How much space do I need?

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Herbivore
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How much space do I need?

Post: # 292583Post Herbivore
Mon Mar 18, 2019 9:11 am

You probably get this question all the time, but I couldn't find what I was looking for.

I've started digging my veg patches yesterday. I went for 4 patches: one each for high, medium and low nutrient demanding plants and one for green manure, so I can rotate. Each patch is 2x4 m, which looked like a lot, but that's only 8 m2 each.

How much space do I need for one person? What are your personal experiences?
Steffi

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Re: How much space do I need?

Post: # 292584Post Green Aura
Mon Mar 18, 2019 10:07 am

It's impossible to give you an exact figure but I think you probably don't need as much space as you think, as long as you keep the beds working with a combination of succession, companion and inter-planting. Apart from your fallow bed, which is essentially out of action for best part of a year, you can keep the other beds working all-year round with fresh additions of compost and maybe manure or seaweed (depending on the crop that year).

What you don't want is to plant everything once and harvest everything at the same time, unless you have seriously considered methods/room for storage and preservation. So plant things like fairly quick growing veg, like carrots or peas, a row every couple of weeks or so. You may be able to keep some growing under cloches in the winter. Longer growing plants, legumes, brassicas , other root crops etc I plant in rotation. Legumes (nitrogen fixers) first followed by brassicas the following year as they're greedy. Being slow growing though gives you ample time to inter plant with quick growing salad veg that are grown and picked before getting too crowded or shaded by the larger plants.

I don't grow things like squashes or potatoes in my main beds - squashes take up too much room and I've never yet managed to harvest every tiny potato so end up with "freebies" growing year after year. Great in their place, but not what you want growing up through other plants. I use some large tubs for things like courgettes in a place where their large umbrella shape won't shade anything else too much and other squash can either trail or climb at will. I like potato towers, or bags, dotted round filling gaps here and there in the garden.

Companion planting is a huge topic but essentially you choose plants to grow together which encourage or protect other plants. For example, growing chives or other smelly plants around or among carrots helps deter carrot root fly, which use scent to detect their target.

I think you've got plenty to be going on with - if you find you need more you can always create new beds. Better to start slow and build on it - unless you're planning to sell your excess produce! You'll need room for fruit trees and soft fruit shrubs too. Maybe some perennial veg, herbs etc too.
Maggie

Never doubt that you can change history. You already have. Marge Piercy

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ina
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Re: How much space do I need?

Post: # 292585Post ina
Mon Mar 18, 2019 11:49 am

I'm never that organised... Courgettes/squashes etc go on the compost - next year that gets spread out over other beds. Otherwise, although I do try to follow crop rotation, I generally end up planting where there's space! And don't forget, one person can only eat so much of a certain veg, especially when it's the kind you want to eat fresh (lettuce, for example, or mange tout). So don't plant too much of one thing, or at least stagger the planting/sowing. Mind you, it varies from year to year, too. One year two courgette plants are OK for me - next year I can supply the entire neighbourhood from those two plants.
Ina
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Herbivore
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Re: How much space do I need?

Post: # 292586Post Herbivore
Mon Mar 18, 2019 12:29 pm

Pumpkins will not go into my main beds either. They will either go on the compost or on an extra patch of soil mixed with horse manure. If that works with courgettes too, they will get a similar spot.

I will also have an extra patch with asparagus and one with jerusalem artichoke (though they will probably go into a big container, so they don´t end up all over the place).

I do have plenty of fruit trees and also some berry shrubs as far as I can tell. Since I have only moved there last month, it will be a bit of a surprise in spring/summer :icon_smile:

Staggering the sowing of the quicker growing veggies is a very good advice.
Steffi

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Flo
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Re: How much space do I need?

Post: # 292587Post Flo
Mon Mar 18, 2019 5:04 pm

You are so right about the Jerusalem artichokes - and do be careful how you compost any remains as the blighters are like dandelions and docks, given to returning from next to nothing.

Your first year is always experimental whilst you learn where the sun shines best (or not) and what the soil is really like. I took on what looked like a good allotment to find that it had minor club root issues (cured by liming mostly and a third year should solve it). But the onion white rot is a pain - either one doesn't grow onions, shallots, leeks, garlic or one invests in resistant strains which makes growing your own too expensive in practical terms.

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Re: How much space do I need?

