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 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. often has reviews of specific veg varieties, which can be useful in deciding what to grow.

@socalledunitedstates I have heard the Seminole Pumpkins are both easy to grow and very productive.

@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

@socalledunitedstates you can grow Basil even in winter, easily spread it and harvest one at a time

@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 mushrooms grow super fast and you dont have to harvest the entire cluster, but you need the right grow environment

@socalledunitedstates eggplant can also have high yield with not much space, but... it's eggplant

@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 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 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 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

You might consider growing the "three sisters": corn, beans, and squash together, as the indigenous Americans did.

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