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Prioritizing what you grow — The Grow Network Community
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Prioritizing what you grow

AngelaOstonAngelaOston Posts: 217 ✭✭✭
edited November 2020 in Vegetables

I thought Majory wildcraft’s video about growing half your calories was an interesting way to prioritize What to grow. Made me think. And I realized what was more important to our family was growing half of our food budget, not necessarily calories. We grow a ton of greens, very few calories, but a expensive, especially when you have four grown people eating a salad worth of fresh greens everyday. And the nutrition cant be compared fresh vs sitting. So wondering how you prioritize your growing space.



  • JodieDownUnderJodieDownUnder Moderator Mid North Coast AustraliaPosts: 897 admin

    Angela, I grow what we like to eat. Over the years I've tried different crops but I finally worked out there's no point growing produce that you don't like or eat. Always on the look out for new things to try. Our mantra is to be as self sufficient as possible and fresh is best.

  • LynneLynne Posts: 9 ✭✭✭

    Hi Angela I also grow food we will eat. In the past I’ve planted too much of 1 type of food and not enough of another. Always experimenting with how much to plant.

  • BigfamilybossBigfamilyboss Wisconsin Posts: 23 ✭✭✭

    I just moved from 35 acres to less than a 1/4th an acre in the city. I always grew anything and everything I wanted but since moving I'm having to prioritize. I'm focusing on what we eat the most of that can cut the grocery bill. For us that's mostly greens and salad things.

  • LaurieLovesLearningLaurieLovesLearning Moderator Manitoba, Canada 🍁 zone 3, PrairiesPosts: 4,084 admin

    Welcome @Bigfamilyboss! That would be difficult to downsize that much. I bet it's a learning experience.

  • BigfamilybossBigfamilyboss Wisconsin Posts: 23 ✭✭✭

    That would be putting it mildly!

  • tilelllitilellli Posts: 16 ✭✭✭

    I grow what we eat and what I know works. My growing space is only 224 sqft, but by prioritizing I manage to feed my family of six seasonal vegetables. I had to give up some crops just because they either took too much space or needed too much care. I gave up growing carrots because they didn't come out every year. I would waste a valuable growing space waiting for them to come up.

    I grow chinese cabbage and noodle green beans just because they are so reliable. They never failed me in the last four years, while the common varieties were deceiving most of the time.

  • chimboodle04chimboodle04 Posts: 286 ✭✭✭

    We prioritize what we like to put away for the rest of the year through canning, freezing, or dehydrating. Even though I want to grow more things that are intended to eat "fresh", I find that I am a planner at heart. It is much easier for me to say that I will need to plant so many tomato plants and so many bean plants because I want to preserve "x" amount of this or that (if that makes sense?!) Of course we pick a fresh tomato or handful of spinach whenever we need it and do plant a few things that we intend to eat fresh, such as lettuce and radishes, but the bulk of what we grow is destined for preservation.

  • AngelaOstonAngelaOston Posts: 217 ✭✭✭

     chinese cabbage and noodle green beans j

    sound great. Good to know They are so reliable. I also have had a hard time with carrots. And being able to buy 5 lb bags of organic carrots so inexpensively makes a serious disincentive.

  • AngelaOstonAngelaOston Posts: 217 ✭✭✭

    Have limited in ground space in the high Desert, and lots of container gardens So been researching what i can get from small farmers directly that I don't have the space to grow. Majory suggested corn for flour for calories. But I can get great New Mexico Blue Corn milled for a reasonable amount. And growing it would be almost impossible in our backyard. So looking at our overall food sourcing and how we can grow our own or get in bulk from farmers and which makes the most sense. So far it seems like grains (quinoa and amaranth the exception) and beans are the best from farmers and vegetables are best grown. While fruit trees and olive trees are a long term investment.

