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Do I understand this correctly?

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Do I understand this correctly?

Post  buttaflie143 on 5/18/2011, 9:07 am

Can someone please explain how to calculate how many SFG beds are needed to feed:

  1. an adult;
  2. a child and;
  3. a toddler


  • throughout the growing season and
  • to freeze or can for the winter

I have read pages 41-42 of the book and I am still a bit confused.

The book basically says for 1 adult, you need 16 sq. feet = 1 4x4 box to feed that person one salad a day for the growing season, another 4x4 box for vegetables for that person, and another to store vegetables for that person during the winter.

So if I am reading this right. My family: 2 adults, a 7 year old, and 2 toddlers would need to feed us a salad every day, plus veggies, and winter storage -

Adults 6-4x4 boxes

Child - 27 sq. feet (3-3x3 boxes) - I would go ahead and prepare 4x4's to prepare for the future. Very Happy

Toddlers - maybe 1/2 of what the child needs, so approx. 13 sq. feet = one 4x4 box (We would need 2 of these to feed the twins)

So my family would need about 11 boxes to feed us a salad and veggies each day during the growing season and have veggies to freeze for use during the winter. Am I about right? And if I wanted to go ahead and plan for everyone for the future, we would need approx. 15 4x4 boxes? WOW!!!!
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buttaflie143

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Re: Do I understand this correctly?

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 5/18/2011, 9:21 am

Wish I could be of more help. I use these as guidelines and adjust as needed. We have different tastes than Mel. We LOVE lettuce. My kids love carrots. And, they love their radishes and peas now, too. I increase what they will eat and decrease what isn't liked.

Plus, they grow...the kids. When my child is 6, he requires less salad greens than when he grows to 12. Mel doesn't include a chart for "you have a 12 year old girl that weighs 87 lbs and a 9 year old boy that wants to be a linebacker and you that weigh 140 lbs but don't like Red Sails...and a husband that weighs 225 lbs but won't eat a salad until the doctor tells him to."

We all have specifics in our lives that will change how much, and what, we eat. These "charts" were meant to get you started with a rough guideline. You need to tweak them to your family as you gain experience over the seasons.

Happy Gardening!
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Re: Do I understand this correctly?

Post  FarmerValerie on 5/18/2011, 9:23 am

I'm not going to be much help, I tried to figure all that out and got a headache, so I quit. I just built some boxes and stuck what I knew we would eat. I did not see the need of planting that many pea plants in different boxes, so I planted a bunch in one box and we share. I have just enough lettuce for my family in 4 squares, 2 leaf lettuce and 2 romaine, we just go out and pick enough outer leaves for a salad. However, the goats have discovered these squares too, so each time it recovers, they get out and munch away. I planted more, but I guess it's to hot and it won't come out, I will try again in a few days.

I have 16 4x4's, 2 4x6's, and 6 4x8's now, and next year hope to add 2 more 4x8's, and 5 4x4's. I have that many because we love corn, and we like a variety of Southern Peas, and I have that much space for crop rotation. I have to have my corn inside my boxes because we have livestock and I want 1 fence around the whole area, and want to be able to change it's planting location (rotation) each year. Also we need space for bees, a greenhouse, a root cellar, and eventually a small pond for brim. We hope to build a house one day, but may have to get an RV to insure we have room for garden and livestock, and also insure our kids have no room to move back home once they are gone.

We also share with hubby's mother and her husband, and my dad and brother don't have room for beets so I share beets and bread and butter pickles with them.

My advice to you sweetie is to just see how much you get from this year, write that down, and make note of whether or not you need more. Plant only what you and yours will actually eat for the first 2-3 years, then try new things after that, or maybe a neighbor will swap a few things with you. Don't stress out over the details, it will all fall into place.
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Re: Do I understand this correctly?

Post  buttaflie143 on 5/18/2011, 9:47 am

re:We hope to build a house one day, but may have to get an RV to insure we have room for garden and livestock, and also insure our kids have no room to move back home once they are gone.

lol! I did think his calculations were a bit extreme given the nature of SFG. It would mean an average size family of four would need about 12 boxes, which would require quite a bit of room. Yes its still less space than row gardening, but when you don't have any space its a stretch. I on the other hand have enough space, but I would like to have some room in my backyard for my family to BBQ, play, relax, etc.
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Re: Do I understand this correctly?

Post  FarmerValerie on 5/18/2011, 10:00 am

Exactly, I will be filling in a few holes (dogs & kids) and setting up the volleyball/badmitten net this week or next. I also have grandkids so I would love to see a swingset go up, and I have a spot in the center of all my boxes to put up a glider swing for the adults. I try to keep in mind too that Mel is an engineer, so his brain just works differently than mine, if I cannot understand something, I adapt it to me and mine, kinda like following a recipe, hubby and I cannot eat onions, so we use dried chopped onions and then cut the salt. Don't sweat the small stuff, life is way to short.
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Re: Do I understand this correctly?

Post  FarmerValerie on 5/18/2011, 12:18 pm

OOPS should have said 12 4x4'x, my bad.
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