Grow Food in Summer That Lasts All Winter – Part 2, by J.T.

(Continued from Part 1. This concludes the article.)

One cabbage plant only produces one head weighing about two and half pounds.
We like coleslaw, cabbage rolls, cooked cabbage with potatoes, and stews with cabbage. One cabbage each week should be sufficient for eating. Like broccoli, cabbage will not survive after year end, so we will plan to harvest only about 8 heads. (I harvested one cabbage in December. It lasted in our refrigerator until it was eaten 8 months later). These plants will need an area 5′ by 6′ of garden space for 8 plants placed 2′ apart in two rows.
Start the seeds in a pot about July 1st then transplant each to a separate pot July 15th. Keep them warm and with light during daytime. Transplant them outside August 1st and expect a crown to begin showing in about two months. Cabbage can be left on the plant after maturing for 30 days or more before it becomes necessary to harvest.
One pound of cabbage will provide about 100 calories and several additional nutrients.
One frost will prevent further growth, but the plant will still survive unless the temperature falls below 26’F. A row cover will help protect this plant from a short-term hard freeze.

Each carrot seed only produces one carrot, but a teaspoon of seeds will grow over 1,000 carrots.
This plant has many uses such as: grate and put in salads or Jell-O, eat it raw, add to your stew, squeeze for carrot juice, boil them, or cut them up raw for snacks. The carrots that I grow will weigh about one fifth of a pound each; five carrots will make one pound. On average, we will consume about 10 carrots every week, or about two pounds. So, for 30 weeks, we need 300 carrots. This will only require a garden space of about 5′ by 4′.

I am going to paraphrase part of what I wrote in the tow-part article that was published in SurvivalBlog, about planting carrots, called Volume Vegetable Gardening. “Here is the planting method I recommend. On August 1st, mix 1,000 seeds in a 3 gallon bucket filled with 2 gallons of potting soil. Make sure the soil where the seed is to be planted is wet by putting at least 1″ of water on the bed just prior to planting. Spread the mixture in an area 5′ by 4′. Keep the area damp twice daily until the seeds emerge and then water at least once a week.” Of the 1,000 seeds planted, you will easily be able to harvest 300 carrots. These will need to be weeded but not thinned.

One pound of carrots will provide about 190 calories and several additional nutrients.
Like brussels sprouts, carrots do well in cold winters. However, before winter sets in, mulch carrots with 3+” of compost or straw to keep them protected from freezing which can happen if the thermometer stays below freezing over several days.

Garlic is not a plant that has any great value as a primary food source, but it can be used to enhance the flavor of just about every meal you will prepare. Also, it can be stored all winter through spring.
Depending upon the type, garlic bulbs contain anywhere from 8 and 15 cloves. When planted, each clove will produce a single bulb. We will budget 10 cloves for dinner each week which will require the planting of about 30 cloves. You won’t need any more garden space then 5′ by 2′ for these 30 cloves planted 6″ apart.

Plant the cloves March 1st one inch deep and expect to harvest them in late summer. Store them in a dry, dark, cool location like a garage or basement until ready to be eaten.

Hubbard Squash:

From each plant, you will be able to harvest one or two squash weighing an average of 10 to 20 pounds apiece.

This winter squash variety has many uses, such as: makes great pumpkin pies, soups, baked with brown sugar, or with stews. We will eat about three pounds of this squash each week. After trimming the squash, each plant should have produced about 15 pounds of ready-to-each food. So three pounds per week for 30 weeks means we need 90 pounds of squash. After dividing this by the number of pounds each plant will conservatively produce, we need 6 plants.

Squash needs a warm Summer to produce a desired outcome of 15 pounds per plant. Start seeds in six small pots on May 19th and transplant June 15th in two 5′ round beds in a garden spot covering 5′ by 15′. These plants are garden hogs so prepare to assist the vines to stay in this little space. They will be ready to harvest mid to late September.

One pound of this squash gives 90 calories and lots of vitamins.
To store Hubbard squash after harvest, wash each one in a bleach rinse and keep them in a cool dark garage or basement until ready to eat. They will last until next Summer’s harvest if properly cared for.

One spud that is planted can have a harvest impact between 3 to 10 pounds depending upon the quality of the soil and garden care overall. For purpose of this experiment, we will say that each planted seed will produce 5 pounds of potatoes.

We love fried potatoes for breakfast and baked spuds for dinner. I’m going to budget 5 lb per week. That means we will need 30 spuds for seed. Planted in two rows will require an area of 5′ by 15′ of garden space.

I usually start potatoes in March for a harvest in July. But for potatoes to last through winter and spring, we don’t want them ready for harvest until the end of summer. Therefore, I recommend planting them the first of July for a harvest that can begin in late September to late October.
One pound of spuds will deliver 200 calories.

The potato plant itself will die off long before the crop needs to be dug up. I store my potatoes by leaving them in the ground until I need about 10 pounds. Cover with mulch to protect them from freezes.

Concluding remarks:

1. When adding up the estimated calories produced by these vegetables, the total comes to 74,780, or 356 calories per day for two people (30 weeks times 7 days equals 210 days). Assuming the two of us needed 5,000 calories per day to survive then most of our food needs will be coming from other sources. If our off season garden had to be the only source of our food, we would need to increase the yield by 14 times the quantity of food we have listed above.

2. Garden space for raising these crops suggested above requires a 5′ bed to reach 116′, which totals 580 square feet. If two people needed 14 times this number, a 5′ wide bed would stretch to 1,624′. This would be a growing area of 8,120 square feet. Double this to include walking space and you will need about one third of and acre for this size garden to give you sufficient food to survive through the winter and fall season.

3. If your garden is located in an area much colder or warmer then the weather where we live, you would have needs and opportunities very different from ours. Gardens in high altitude locations have a short season and would be limited to growing veggies needed to complete a cycle in less than 2 or 3 months. Those of you in the southern US have warmer year around weather, which provides an opportunity to grow a variety of crops all year.

If I had just one message to leave it would be to start planning for your food needs for this coming winter now. Get your garden ready to plant those veggies needed for next winter and spring. Most of all, make sure you have enough beans, rice, and wheat to supplement what your garden will not provide.