Is there any list of absurdly productive food plants? Like if you only have x amount of space or can only by y number of plants, what do you grow to produce the largest raw mass of food possible
So zucchini is the prototypical example, right. And I know of a few others, like tabasco peppers for example
Tell me in the replies, what plants do you know of that make gardeners say "help, I have more x than I know how to deal with, can anyone come take some home?"
Also, lmk any other tips you have for increasing yields, even if they're not this specifically. For instance, growing a leafy green that you can harvest one leaf at a time like kale or romaine lettuce, rather than one that you take all at once like cabbage. Stuff like that
I'm planning a guerilla community garden and I want it to do as much good as possible
@socalledunitedstates I would pick non-flowering* sorrel. (see http://www.gwenfarsgarden.info/2016/05/spoonie-veg-sorrel.html)
It's basically a spinach substitute (only tastes better, IMO), only it's a perennial, which in a mild winter you can continue to harvest. Otherwise, it it comes back each Spring, just keep harvesting throughout the year. Almost no work, other than watering it in to get established.
I use it in everything from a pasta sauce, to an omelette or a curry, it's very versatile.
I'm assuming you have this in the US though. If not, you might have something similar.
*non-flowering is best because the plant just keeps growing leaves rather than putting into effort creating flowers/seeds.
@socalledunitedstates Otherwise, key herbs (i.e. oregano, rosemary, thyme). Plus strawberries, varieties that continue to produce fruit throughout the year (not winter), like Samba, which also has a very pretty flower.
@indie @socalledunitedstates I really don't know, I've never had this happen before. I use Blogger, which got taken over from Google some time ago, but this is the first time I've had someone say it won't work.
I don't know how to reconfigure anything. I've made one small redirection change, so you could try now, but if that doesn't work, I don't know who to speak to. Argh!!!! Very sorry
You can grow a ton of green beans in a very small plot, because the vines use vertical space on poles.
@socalledunitedstates Potato barrels are the best way to get a big yield of potatoes in a small space, but a mess to harvest.
How stealth do you want this to be? Is it "hey, someone planted a vegetable garden... and it's... free...?" or more like "a bunch of us are gardening on an abandoned lot and don't really want to be caught" or "this blank area could do with some plants but let's make it edible" or somewhere in between?
There are a number of ornamental plants that happen to be edible, which can be useful in a stealth situation.
@artsyhonker They're going to be straw bale gardens, so stealth is already out the window. This is taking place around an abandoned convenience store that already has been added to by the community for a long time (most notably a free library), so I think it'll be safe
@socalledunitedstates Then I would say go vertical if you possibly can. A layer of tall stuff, and some small stuff in front.
Rareseeds.com often has reviews of specific veg varieties, which can be useful in deciding what to grow.
@socalledunitedstates Do you have storage available and if so what sort? That might make a significant difference re what's best to grow as affects whether you can make & store preserved results of things. Also I guess volume != energy volume, so depends how many people you want to feed trading off against variety of stuff you can provide them with.
@JubalBarca I'm keeping a running list to provide plenty of variety - I'm not just going to grow 200lb of zucchini and leave it to rot on the sidewalk lol
My current thought is most of it will be taken straight off the plant by people, or put in a basket in the front if no one goes for it in time. Hopefully people would either use or preserve them themselves before they go bad, but I don't have any means to do that on a community scale
@socalledunitedstates rhubarb, silver beet/chard, parsley in the latter category.
If you want your garden to do as much good as possible, you might need to think in terms of nutrition per area rather than yields in weight.
@RuttokansanTuote Nutrition is definitely something I'm taking into account, but mainly I want the food to be filling, since that's what's going to result in the most food savings for people. Others in the thread have stressed calorie-dense crops, which I think is a better goal
Also, I don't know if I trust that article. It doesn't cite any sources, and it also doesn't mention the most famous nutrient-complete crop, potatoes. I'm not an expert either, but reading that list it feels to me like they're equating "has a ton of vitamins" with "has what your body needs," when the literal etymology of the word vitamin implies that only a tiny amount is needed for life. I get the feeling that you'd need to eat a ton if you were eating only those crops to get enough calories, at which point you'd have a lot of unneeded vitamins and nutrients just passing straight through your body (if not causing harm)
Good to hear that you are considering the nutritional value of the crops you're gonna grow.
That's a good point about the lack of citation in the article. I still think that the information shouldn't be total bs. I might also be wrong. This article was just something that came to my mind when I read your post and thought it might be helpful.
I wish your project the best of luck and I'm looking forward to see you post more about this. Keep up the good work, comrade!
