How much can you grow in a 100 Square Foot Garden?
Here's some info about Creasy's experiment. And at the bottom I have some thoughts and questions about a similar challenge.
In 2008 Rosalind Creasy did an experiment to see how much she could grow in a summer garden of 100 square feet (~9 square meters).
In her garden she planted
All together she got 235 pounds/106 kg of organic vegetables from her plot. In her area this would be over US$700/470 Euros worth of vegetables.
For the 2009 garden year she planted some cool weather vegetables earlier in the year and also diversified her summer garden. So this year she has
Cilantro (potentially she would have coriander too if she lets some of it go to seed)
Greens, Stir Fry Mix
There's a report with lots more info on the garden in the December 2009 issue of Mother Earth News.
The magazine issue has many more photos.
They also include some great tips on getting lots of food from a small plot.
The 2009 plantings and yields are now up on her website:
The garden went a little bit differently than she planned in the MEN article. She increased her diversity though with similar yields so far.
The best information I know of for developing a local strategy for juggling garden space, yields, and nutrition is the book
One Circle: How to Grow a Complete Diet in Less than 1000 Square Feet by David Duhon
The best data that I know of for yield info is in the Jeavons's book on How to Grow More Vegetables. He lists yields for steadily increasing soil fertility and experience through growing your own compost. The one thing they do suggest though is that if your soil is deficient in minerals to add those at the start since they can't be grown using compost. Also they have booklets available from Bountiful Gardens on composting and growing compost.
Info also at Bountiful Gardens on the 2100 square foot model, a scaled down one bed model, a sample plan for Kenya and one for Mexico. The Kenyan and Mexican ones are also a good resource if you want to use the One Circle type plans for spring and fall gardens and the Kenyan or Mexican type gardens for your summer garden.
There's also an experimental garden with a good summary available for reading on the internet.
This garden was grown in Santa Cruz, CA, USA which has a temperature of 50-75F nearly year round.
Does anyone know of gardeners who are taking on the Mother Earth News challenge to replicate the 100 square foot garden experiment or to do something similar if larger? Are they planning to post or blog about it? There is an elist to share tips for the 100 Square Foot Challenge
I am going to give it a try this year. What I am having a hard time deciding is whether
1) to try and maximize diversity which would increase the seed costs aspects of it
2) go for a medium amount of diversity which would keep the seed costs down and the net savings yield higher.
There are situations where I could do both such as mesclun mix.
Which example would be more appealing to you?
Last edited by Amaranth; 1-1-11 at 10:31am.
I would suggest going with what you know already, and plant those crops. If you do not know if you and your family would eat it, that would be a waste. I have done square foot gardening before, and have found the yields to be quite high. I planted three 16 square foot plots, although a zucchini takes up more than one square. My best foods in those particular gardens were the flowers, herbs, peppers, and cucumbers. Tomatoes did OK, squash/zucchini, not too good. But I enjoyed it immensely, and taught others how to do it, especially my sister and parents. They still have their boxes.
The flowers were used in salads.
You can check out my progress and crops: in the beginning: http://www.laura-n-sasha.com/FTJune2008_Week3.htm
middle grow time: http://www.laura-n-sasha.com/FTAugust2008.htm
individual pictures: http://www.laura-n-sasha.com/FTSeptember2008.htm (just scroll down)
Amaranth, I am in for the 100 sq ft garden experiment.
We have to clean up our garden of so many weeds especially foxtail that came from surrounding fields. We are going to work and fertilize with compost but the area is going to be small. I just cannot do as much as I used to do. I used to have 13 x 40 foot rows of stuff. In 2011 I am going for 5 x 20 rows which I can maintain. I am going to focus my efforts on what we can eat fresh and such items as we cannot buy easily for processing for the winter. We have such successful farmers around here that will supply our apples, tomatoes, strawberries, onions, blueberries, cherries, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, squash and peppers at very reasonable cost.
It is better for me to grow my own green/wax beans, zucchini, table tomatoes, garlic, salad items and herbs plus raspberries, apples and grapes. I want to try cukes again but the beetles seem to cause wilt so easily.
I have Jeavons book and he starts just about everything ahead of time and then transplants as other plants are coming to the end with a bit of compost to help. I can do this
We wound up needing to shift this project to 2012. Anyone want to try it along with us this year?
Also some good news. The new edition of the Jeavons' How to Grow More Vegetables book is coming out February 2012, so there may be some more useful info in that for this project.
The easist size plot for this is probably 4x25 feet, but if you need to piece together different areas to get this much, that would work too.
I bought Jeavons book and he gets such great yields by starting crops ahead of time and then popping them right into the space from a recently finished crop - very efficient!
2011 was a disaster in the garden with life getting in the way. I hope that 2012 works out better for getting some crops but using a smaller space to manage.