How many spinach plants per person

How many spinach plants per person

Figure out how many vegetables to plant

Ever wonder how many vegetable plants to buy when you’re planning your garden? The chart below shows the number of individual plants you’ll need to plant for fresh eating each season. If you're doing multiple plantings of a seasonal crop, such as greens or beets, then use the same quantity for each sowing.

Adjust to your vegetable garden needs

Some veggies have tiny seed, so for those we’ve noted how to thin the seedlings. If you want to can or freeze a crop, or you just really like a vegetable, you’ll want to plant more than is suggested below. The chart also includes about how many plants can be grown per foot of row so you can figure out how much space you’ll need. Use this handy chart as a guideline when planning how many vegetables to plant, but feel free to adjust to your preferences!

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Planting a vegetable garden for a family

In general, multiply the number of plants per person by 3 or 4 for a family-sized planting. We’ve done the work for you in adjusting the numbers of these plants in the chart so at harvest you aren’t overwhelmed with too many delicious veggies. Keeping a garden journal from year to year will help you track which crops you had more or less than needed so you can better plan for future growing seasons.

Crop (number of plants per ft. of row)Number of plants per personNumber of plants for a family of 4
Asparagus (1 plant/ft. of row) 5-10 plants 25 plants
Bush beans (2 plants/ft. of row) 12-15 plants 45 plants
Beets (Thin to 3 plants/ft. of row) 15-30 plants 90 plants
Cucumber (1 plant/2 ft. of row) 1 vine, 2 bushes 2 vines, 4 bushes
Carrots (Thin to 12 plants/ft. of row) 48 plants 144 plants
Corn (1 plant/ft. of row) 10-15 plants 40 plants (plant in blocks for best pollination)
Eggplant (1 plant/2 ft. of row) 2-3 plants 7 plants
Kale (10/10 ft. of row) 2-7 plants 40 plants
Leaf lettuce (Thin to 3 plants/ft. of row) 24 plants 78 plants
Melon (1 plant/6 ft. of row) 1-2 plants 4 plants
Onion (4 sets/ft. of row) 12-20 sets 80-100 sets
Peas (6 plants/ft. of row) 15-20 plants 70 plants
Pepper (1 plant/ft. of row) 3-5 plants 8-10 plants
Potato (1 plant/ft. of row) 10 plants 40 plants
Radish (thin to 12 plants/ft. of row) 10-15 plants 60 plants
Spinach (Thin to 6 plants/ft. of row) 30-60 plants 180 plants
Squash (1 plant/6 ft. of row) 1-2 plants 3 plants
Tomato (1 plant/2 ft. of row) 2-4 plants 4-6 plants
Zucchini (1 plant/3 ft. of row) 1-2 plants 4 plants

I should know better, but it happens every year: I start too many seeds, feel uncertain about whether or not I sowed enough, then realize I’m growing more food than my family can possibly eat.

And I don’t think I’m alone in this!

My eyes are much bigger than my stomach—and my garden—at the beginning of every season, and I inevitably end up with hundreds of seedlings that I scramble to find room for in any patch of bare soil.

Or sometimes, on the flip side, I don’t plant nearly enough of my favorite fruits and vegetables. (Especially the ones I like to snack in the field before bringing them in.)

How many spinach plants per person

For a while, I struggled with knowing exactly how much to plant in a vegetable garden to feed my family.

Finding that balance between having enough food to eat and preserve, while wasting as little as possible to overripeness, frost, and the compost pile, can be tricky.

(I know that returning plants to the life cycle by way of composting isn’t really waste, but those unused vegetables still took time, water, and other resources to grow.)

Related: 11 Vegetables You Grow That You Didn’t Know You Could Eat

I had questions that every edible gardener has wondered at some point: How do I know if I’m growing enough food? What size garden does it take to feed a family of four?

Over the years, I’ve tracked how much we grow versus how much we eat, and I thought it was worth sharing these numbers with you to ease some of the pre-planting anxiety we all feel when mapping out our garden beds.

The only downside to having hard numbers to reference is that they’re highly variable when it comes to a topic like this.