@socalledunitedstates okra and tomatos.
@socalledunitedstates string beans / pole beans
Most gourds. Some melons. A lot of fruit trees are absurdly productive for a very short portion of the year if cared for well. Cherries, for example, a large portion of the yearly harvest is left to rot on the ground to keep prices stable.
@socalledunitedstates I have heard the Seminole Pumpkins are both easy to grow and very productive.
@socalledunitedstates Something like a hubbard squash will get you even more food mass.
@socalledunitedstates what type of microclimate or gardening zone are you in?
@raye USDA hardiness zone 8a. I'm planning on growing in straw bale gardens to minimize labor
@socalledunitedstates I've been learning to grow beans to produce dried bulk beans, as once you get the hang of them, they can be very productive, but where I'm doing pole beans, I'd suggest a bush bean type if you are doing straw bales. Those take less vertical space and minding.
@socalledunitedstates if we're talking calories per square foot, I don't know if anything can beat potatoes.
@socalledunitedstates Other summer squashes are good. It's not exactly the same but blackberries will grow uncontrollably which is great if you want to eat a lot of blackberries with very little effort but not great if you want to do something else with your space and are trying to cut back the blackberries to do so.
@swedishfish It's going to be container gardening (in a sense), so spreading isn't much of an issue. And that reminds me, mint is another good candidate
@charlag Definitely doing basil, mainly because I'm definitely doing tomatoes and I know from experience that they companion plant terrifically. It'll be tomatoes on the top of the straw bale, basil on the sides
@socalledunitedstates Potatoes, sweet potatoes.
If you have a trellis, something climbing, possibly gourds (squash, etc).
@socalledunitedstates mushrooms grow super fast and you dont have to harvest the entire cluster, but you need the right grow environment
@socalledunitedstates My magentaspreen was very prolific this year but I don't actually like it much which is unfortunate.
Tall climbing beans are pretty productive (much more so than peas) but need the space to support them; ditto vine tomatoes.
I have found some of the heavier-bearing strawberries don't taste so good.
A lot of perennial fruit trees will bear heavily once established, but require significant initial investment of time.
In v small space I'd go for leaves & pea shoots.
@socalledunitedstates Chard, for example, is pretty much indestructible, pretty tasty, and just keeps making leaves.
But then -- things like root chervil or wasabi root take longer to grow and are "lower yield" but *also* grow in places I can't really grow tomatoes (i.e. full shade). And snails ate the entirety of my purslane, as far as I can tell.
I suspect that which plants provide a glut depends very much on local conditions.
@socalledunitedstates I had a good amount of Cayenne and Chili peppers one year.
I should try the straw bale thing, or something like it...
@socalledunitedstates I hear gardeners say this about their cucumbers, tomatoes, squash, and rhubarb the most, but in more recent weather in the south of me, actually figs and peaches, also plums and apples (though these are tree products).
@socalledunitedstates devils fig is a member of solanum family so you can graft any nightshade (tomato, eggplant, pepper) onto it. I've read of yields as high as 1000kg per season from each bush
@substack One *thousand* kilograms from a single plant?! As in, one ton??? How big does it get?
(Also, what specific species? I see a few in the solanum family that are called that...)
@socalledunitedstates I've read that solanum hispidum and torvum are good rootstock to use. at most the size of a small tree I think, maybe 1.5-2m tall with a wide canopy from the pictures I saw back when I was researching this
@socalledunitedstates cucumbers, tomatoes, any squash
word is runner beans are extremely productive
@socalledunitedstates wasn't the potato the classic example? As I understand it a family could sustain itself with a small potato field and a cow. Until the blight and the terrible famine, anyway.
@socalledunitedstates arugula, mint and bear garlic spread very quickly & without maintenance in public parks in northern germany
@socalledunitedstates I think you can plant corn really close together and it's calorie-dense so if it's hot enough it could be a good plant to grow. If you want a lot of radish, try daikon radish, they're really big and grow deep so you get more radish weight per meter. They also grow really fast. Pomgranates are good if it's warm enough, in subtropical climates they produce almost all year, but they're trees so they take a few years to get established.
@socalledunitedstates to increase yields I usually plant a radish around small zucchini/patty pan squash plants or other plants, and they're usually done before the bigger plant needs to take up that space.
@Some_Person Ooh, I can probably do a partial three sisters... I wonder how that does in a straw bale, I'd imagine the gourd would want more space so it'd just have to be the corn and the legume in one bale
@socalledunitedstates I hope it works out well!
You might consider growing the "three sisters": corn, beans, and squash together, as the indigenous Americans did.
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