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What to plant in the Food Pantry plot

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What to plant in the Food Pantry plot

Post  GreenBlueberry on 4/25/2011, 9:51 am

Our community garden has a 4x8 plot designated for a food pantry charity in our area. It's supposed to be maintained by all the gardeners, but I'm going to take an initial stab at it.
Any suggestions on a garden plan? I planted all these "experimental" stuff in mine, but this one has to be more productive. Do I still add marigolds? How much of each?
Help!
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Re: What to plant in the Food Pantry plot

Post  dizzygardener on 4/25/2011, 11:26 am

I take it you all are donating fresh veg?

If so, BHG has a garden plan for a high yield SFG. Check this link and scroll through to high yield http://www.gardeners.com/on/demandware.store/Sites-Gardeners-Site/default/Page-KGPPreplanned

501bs of food in a 6x3 SFG...
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Re: What to plant in the Food Pantry plot

Post  Furbalsmom on 4/25/2011, 11:29 am

I am growing a food pantry plot in our community garden. (if I can ever get the rest of the dirt turned again) Unfortunately the only SFG aspects will be the spacing and grids. Compost has already been added. No Mel's Mix for the community garden.

I am planning squash, lots of beans both for green beans and for dried beans, sugar snap peas (we can grow peas here pretty much all summer) broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, collards, carrots, potatoes, one pepper and a couple of tomatoes. The peppers and tomatoes are not especially productive here and tomatoes are more fragile as far as storing at the food pantry.

My plan includes not growing much in the way of salads, but concentrating on more nutritious foods that are successful in our cool, wet climate.

I would be glad to hear other suggestions too.

Greenie, marigolds are such good companion plants with pest repellant properties that a few will not take away much room from the produce.
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Re: What to plant in the Food Pantry plot

Post  walshevak on 4/25/2011, 1:03 pm

I would try pole beans, collards, kale, peppers, tomatos, eggplant, okra, cowpeas, and squash. You are already into the summer planting zones. Some basil and marigolds for bug patrol and maybe onion sets or transplants at the intersections of the grid.

I am going to try edame this year, but I don't know how productive it is and you want the most for the space.

Kay

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Re: What to plant in the Food Pantry plot

Post  quiltbea on 4/25/2011, 3:10 pm

That's not a very large piece of garden for the Pantry.

I'd go with bush beans. You'll get lots of those to harvest and you'll feed more families.

If you try broccoli, cabbages, and others that have only one per square, your supply would be limited and only a few families will benefit.

We did well with bush beans last year but we have more designated Food Pantry space in our community garden than you. We did bush beans, summer squash, butternut squash, tomatoes, and sugar snap peas and even a few watermelon for families.

This year it'll be peas, beans, sweet corn, summer squash, carrots, and we're still up in the air on other things.

I would grow something that gives a lot in that amount of space so more can benefit.
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Re: What to plant in the Food Pantry plot

Post  ashort on 4/25/2011, 3:38 pm

You know you are an analytical OCD type when you start thinking about KCal per sq ft per unit of time....

Corn: 63cal / ear x 1.5 ear per plant x 4 per sqft x 180 growing days /90 seed to harvest days = 756 cal /sq ft / growing season

Beans: 10 cal / oz x 6 oz per plant x 9 per sq ft x 180 day growing days / 60 seed to harvest days = 1620 cal /sq ft / growing season


Seems to me that beans are the answer
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Re: What to plant in the Food Pantry plot

Post  boffer on 4/25/2011, 4:08 pm

Wow, ashort, I haven't seen a cal/ft2 breakdown before; I like it.

I would start with:

What does the food pantry say is most popular, or wish they had more of to disperse?

Which of that stuff is easiest to grow in your climate?

Which of that stuff can you get the most of out of a square?

Would it be a treat for all involved to donate expensive stuff like tomatoes and herbs?
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Re: What to plant in the Food Pantry plot

Post  dizzygardener on 4/25/2011, 4:38 pm

@ashort wrote:You know you are an analytical OCD type when you start thinking about KCal per sq ft per unit of time....

Corn: 63cal / ear x 1.5 ear per plant x 4 per sqft x 180 growing days /90 seed to harvest days = 756 cal /sq ft / growing season

Beans: 10 cal / oz x 6 oz per plant x 9 per sq ft x 180 day growing days / 60 seed to harvest days = 1620 cal /sq ft / growing season


Seems to me that beans are the answer


Shocked study thinking :scratch: Sad ...
study thinking :scratch: pale huh?
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Re: What to plant in the Food Pantry plot

Post  ashort on 4/25/2011, 4:46 pm

@boffer wrote:Wow, ashort, I haven't seen a cal/ft2 breakdown before; I like it.

I would start with:

What does the food pantry say is most popular, or wish they had more of to disperse?

Which of that stuff is easiest to grow in your climate?

Which of that stuff can you get the most of out of a square?

Would it be a treat for all involved to donate expensive stuff like tomatoes and herbs?

All good questions!
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Re: What to plant in the Food Pantry plot

Post  ashort on 4/25/2011, 4:51 pm

@dizzygardener wrote:
@ashort wrote:You know you are an analytical OCD type when you start thinking about KCal per sq ft per unit of time....

