants. Pick without any large leaves, allowing 170gm (60z) per person.

Brussels Sprouts
6 rows, 45cm (18in) apart, plants about 60cm (2ft) apart, but distance varies according to variety. Aim for 20 early, 20 mid-season and 20 late maturing plants. Pick 26g (1/2lb) per person.

Spring: 3 rows, 45cm (18in) apart each way, some to eat as spring greens, allowing others to heart up. Allow 226gm (1/2lb) per person of greens.

Summer, autumn: 2-3 rows 9giving 20-25 heads, depending upon size), 45cm (18in) apart each way on average. For the family of five you will need a cabbage trimmed of coarse outer leaves weighing 1.10 – 1.36kg (2.5 – 3lb).

Winter: 3 rows, plants 45cm (18in) apart each way to give about 30 heads, Each with a finished weight of 1.36 – 1.8kg (3 – 4lb).

Early: 2 rows, 15cm (6in) apart, do not thin. Pull 6-9 carrots per person for earliest feeds, 4-5 when larger.

Maincrop: 2 rows, 20cm (8in) apart. Allow 170g (6oz) per person.

Spring and summer – 15 heads; autumn – 12 heads; winter – 12 heads. Winter 75cm (2.5ft) apart each way, others 60cm (2ft) apart each way, except for mini-caulis. A 1kg (2lb) head with leaves trimmed will serve five people.

1 row, 1m (3ft) wide with about 25 plants staggered and 15 – 22cm (6-9in) apart. For braising you will need 3 heads for six people.

6 plants, 1m (3ft) apart each way. Allow 226g (1/2lb) per person.

3 rows, 60cm (2ft) apart each way. Pick while young allowing 171g (6oz) per person.

3 rows, 30cm (1ft) apart, 25cm (10in) between plants. Allow one well grown leek per person.

Cos or cabbage types, 2 rows 30cm (1ft) apart, sown half a row at a time for succession, thinned 15-22cm (6-9in) apart. Depending upon variety. Pick as required for salad or sandwich use.

4 plants of bush type, 1m (3ft) apart. A 1.3kg (3lb) marrow is sufficient for the family.

Spring: 1row, sown a third at a time for succession.

Maincrop: 450g (1lb) of onion sets consists of about 100 bulbs. Place 10cm (4in) apart in rows 30cm (1ft) apart to give a finished crop totalling 22.7-36.3kg (50-80lb) which will see you through the winter and spring.

2 rows, 20cm (8in) apart 7.5cm (3in) between plants. Allow about 340g (3/4lb) of untrimmed roots per person when used as a main vegetable.

6 rows, (3 early, 3 maincrop), 1m (3ft) between rows, 7.5cm (3in) between seeds. This should give a decent surplus for freezing. For early varieties picked young allow 450g (1lb) of pods per adult. For maincrop, picked with full pods, allow 280g (10oz) per person.

3kg (6.6lb) of seed potatoes for every 3 rows produces 22.7-31.7kg (50-70lb) of earlies and up to 45kg (100) of second early and maincrop varieties, but a lot depends upon the variety and the season. Allow 170gm (6oz) of earlies, and 226g (1/2lb) maincrop (unpeeled) per person.

2 rows, sown thinly, half a row at a time for succession, 15cm (6in) between rows.

Pickling, 1 row, bulbs 30cm (1ft) apart. Cooking, 2 rows, bulbs 30cm (1ft) apart each way.

Summer, 3 rows, 30cm (1ft) between plants, 37.5cm (15in) between rows. Winter, 2 rows, spacing as for summer. Allow about 141g (5oz) of leaves picked young with a minimum of stalk.

2 rows, seeds 15cm (6in) apart, 45cm (18in) between rows. Allow 280g (10oz) of untrimmed roots per person when used as a main vegetable.

Outdoor bush type, 6 plants, 1m (3ft) apart each way. Outdoor standard type, 6 plants, 45cm (18in) apart in row.

Summer, 2 rows, 25cm (10in) apart, seedlings thinned to 10cm (4in) apart. Winter, 2 rows, 30cm (1ft) apart, seedlings thinned to 15cm (6in) apart. Allow 226-280g (8-10oz) of untrimmed root per person.

© Reproduced by kind permission of the publishers David Charles from the book “Organic Gardening” by Roy Lacey, ISBN 0-7153-9175-5.  (With thanks to Barry Webb for arranging copyright clearance).