It's garden planning season! How do you know how much food to grow for canning? Well, there’s no straight answer because there’s too many variables. While canning recipes are consistent, plant yield is based on crop variety, season length, weather, soil type and quality and soil inputs. We also need to account for family consumption rate, ages, number of family members, etc.
But what we *can* do (no pun intended) to determine how much to grow is start by evaluating what you make for meals in an average week:
1. How often do you buy specific canned goods/ingredients?
2. From there, determine how many canned goods of a certain type you need.
3. Next we look at how many pieces of produce (on average) go into your desired can size.
4. Research crop variety average yields.
5. If we know how much food we need, we can better determine how many plants we need.
Here’s my calculations for what my family of four eats based on the following common items. Yours will look different and this is just an example.
Stats: 13 pounds are needed per canner load of 9 pints / 3 Tomatoes per pound /39 tomatoes in 9 pints / 4.3 tomatoes per pint / 1 plant can yield 20 tomatoes (average) / 104 pints needed
448 tomatoes needed
23 plants for preservation
+ fresh eating
= 35 PLANTS
Stats: 175g (6oz) black beans in pint / 1 pint per week / 52 pints per year
175x52 = 9100g per year
Plant yield highly variable, can’t estimate weight so go by average plants per person
20 plants per person for a year
= 80 PLANTS
Stats: 28 medium apples = 9 pints / 10 pints for the year / 280 apples
125 apples per bushel, on average
I need 2 bushels for canning + fresh eating + donation
Single semi dwarf apple tree produces up to 500 apples in a season
= 1 SEMI-DWARF APPLE TREE
Stats: 3-4 average sized cucumbers to fill pint jar / 25 pints needed for year / 12 cucumbers per plant, average
4x25 = 100 cucumbers needed
100/12 = 9 plants for canning + fresh eating + donation
= 16 PLANTS
Angela is the farmer and content creator behind Axe & Root Homestead® LLC. This historic six-acre permaculture farm is home to two Clydesdale horses, ten honeybee hives, five sheep, two guardian dogs, barn cats and a flock of 40 geese and ducks. The farm produces maple syrup, fruit from a small orchard and loads of garden produce for consumption, preservation and donation to the local food pantry.
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