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If You Want Dessert, Don't Grow More Vegetables Than You Can Eat

April 17, 1999|ASSOCIATED PRESS

How much kohlrabi are you going to eat this year? An average gardener supposedly eats 12 pounds of kohlrabi annually. Fifteen feet of garden row yields 12 pounds, so unless you are a kohlrabi fanatic, do not plant 50 feet of this vegetable.

The point: Plant according to expected consumption. Vegetables are easy to grow. The hard part is to grow just enough. Two weeks of trying to sneak an overabundance of broccoli into recipes will bring sighs from family and friends. Five broccoli plants per person is enough, with another five if you're going to freeze some.

Root crops such as parsnips, carrots and beets yield about a pound per foot of row. On average, each of us eats about 20 pounds of any of these each year, so a 20-foot row is all you need; make adjustments for individual likes and dislikes.

The great flavor of home-grown melons must be weighed against the fact that they take up a lot of space and require a long season to ripen. Melons are planted in "hills," clusters of two or three plants from which the long vines radiate outward. Plan three to five hills per person.

Squashes are planted on hills of three to six plants. If each person planted only two or three hills, there would be no need for zucchini bread. Double that ammount to freeze squash for winter.

If you grow your own tomato seedlings and always start extra for insurance against frost and other calamities, restrain yourself from planting all of them. Five tomato plants will supply enough fresh tomatoes for one person; another five or 10 will provide pizza topping, tomato juice and stewed tomatoes throughout the year.

Here are additional guidelines for the average amount to plant per person for fresh eating: 15 feet of bush snap beans, 6 feet of pole snap beans, 10 feet of pole lima beans, 6 feet of okra, 6 feet of cabbage plants, 3 feet of eggplant plants, 4 feet of pepper plants. Double these amounts if you want to grow enough for storage too.

Vegetables such as leaf lettuce, radishes and mustard greens grow quickly, so who cares if there's extra? Tuck short rows of these vegetables in among other vegetables.

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