Post: # 292588Post Weedo
Tue Mar 19, 2019 9:49 am

it also depends on how your growing seasons pan out as to what you can grow when -( I note you are in the northerns climes so should take note from those in your lattitude) I have a long growing season with mild winters so can crop something for most of the year; however I also have hot, dry summers so leafy veg does not do well
Don't let your vision cloud your sight

Herbivore
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Re: How much space do I need?

Post: # 292589Post Herbivore
Tue Mar 19, 2019 1:05 pm

Right now I feel like I need a degree in horticulture... There is so much information and so many things to consider, I don´t really know where to start.
Steffi

ina
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Re: How much space do I need?

Post: # 292590Post ina
Tue Mar 19, 2019 1:16 pm

Herbivore wrote:
Tue Mar 19, 2019 1:05 pm
Right now I feel like I need a degree in horticulture... There is so much information and so many things to consider, I don´t really know where to start.
I know - you can have too much information! Start small. A degree in horticulture doesn't guarantee that you are a perfect grower... I have a degree in agriculture - but that doesn't make me a perfect gardener, either!
Ina
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Re: How much space do I need?

Post: # 292591Post Green Aura
Tue Mar 19, 2019 6:59 pm

It might be easier to get a book that you can dip in for bits of information as you need it. Anything by John Jeavons is pretty good - I think you can get digital versions.
Maggie

Never doubt that you can change history. You already have. Marge Piercy

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage. Anais Nin

Herbivore
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Re: How much space do I need?

Post: # 292592Post Herbivore
Wed Mar 20, 2019 7:49 am

Green Aura wrote:
Tue Mar 19, 2019 6:59 pm
It might be easier to get a book that you can dip in for bits of information as you need it.
Yes, I definitely need a good book!

I will check the books by Jeavons and I'm also digging through the Book Review section atm and have already found some (way too many) books that sound interesting
Steffi

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Green Aura
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Re: How much space do I need?

Post: # 292593Post Green Aura
Wed Mar 20, 2019 8:33 am

:thumbright:
Maggie

Never doubt that you can change history. You already have. Marge Piercy

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Re: How much space do I need?

Post: # 292594Post Odsox
Wed Mar 20, 2019 2:01 pm

I'm not sure if this helps or not ... probably not.
I'm self sufficient in vegetables most of which I grow in 2 polytunnels. The combined ground area of the tunnels is 85 M², plus I grow potatoes and maincrop peas (for freezing) on a patch outside which is 32 M².
Then I have greenhouses for growing tender stuff like tomatoes, cucumbers, aubergines, etc. which amount to about another 25 M², but a percentage of that are paths.

So for a family of 2 that amounts to 142 M² of beds, plus fruit trees and bushes.

I now know why I'm permanently exhausted ... :lol:
Tony

Disclaimer: I almost certainly haven't a clue what I'm talking about.

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Flo
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Re: How much space do I need?

Post: # 292595Post Flo
Wed Mar 20, 2019 2:40 pm

But it's taken you a few years to get that far Odsox. You have to remember that Herbivore is just starting on the journey. You can't teach experience. That has to be learned on this growing lark. :lol:

Herbivore
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Re: How much space do I need?

Post: # 292596Post Herbivore
Wed Mar 20, 2019 6:48 pm

Odsox wrote:
Wed Mar 20, 2019 2:01 pm
I'm not sure if this helps or not ... probably not.
It does help. It also made me feel slighlty discouraged for a moment :icon_smile: but at least I know now what I will have to be working towards
Flo wrote:
Wed Mar 20, 2019 2:40 pm
But it's taken you a few years to get that far Odsox. You have to remember that Herbivore is just starting on the journey.
Thank you, Flo. Now I feel better :)
Steffi

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Re: How much space do I need?

Post: # 292597Post Odsox
Wed Mar 20, 2019 7:16 pm

Flo wrote:
Wed Mar 20, 2019 2:40 pm
But it's taken you a few years to get that far Odsox. You have to remember that Herbivore is just starting on the journey. You can't teach experience. That has to be learned on this growing lark. :lol:
Sorry Herbivore (and Flo), I was just attempting to answering the original question of "How much space do I need".
The polytunnels and greenhouses DID take a while to construct, but I did start with the empty ground, and now I've reduced the acre available to about 142 M², which is a lot easier for an old man to tend.

Plus it answers the question of "How much space do I need" to become self sufficient in vegetables for 2 people.
But it doesn't all have to be done in one go ... :wink:
Tony

Disclaimer: I almost certainly haven't a clue what I'm talking about.

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