I hope that you’ve all had an amazing holiday season! We certainly had a very special one ourselves. The time is getting here though!
So let’s start back with introductions, for those of you who are just joining us. My name is Tara, I am a mom, bus driver, wood worker, gardener and best of all a dreamer.
Four years ago I began gardening as a way of supplementing my family’s food budget as a domestic violence surviving single mom with two little boys on food stamps. Here we are getting ready to into our fifth season, remarried, plus another little man, and no more food stamps! It’s a great accomplishment and one that I am completely proud of. The system which was intended for people who needed help in a time of need has becomed flawed, I don’t know where, I don’t know why, but as someone who has been on the system I can tell you that it is most definitely not functioning to help people get off and regain independence.
So four years ago I started producing food for my own family, it wound up being a terrific savings, three years ago I started reaching out to the elderly with seasonal overage, two years ago I expanded to people on social media, and last year in what was both a bust and success I opened a small FREE farm stand that no one seemed to want to take from and didn’t work, but I gave to local homeless and that did help them and did work and I was quite happy with.
So it begged the question what’s next? I took time to honestly think about that, I looked into commercializing the blog and even reached out to some big names in gardening. I got great feedback, interest from companies (which I totally never expected honestly), I talked to other bloggers about doing guest pieces and collaborations. And I sat and thought about all of it. The truth is I don’t think that is where I am yet in this journey. So what then…
Getting off of state assistance led me to a great deal of research on what it would take to grow for a family of five to sustain for a year. So moving away from in the present farm to fork, to depression era gardening.There we go, it was like a lightbulb folks!
During the Great Depression families would grow and save their vegetables and fruits for the year. That’s right, do not adjust your monitor, or phone I said YEAR. Now obviously we have to think about this realistically, I live in Zone 6B so I’m not growing bananas or citrus fruits that will stay a staple for the grocery store, but what if you could grow and process just about everything else.
Just imagine it with me for a moment?
Some things I typically grow like beans, we are talking some major boosts in numbers from 5-6 total, to 10-20 per person in my family. This means the utilization of a lot of different methods of growth to get the most of the about 16,000 square footage of planting space I have available.
It’s still January, and New England, though so I have a lot of time at least another 60 days before early first plantings go in the ground. So this puts us in the planning stage!
Planning what to grow for your family to eat for a year is no small feat indeed, you also can’t think about it in terms of what you just eat as itself. You can make 800 cans of diced tomatoes, but will you eat that many? I began thinking about other frequently used products that are easy enough to make at home also ketchup, pickles, salsa to name our highest frequency.
Here is our current list for the season. With about how many plants we will need for a family of 5 with a little extra so we can continue our outreach to offer free organic food to those who otherwise might not be able to obtain it.
- Beets – 55
- Beans- 55
- Broccoli – 30
- Brussels Sprouts – 15
- Cantaloupe – 10
- Carrots – 55
- Cauliflower – 30
- Burpless Cucumber – 18
- Pickling Cucumber – 18
- Honey Dew Melon – 10
- Peas – 160
- White Potatoes – 60
- Sweet Potatoes – 30
- Sugar Pumpkins – 5
- Giant Pumpkins THESE ARE JUST AWESOME
- Zucchini – 15
- Yellow Squash – 15
- Acorn Squash – 12
- Butternut Squash – 12
- Spaghetti Squash – 12
To accommodate roughly 650 plants we will be using vertical cropping and square foot gardening, as well as traditional planting methods, and even though spring is still 10 weeks away, seed starting will begin in just a short 5 weeks.
Have a wonderful day!
Peace Love Salvation