  • Ethereal EarthEthereal Earth NevadaPosts: 142 ✭✭✭

    I am currently living in an apartment with lack of sunlight from some windows, so prioritizing what I needed to put in full sun vs. partial was a big thing for me. Like @AngelaOston stated, I go through a lot of greens and buying a bunch at once tends to lead to me throwing more out than eating. I recently rented space at a community garden so I am growing all my greens there.

    My other priority is growing medicinal plants and herbs as I am studying to be an herbalist as well as open my own business.

  • Ethereal EarthEthereal Earth NevadaPosts: 142 ✭✭✭

    @tilellli Have you looked into vertical gardening? That can help you utilize more of that space to grow more items. You could even try stacking things - build a custom planter that has "branches" that allow you to take advantage of vertical space without blocking out what is growing underneath or taking up more ground space.

  • AngelaOstonAngelaOston Posts: 217 ✭✭✭

    I did just invest in James fry Revolution Garden System: That I saw on the Homegrown food summit.

    I did do it cheaper than he suggested using my kids old swimming pool for a nutrient tank. And I found 2x3 x6” Black plastic cement mixing bins to use for the grow beads. At 13 each Much cheeper than the Bonticare flood and drain beds 4 x2 x 6” and 60-70 $ each.

    so Ive found that rather liberating. Really does use so much less water and no daily water. I like better that my growbag crops that dry out so quickly.

    So its an investment to grow food in the high desert. and just want to maximize what were growing.

  • ParadoxParadox Posts: 145 ✭✭✭

    We're prioritizing the items that we want to put up the most of: Green beans & tomatoes (sauced & diced), with a secondary focus on broccoli, cauliflower & dried beans and winter squash for seeds. In part, because we spend a lot on local green beans & tomatoes, and in part now because I don't even know if we'll be able to find them (See my note on the 'shortages' thread).

    I'm putting a lower priority on things I'm reasonably sure I can get in the smaller quantities that we use mostly fresh--peppers, kohlrabi, lettuce. and not making an effort at all on things that we either just don't have enough space for, have lots of storage already, or have a pretty secure supplier--- like grains, meats, etc.


    There are already some great approaches here already but at least in this in this stage of my gardening journey right now, I like to grow things that I can grow a ton extra and then store it for the winter. Things like tomatoes, potatoes, squash, onions, garlic, herbs, peas, and beans. I know there's more, but I hope that helps!

  • MommaMoMommaMo Posts: 138 ✭✭✭

    Through the years, we have also narrowed it down to the things we enjoy and will eat if it is canned. We do try a few new things a year to see if we like them.

  • scotladyjscotladyj Posts: 11 ✭✭✭

    We are remodeling the kitchen at the moment. When it is finished, I will have an indoor garden finally. I plan on starting with herbs and greens and branching from there as I learn what works and what doesn’t. We have 10’ ceilings so vertical it will be!

  • toreytorey Moderator Posts: 3,073 admin

    Welcome to TGN @scotladyj Looking forward to haring about what your indoor garden produces.

  • smik123smik123 Southeastern, AlabamaPosts: 60 ✭✭✭

    I am growing for the first time. I am starting with tomatoes, cilantro, zucchini, peppers, lettuce, cucumber, eggplant and watermelon. I decided I wanted to grow some of the things I have a hard time finding organic or if I can get it organic it is expensive.

  • annbeck62annbeck62 Posts: 459 ✭✭✭

    I grow what we'll use and what is happy growing for me. I do edible landscaping and have an HOA with way too much time on their hands so I have to make sure it looks good enough to fool them. If they knew I was growing food in my front yard I'd get a nasty letter :(

  • ltwickeyltwickey Posts: 359 ✭✭✭

    I also grow our family favorites first, then I focus on growing the the best foods for canning to keep us going through the winter months up here in CT. I always plant one new plant each year. This year I got to plant rhubarb , as I have not lived this far north for awhile now!

