Make Gardening Economical
Some vegetables are more "space efficient" than others. That is,
they return a higher monetary value for the garden space they occupy.
Vegetable value can be obtained either by price per pound or by yield. For
example, broccoli may yield a 2-pound head, which would usually be moderately
expensive at the supermarket. By comparison, zucchini squash may cost only
one-third as much per pound at the store, but one plant can easily produce
10 or 15 pounds of fresh squash.
Some vegetables mature so rapidly that they take up garden space for only
a short time. Therefore, multiple crops can be grown, increasing the dollar-per-square-foot
return during the growing season. Recently, garden experts across the United
States cooperated in a survey to rate vegetables by their value. They considered
total yield per square foot, average value per pound harvested and time
from seed to harvest. Vegetables were rated with 10 points being the maximum.
No vegetable hit the 10 point rating because no single vegetable performs
well under all soil and climatic conditions.
The top ranking vegetables were tomatoes grown on supports to save space
(9), green bunching onions (8.2), leaf lettuce (7.4), turnips for greens
or roots (7.4), squash (7.2), onion bulbs for storage (6.9) and pole beans
(6.8). An intermediately-economical group included beets grown for green
tops and roots (6.6), bush beans (6.5), carrots (6.5), cucumbers grown on
supports (6.5), peppers (6.4), broccoli (6.3), kohlrabi (6.3), Swiss chard
(6.3), mustard greens (6.2), spinach (6.2), pole Lima beans (6.1), radishes
(6.1), cabbage (6.0), leeks (5.9), collards (5.8), okra (5.7), kale (5.6),
cauliflower (5.3) and eggplant (5.2). The "losers," as far as
economical production is concerned, are Brussels sprouts (4.3), celery (4.3),
peas (4.3), sweet corn (4.1), winter squash (3.8), melons (3.8), water-melons
(3.8) and pumpkins (1.9).
With this information on potential yields of vegetable crops, survey your
family to decide what to grow. If they won't eat it, don't grow it!¶