Factors like the size of your garden, your growing conditions, and even the appetites of your family members all influence how many plants are considered “enough.”

So, use this information as a starting point for planning your new garden, and tailor it accordingly based on your own family’s needs, preferences, and resources.

5 things to consider before deciding how much food you need to grow

How many spinach plants per person

1. How big is your garden?

This is the most limiting factor when deciding how many plants to grow per person. Even if you want to grow enough tomatoes to feed your family for an entire season, those plants take up a lot of space.

You may find yourself needing to scale back in order to provide some variety for your meals, or you may decide that you’d rather grow as many tomatoes as you can and just buy other vegetables you like to eat.

(A tip from my own experience: I tend to focus on growing vegetables that are expensive to buy organic, like tomatoes and bell peppers, over less expensive produce like potatoes and onions.)

Remember that garden space doesn’t have to be within the confines of a “proper” edible garden either.

You may be able to get away with growing salad greens in a window box, letting beans and cucumbers climb a back fence, or adding artichoke plants to your ornamental landscaping in the front yard.

How many spinach plants per person

How many spinach plants per person

By being creative with plant placements and repurposing household items (like a vintage clawfoot bathtub!) into unconventional planters, you can maximize a small space and produce more food than you thought was possible.

2. What does your family like to eat?

It goes without saying that you should grow the fruits and vegetables that your family likes to eat, and plant only one or two of each variety that you want to try.

Be honest and realistic about what your typical meals look like, and how much time you actually have to use or cook what you grow. It’s all too easy to get dazzled by the incredible selection of seeds you find in seed catalogs. (Yep, been there.)

How many spinach plants per person

If rhubarb is something you only use for the occasional pie or cobbler, you might be better off just buying it.

If green smoothies are a regular part of your morning routine, you might want to grow more spinach and carrots than suggested.

And if you absolutely love beets, you could succession plant 5 to 10 plants per person every couple of weeks, instead of a single crop all at once.

3. How old is each person in your family? What is that person’s lifestyle like?

A toddler will obviously eat less than a teenager, and family members who stay home all day will likely eat more than those who commute to work and eat out often.

Keep the ages and lifestyles of each member in mind as you plan your garden, and adjust the number of plantings to suit everyone’s needs and likes.

How many spinach plants per person

If you raise chickens or make your own dog food at home, you might want to add a few more plants for them, too.

4. Do you like to eat in season or preserve excess harvests for later use?

The chart below (I call it my Grow Enough Food! chart) lists the number of plants needed for fresh consumption.

But what if canning is a hobby you enjoy? What if you love to make several batches of homemade tomato sauce every summer?

If you plan to preserve any of your fruits and vegetables, you’ll probably want to grow more than what is suggested.

How many spinach plants per person

A general rule of thumb—depending on the type of vegetable preserved, how it’s preserved (drying? fermenting?), and how much you actually want to store—is to quadruple the number of plants suggested in the chart.

5. What can you grow successfully in your climate?

Different soil and weather conditions, even year to year, can affect the yields from your vegetable crops.

Related: Find First and Last Frost Dates Accurately with This Custom Planting Calendar

Some plants are more prolific in warmer climates than they are in cooler climates, or they may have a shorter life cycle dictated by summer heat or fall frost.

How many spinach plants per person

Ultimately, the number of plants you grow may vary based on how productive your garden and growing climate are.

How much to plant in a vegetable garden to feed a family

How many spinach plants per person

These amounts are taken from my own personal experience and the average yields of common vegetables in a home garden.

They don’t take succession planting into account. So for example, if you need to plant 20 carrots per person, you could plant 10 at the start of the season and 10 in the middle of the season for a continuous harvest.

All amounts are based on fresh eating, so adjust accordingly if you want to preserve any of your harvests or you have an extra long growing season.

