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How To Increase Your Vegetable Garden Yields

How To Increase Your Vegetable Garden Yields | Making Her Mama
How To Increase Your Vegetable Garden Yields

As promised, here is my garden plan reveal!!!!  I’m sorry it’s taken so long to get it out to you, but as with all good plans, there have been many revision with a sprinkling of reality added to my hopes and dreams.  But, I am finally here to tell you how to grow as much food as you can while increasing your vegetable garden yields!  

And, along the way, I’ll share some pictures of how my garden is growing and blooming.   If you are just coming on board, you can find out about the new 600 square foot vegetable garden that we put in this year, as well as our other goals in the garden, in 5 Gardening Goals for 2017.

How to Increase Vegetable Garden Yields: Are you wanting to get a big garden going so you can feed yourself and your family? Me too! Come and see how we've laid out the space that we have and how we are growing as much food as we can in it.
A beautiful Peony transplant from our neighbours.

 

When I began planning our garden space, my goal was simply this: Grow as much food as humanly possible in the space we have.  I’m not a beginning gardener, but I’m by no means an expert either.  So, I started crawling the internet late at night to see what others had done that yielded great results.

With our past vegetable gardens we have always done raised garden beds with Square Foot Gardening.  The results have been good, but the cost of setting up the raised beds can add up pretty quickly.  So, I opted for a more traditional looking country garden with “rows” of raised soil instead.  

 

I was actually inspired by an older couple’s garden not far from where we live.  

 

The couple has a beautiful vegetable garden with rows and rows of different goodies growing!

How to Increase Vegetable Garden Yields: Are you wanting to get a big garden going so you can feed yourself and your family? Me too! Come and see how we've laid out the space that we have and how we are growing as much food as we can in it.
This isn’t their garden, but pretty close to what their beautiful rows look like!

I wanted to know how they grew so much food in such a small space.  After some internet research, I stumbled across Victory Gardens.  They were backyard gardens encouraged during the first and second world war to increase food availability and also decrease the resources needed to transport food.  

 

Aside from being a productive way to support their country during war, Victory Gardens (also called War Gardens) were intended to be morale boosters.

 

The Smithsonian Institute recreated a war time pamphlet to teach people about growing Victory Garden year round.  (Check it out here.)  There was some very general information on gardening and seasonal crop selection.

Then, I came across some old war time victory garden plans that fit my garden size!  I was really excited to see all that I could grow!  I found this picture on The Historian in the Garden along with a lot of great information on the gardens themselves and the reality of growing a garden like this.

How to Increase Vegetable Garden Yields: Are you wanting to get a big garden going so you can feed yourself and your family? Me too! Come and see how we've laid out the space that we have and how we are growing as much food as we can in it.
Plans for a Victory Garden about the same size as my new garden.

 

The only downfall to row gardening is the loss of so much space for walking between the rows.  Yes, even at 600 sq. ft. my gardening appetite is bigger than my plot!  And after several over-the-fence conversations with my gardening neighbour, I went with my guy instinct.  Limit my rows.

 

So I went back to the drawing board….or the piece of graph paper housing my garden plans.

4 reasons you should use square foot gardening to grow your veggies this year! Click To Tweet

Square foot gardening offered many rewards:

  • – higher planting volume in a smaller amount of space
  • – less space loss due to walking space
  • – more room for an increase variety of food sources
  • – I am familiar and experienced with this style of planting
  • – increase vegetable garden yields

Then it hit me!  What I needed to do was combine the functionality of square foot gardening with my love of straight rows (can someone say Type A personality…)

 

So that is exactly what I did for us to increase vegetable garden yields!

 

 I put as many 3 foot wide beds into my garden area as I could.  Why 3 feet wide?  Well, Mel Bartholomew, author of The Square Foot Garden, recommends beds that are 3-4 feet wide so that you can reach all the areas of the garden easily from one side or the other.  I opted for 3 feet because I have short arms.

By the way, I highly recommend his book, All New Square Foot Gardening II: The Revolutionary Way to Grow More in Less Space if you are new to square foot gardening (SFG).  We followed it the first year we had a garden in our old house and we had great results!  Mel really walks you step by step through exactly what you need to do and how to do it.