  • maimovermaimover Posts: 353 ✭✭✭

    Oh boy @annbeck62 I don’t belong to a hoa and it’s a good thing. I have good grade buckets with all sorts of things growing, a 4 sided pallet box with sweet potatoes growing and a few pallets with strawberries In my front yard. I did see someone growing sweet potatoes 🍠 on a trellis, it was beautiful; the point being they weren’t allowed to garden in their yards and that really fooled them, lol.

    it’s been a few years since I’ve gardened. When I couldn’t get organic potatoes, frozen or canned vegetables, fresh/frozen fruit when we went into pandemic mode I went a little crazy. Well, a little is an understatement. Thank goodness for my friend who has helped me do so much that I’m not able to. We put pallets on a stockade fence that have mostly herbs and some flowers in them. Another 4 sided pallet box with potatoes; never grown a potato 🥔 in my life. Horseradish, ginger, turmeric, a ton of herbs, some more medicinal plants, green beans and more green beans, bush limas, melons 🍉, pumpkins 🎃, and a whole bunch more. We also have a garden at my boyfriend’s house with onions 🧅, squash, tomatoes, peppers, -peas, cabbage, lettuce (about done now), celery started with the ends (they’re crazy beautiful), cucumbers, leeks and scallions. We put basil and oregano between the tomatoes 🍅; the basil 🌿 did wonderfully, the oregano not so much (I think it got overcrowded). Anyways my favorite food is potatoes and I refuse to be without them this winter; they were my number one priority. Then vegetables I can freeze, can (never did that before- pressure canner coming July 10th), or dehydrate. Bought berry bushes n more...

  • SandraKaySandraKay Posts: 23 ✭✭✭

    Mine priorities are similar: primary are tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, and Italian flat beans (seem hard to get and my favorite).  I am experimenting with growing different things and trying new tastes.  Here in SE AZ our issue is mainly water- I have almost an acre I can develop and then 2 1/2 behind this lot, but trying to get enough shade and good irrigation systems with out much cost or labor (62 an still working- so time and energy are not what they used to be.  I did experiment last year and since the cucumbers didn't do well and the zucchini was in abundance- I made a lot of zucchini pickles. Most people couldn't even notice the difference.

  • tammyrichardsmt9tammyrichardsmt9 Posts: 108 ✭✭✭

    First I choose what we will eat, then what will actually grow here. We all love corn, but after 4 years of failed attempts (and being told each year that corn really doesn't grow here) I decided it was not worth the wasted money.

  • dianne.misspoozdianne.misspooz Posts: 104 ✭✭✭

    Well, I had planned on growing only what our family eats but I think a little mix up occurred at the store. I THOUGHT I bought green, yellow and red bell peppers but it turns out I have one jalapeno and one habanero pepper plants. I am NOT into hot peppers AT ALL. So now I'm stuck with hot peppers. YIKES!!

    I too will only plant what we eat since I hate the thought of wasting food. I do want to try new foods but then I remember that I'm not all that excited about looking up new recipes. I go with the tried and true.

    Thanks for asking!

  • AngelaOstonAngelaOston Posts: 217 ✭✭✭

    Didnt know you could make zucchini pickles. That’s amazing

  • Helen South AustraliaHelen South Australia Posts: 42 ✭✭✭

    I try to plan ahead so I can be picking the produce that I will be using. Specifically, lettuce, spring onions, tomatoes, beetroot, asparagus, leeks, garlic, carrots etc. It can be difficult to plan it just right so you are picking a constant supply, but with 'trail and error' you can get it pretty close. It's also such a rewarding experience when you can get, from your garden, the produce you need rather than having to go to the shop or farmer's market.

  • llvonnllvonn Posts: 18 ✭✭✭

    Have you heard of Charles Dowding's multi sowing system. He promotes the no dig gardening system and has a really great channel on YouTube.

    This first link shows him explaining and showing how to multi show seeds,

    This video shows the process of sowing, planting and harvesting beetroot.

    It's time saving as well as space saving.

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