Garden Betty’s “Grow Enough Food” Chart

Download printable PDF version
CropNumber of Plants to Grow
Artichoke 1 to 2 per person
Arugula 5 per person
Asparagus 5 to 10 per person
Bean (bush) 5 to 10 per person
Bean (fava) 4 to 8 per person
Bean (pole) 3 to 5 per person
Beet 5 to 10 per person
Bok choy 1 to 3 per person
Broccoli 2 to 4 per person
Brussels sprout 1 to 2 per person
Cabbage 2 to 4 per person
Carrot 10 to 20 per person
Cauliflower 2 to 4 per person
Celery 2 to 6 per person
Chard 2 to 3 per person
Collard 2 to 3 per person
Corn (sweet) 6 to 12 per person
Cucumber 2 to 4 per person
Daikon 3 to 6 per person
Eggplant 1 to 2 per person
Garlic 10 to 15 per person
Kale 3 to 5 per person
Kohlrabi 4 to 8 per person
Leek 10 per person
Lettuce 5 per person
Melon 2 to 3 per person
Mustard green 5 to 10 per person
Okra 2 to 3 per person
Onion (bulb) 10 to 20 per person
Onion (scallion) 15 to 25 per person
Onion (shallot) 10 to 20 per person
Parsnip 5 to 10 per person
Pea (shelling) 15 to 30 per person
Pea (snap or snow) 3 to 5 per person
Pepper (sweet) 3 to 5 per person
Pepper (hot) 1 to 2 per person
Potato 5 to 10 per person
Radish (spring) 15 to 25 per person
Radish (winter) 5 to 10 per person
Rhubarb 1 to 2 per person
Spinach 5 to 10 per person
Squash (summer) 1 to 2 per person
Squash (winter) 1 to 2 per person
Sweet potato 5 per person
Tomatillo 1 to 2 per person
Tomato (cherry) 1 per person
Tomato (slicing) 2 to 4 per person
Turnip 5 to 10 per person

How many spinach plants per person

Keep track of how much you grow with the Ultimate Garden Diary. This printable PDF includes loads of charts and logs to help you stay organized!

Common questions about planting enough food

How much land do you need to feed a family?

In general, you’ll need 150 to 200 square feet of garden space per person in order to feed everyone in your family year-round. So for the average family of four, a plot that is 600 to 800 square feet (20×30 to 20×40) should do the trick.

But even if you’re on a smaller suburban lot and lack the amount of land necessary for this type of growing, all is not lost. You can find many creative ways to maximize the space you do have, such as growing in containers around your yard, growing vertically up fences and trellises, following intensive planting methods, utilizing dead spaces like hellstrips, interplanting your front yard landscape, and mulching with edible plants.

How many vegetables do you need to plant for preserving?

Use my Grow Enough Food! chart as a starting point for determining how many plants to grow per person, and quadruple the figures listed if you want to ferment, dehydrate, can, pickle, or preserve these vegetables in addition to eating them fresh.

How much food can you grow in a garden?

With good soil and good growing practices, you can count on a conservative estimate of about 1 pound of food per square foot in a raised bed garden.

Raised bed gardening typically produces more food than traditional row cropping since raised beds can be planted in higher densities, do not require space between rows for walking, and are not affected by soil compaction (which can reduce yields by as much as 50 percent).

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View the Web Story on how much to plant in a vegetable garden.

This post updated from an article that originally appeared on April 24, 2018.

How much spinach should I plant?

How much space does a spinach plant need? Space your spinach plants or seeds 3-5 inches apart. Five inches will give you enough space to grow mature spinach plants. Space the plants closer (three inches apart) if you want to grow baby spinach greens.

How do I calculate how much food I need to grow?

With good soil and good growing practices, you can count on a conservative estimate of about 1 pound of food per square foot in a raised bed garden.

How much food do I need to grow to be self sufficient?

Generally, a growing space meant to feed one person all through the year averages 200 square feet. So, if you're considering self-sufficient farming to feed a family of four all year, it would mean 200 square feet multiplied by four, which averages to 800 square feet.

Are spinach plants heavy feeders?

Heavy feeders: beets, collard, kale, lettuce, parsley, spinach and tomato. Light feeders: carrot, garlic, onion, chard, mustard and pepper.