 

How to Increase Vegetable Garden Yields: Are you wanting to get a big garden going so you can feed yourself and your family? Me too! Come and see how we've laid out the space that we have and how we are growing as much food as we can in it.
Here you can see 2 beds with rows or veggies running along them (as well as the beautiful trellis my husband made me!).

 

I ended up with 6 beds altogether.  This was one less than I had planned out on paper, but I attribute that to my measuring.  Each bed is equally spaced 2 of my boot lengths apart and is 5 of my boot lengths wide.  Isn’t that how you measure things too – based on finger widths, boot lengths, and arm spans?

 

Here’s what I was able to fit in my garden: (number in brackets is the number of plants)

 

Bed 1: Garlic (88) and potatoes (8).

Bed 2: Snap peas and shelling peas in the first 2 feet of the bed.  Lettuces, cilantro, nasturtiums and radishes in the remaining “row”

Bed 3: Front of the bed has green onions (27) and leeks (12).  3 rows run behind that; carrots (54), beets (54) and spinach (54).  Parsley (6) runs along the bottom end of the bed.

Bed 4: Beans, beans, the magical fruit… The first 2 feet house pole beans (54) and drying beans (36).  The last row has bush beans ().

Bed 5: The collards.  The front section houses my rosemary plant.  The first row has brussel sprouts (3) followed by cabbages (4).  The second and third rows have 2 different types of kale (14).  Chives round off the end of the bed.

Bed 6: This bed runs along the fence line and is only 2 feet wide in most places.  Against the fence are sunflowers (6) and borage (4).  The middle of the bed has scallopini (2), green zucchini (1), golden zucchini (2), and a butternut squash plant.  There is still room to plant a pumpkin plant in the front of this bed as Mickey Blue talks incessantly about growing his Halloween pumpkin!

 

How to Increase Vegetable Garden Yields: Are you wanting to get a big garden going so you can feed yourself and your family? Me too! Come and see how we've laid out the space that we have and how we are growing as much food as we can in it.
Hard to get all in one view, but here are the six beds!

 

When I lost a bed, I had to find a new place to grow our cucumbers.  

While we were in the midst of creating our new garden, we took out an old decorative garden that was right smack dab in the middle of our yard.  It must have been beautiful at some point, but due to our neglect it had become a tangle of unidentifiable plants.  

However, cinder blocks had been used to frame in the old garden bed.  So, I reused the cinder blocks to plant our strawberries in.  I spaced them a couple blocks apart each.  This left room for me to  plant the cucumber plants and trellis them up the back wire fence!

How to Increase Vegetable Garden Yields: Are you wanting to get a big garden going so you can feed yourself and your family? Me too! Come and see how we've laid out the space that we have and how we are growing as much food as we can in it.
Eagerly awaiting the emergence of a cucumber sprout in this cinder block!

So, there it is, in all it’s glory; my square foot victory garden!!  And I can’t wait to see how well it produces this summer.  I am looking forward to the increase in my vegetable garden yields!  I’m going to track what we get out of the garden (by weight) this year!

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How to Increase Your Vegetable Garden Yield - Are you wanting to get a big garden going so you can feed yourself and your family? Me too! Come and see how we've laid out the space that we have and how we are growing as much food as we can in it.

What did you do this year for gardening?  Any container gardeners here?  That’s where most of my fruit is this year!  I’d love to know what you’re up to.  Leave me a comment down below!  I love reading them and respond to each one personally.

 

 

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9 Comments
  • Spring Lake Homestead says:

    It looks great! I know the desire to expand, expand expand. We have a lot of space so we already have a really, really large garden, but when we lived in the city, close to half of our yard was gardens, and I was trying to find ways to add more without taking away all of the kids play space. We planted grapevines and trellised them behind the garage, added two fruit trees, put a berry patch along the front sidewalk, and I was growing some things in containers for a few years as well. I’ll probably be planting in traditional rows this year…we’re still learning how much food to plant for our family for a year, and we are getting accustomed to planting in such a large plot. I have to finish planting in the next week or two (zone 5/6, so our latest possible frost date was about a week ago). I would guess you are based on what you have read and mentioned, but are you familiar with vertical gardening? That helped me get a ton out of our city lot! We are still working on our garden fencing, but when I have that all set up, I’ll share what we’re doing 🙂

    • Nadine says:

      Hey Danielle 🙂 Thanks for stopping by! I’d love to see what your gardens look like! Your last place sounds like the beginning of this one for us. We have a pretty good sized front yard, but it isn’t fenced in, so while our last 2 boys are still little it’s kind of out of bounds at the moment as I do most of my gardening with them in tow. One of my major goals this year (and I’ve kinda stalled on it a bit but you have given me the motivation to get going again!) is plucking out all the blackberry brambles. The side of our yard has brambles that run the whole length of the property and are about 10-12 feets wide! My plans there are to get in a blueberry patch, raspberry patch, trellis grape vines along the fence and then see how much room is left 🙂 I haven’t done a lot with vertical gardening. My peas and beans will be trellised (my hubby built me a bean trellis today! HOORAY!) And then we are going to trellis the cucumber up the fence behind the strawberries. What else have you grown vertically? I probably could have done the with our squashes too, but I planted sunflowers behind them, closer to the fence.

  • I enjoyed reading about your garden plans, and the history of the victory gardens. It looks really nice and it’ll be interesting to see how it produces for you. I always admire people’s vegetable gardens as we’re driving by, and think about stopping and asking for a tour, so I feel like that’s what I just did.

  • Wow! I am like you, experienced but no expert, but you are ahead of me in this aspect. The planning is amazing!

    • Nadine says:

      Hey Terri 🙂 Well, it has been 3 years in the making so I’ve had a lot of time to plan. But I also did a lot of research on companion planting, crop layout and rotation….and when I’m unsure, I wing it! LOL Thanks for stopping by!

  • JakiJellz says:

    Well done, this looks great. I’m no green fingers but this is inspiring. Thank you for linking up to #TriumphantTales, I hope to see you back again next week 🙂

  • chickenruby says:

    I have to plan my garden around the hot sun of Dubai, it’s pretty much trial and error and requires a lot of watering for anything to grow, but i’ve had squash, aubergines, peppers, strawberries, tomatoes and chillies this year which I’ve been very pleased with
    #TriumphantTales

    • Nadine says:

      Hi Ruby! I couldn’t even imagine trying to garden in the heat of Dubai! Sounds like you’ve already had a great harvest though. Good job! What are you doing for watering? (Do you hand water or have a soaker/micro drip set up?) What do you do with your aubergines? We’re pretty green when it comes to eating egg plant.

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Nadine Best

I am a follower of Jesus, SAHM, THMer, and homeschooler to my 4 boys. I love to garden and am a wanna be homesteader. I also LOVE organizing.

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  • #captainunderpants .... well, captain #easyups LOL. Mickey Blue was given a pack for his 3rd birthday and Little Lou approves 😝 my boys are such hams, they are always making me laugh! I 💕 #momlife !!! What funny or sweet things have your kids been up to?
  • Isn't #lettuce cool the way that it grows up and out in a spiral fashion!?! This is our first time growing #iceberg lettuce - it's my hubby's favourite! We've had a weird year with growing lettuces, this one is enjoying the whole stretch of garden to itself because none of the other seeds have sprouted, even from the second seeding! I'm going to be potting some to start and transplant! I NEED LETTUCE (I ❤ salad). How's your lettuce doing this year? Got any #tips or #tricks for me?
  • One of the best things about #homeschooling is the chance for a deep and strong relationship between siblings that would otherwise have no contact with each other!! They're still siblings, they are great together most of the time but sometimes they drive each other crazy and push each other's buttons. But if they didn't have all the time together that they do I don't think I'd get near as many sweet moments like this, curled up on the couch together sharing a moment 💕 What heart melting moments have you had recently?
  • I had never seen a #potato flower before! Growing a garden is so much fun. I can't believe how much I've learned this year and how something can grow from almost nothing. Our #Russianblue potatoes are doing so well - I can't wait to dig them up at the end of the season and see if the beauty below the ground will be as rewarding as it's been above!  Anyone else got potatoes in the garden? What variety did you pick?
  • http://www.makinghermama.com/grow-garlic-feed-your-family-your-wallet/  #ad via @RiplApp
  • Our beautiful #paintedlady butterflies are emerging!!! We have 3 so far. This is our fourth year observing their amazing #metamorphosis and it never grows old. Izzy loves their emergence and the excitement of releasing them. This is the first year Mickey Blue has paid any attention to them. He is fascinated by their wings and flapping as they dry them. A few more days and they'll be heading out into the wide open skies (provided the rain ever stops.....)
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