Corn: 63cal / ear x 1.5 ear per plant x 4 per sqft x 180 growing days /90 seed to harvest days = 756 cal /sq ft / growing season

Beans: 10 cal / oz x 6 oz per plant x 9 per sq ft x 180 day growing days / 60 seed to harvest days = 1620 cal /sq ft / growing season


Seems to me that beans are the answer


Shocked study :scratch: Sad ...
study :scratch: pale

Trying to determine which vegetable you can get the greatest number of calories out of per square foot. When going for straight efficiency, you want the most output per input. The above was a crude attempt to compare the end results of planting corn versus planting beans.
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Re: What to plant in the Food Pantry plot

Post  dizzygardener on 4/25/2011, 4:57 pm

Thanks ashort, but I think it's pretty well hopeless trying to explain that to me. I'm terrible at math. I still don't know how I got a 607 on the math portion of my GRE. It must have been God 'cause it darn sure wasn't me. LOL
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Re: What to plant in the Food Pantry plot

Post  boffer on 4/25/2011, 5:20 pm

Usually everyone compares $/ft2 to determine efficiency.

For example: one square foot of a SFG box costs $5 to set up. The first planting in that square was a tomato plant that grew 20 pounds of tomatoes at $X.XX per pound. Bottom line: if you eat a lot of tomatoes, you saved a lot of money. As compared to corn: 2 ears from the square the first year, which you could have been bought at the grocery store for $1.50. You lost money.

But when it comes to the bottom line of what is providing the greatest amount of basic healthy foods per square foot, cal/ft2 is a better indicator of value. Remember, we're talking healthy calories. Ashort pointed out that beans provide more calories per square than corn. I would guess that corn provides more calories per square than tomatoes, which provides more calories per square than broccoli, which provides more calories per square than radishes.

Think of it this way : cheapest to produce for the health value.
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Re: What to plant in the Food Pantry plot

Post  ashort on 4/25/2011, 5:47 pm

@boffer wrote:Usually everyone compares $/ft2 to determine efficiency.

For example: one square foot of a SFG box costs $5 to set up. The first planting in that square was a tomato plant that grew 20 pounds of tomatoes at $X.XX per pound. Bottom line: if you eat a lot of tomatoes, you saved a lot of money. As compared to corn: 2 ears from the square the first year, which you could have been bought at the grocery store for $1.50. You lost money.

But when it comes to the bottom line of what is providing the greatest amount of basic healthy foods per square foot, cal/ft2 is a better indicator of value. Remember, we're talking healthy calories. Ashort pointed out that beans provide more calories per square than corn. I would guess that corn provides more calories per square than tomatoes, which provides more calories per square than broccoli, which provides more calories per square than radishes.

Think of it this way : cheapest to produce for the health value.

I likes the way you think.... cheers
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Re: What to plant in the Food Pantry plot

Post  GreenBlueberry on 4/25/2011, 7:46 pm

Thanks all for the ideas. This is not the only source of produce for the pantry, the coordinator just set one plot out of the 36 so it would be a common project. Since it's the end of April and it is still empty, I took the initiative to get it set up.
So far I have tomatoes, okra, beans, snap peas and peppers. I will stay away from lettuce, broccoli and such since it's getting too hot, maybe for the fall. I wish I had saved more basil seedlings because dang, it's expensive. I'm already over budget with my SFG.
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Re: What to plant in the Food Pantry plot

Post  kjenkins82 on 4/25/2011, 7:57 pm

If you have some basil plants of your own going, you can propogate some for the food bank plot pretty easily. Just take a cutting that is at least 3 inches, take off the lower leaves, and put it on the windowsill in a glass of water. When you have roots that are a couple inches long you can move it to soil.

I feel your pain--I'm way over budget this year too. Embarassed

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Re: What to plant in the Food Pantry plot

Post  shannon1 on 4/26/2011, 12:31 am

Edemame is even more productive that green bush beans, and full of protein. They are easy to freeze and cook, ever so yummy to boot.
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Re: What to plant in the Food Pantry plot

Post  LittleGardener on 7/25/2011, 9:24 pm

@boffer wrote:Usually everyone compares $/ft2 to determine efficiency.

For example: one square foot of a SFG box costs $5 to set up.
The first planting in that square was a tomato plant that grew 20 pounds of tomatoes at $X.XX per pound.
Bottom line: if you eat a lot of tomatoes, you saved a lot of money.

As compared to corn: 2 ears from the square the first year, which you could have been bought at the grocery store for $1.50. You lost money.

But when it comes to the bottom line
of what is providing the greatest amount of basic healthy foods per square foot, cal/ft2 is a better indicator of value. Remember, we're talking healthy calories.

Ashort pointed out that beans provide more calories per square than corn.
I would guess that corn provides more calories per square than tomatoes,
which provides more calories per square than broccoli, which provides more calories per square than radishes.

Think of it this way : cheapest to produce for the health value.
Thank you for sharing Smile
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Re: What to plant in the Food Pantry plot

Post  JustMe on 7/26/2011, 4:00 pm

This idea has really gotten the wheel turning at our house. My kids have been really inspired by our SFG (b/c stuff is actually growing) and by 'First Garden,' a book about the White House vegetable garden. They would now like to grow food for our food pantry next year.

We've been on the fence about expanding our SFG but this is tipping the scales of doing so.

I called our food pantry to ask about what they accept (no preference stated) and when they accept it. Turns out they are having an open house this Sunday, so I think our family will have a field trip this weekend.

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