Three Garden Plans To Feed Individuals, Couples, And Families (Plus Recommended Varieties)
If you’ve ever wondered whether or not there’s some kind of customizable garden plan you can use to organize your garden, you’re in the right place. There is no magic blueprint that is truly one-size-fits-all, but there are some tips and tricks that will help you get a maximum yield from minimal space.
Read on for our suggestions on how to fill out a 10’ x 10’ garden and a 20’ x 20’ garden with a balanced blend of vegetables, herbs, and flowers. Use this information as a guideline, and be sure to spend some time browsing the Seeds ‘N Such online catalog–you might find something else you like!
How many seed packets do I need?
The size of your garden and how many seed packets you use will depend in part on your tastes and family size. A 20 x 20-foot garden plot will certainly feed a small family for a year, but an intensely planted 20 x 10-foot lot could deliver nearly as much food without as much work. The average individual might be content with a 10 x 10-foot parcel, but the more serious gardener who is interested in trying new vegetables might not be satisfied with a space that can only fit 10 seed packets.
That being said, it is usually better to start small–you can always till up a little more land or add containers to the garden as needed. The larger a garden grows, the more time it takes to weed, water, and harvest. It only takes one or two continuously-producing crops to feed one individual, but even one-time harvest crops can be reseeded in the same space throughout the season.
For the sake of simplicity, we’ve provided the following garden plans for beginning growers who are overwhelmed and unsure where to start. Of course, you can use as many seed packets as you want in any particular space, and you don’t have to grow what’s suggested–choose fruits, vegetables, and flowers that you know you enjoy and grow those.
Growing for one: 10 seed packets and a 20’ x 10’ plot
Our recommendation for the individual gardener who doesn’t have a ton of time to maintain a large garden:
An award-winning red cherry tomato for its manageable growth habit and sweet flavor.
Golden, feathery blooms are unique to sunflowers and perfect for cutting. This container-friendly variety grows less than two feet tall–so it won’t shade out the rest of your garden.
This early green bunching onion doesn’t form large bulbs so that it won’t crowd out other plants, even in containers. It received an award from the All-America Selections (AAS) for its hardiness and dependable flavor.
An easy-to-grow variety specifically bred for upright trellises or stakes, making it a perfect crop for container gardens and small spaces! High-yielding plants produce spineless, seedless fruits.
Compact plants produce lovely bi-colored flowers that bloom from midsummer until frost. An excellent choice for border plantings.
This slow-bolting variety has an upright growth habit, making harvesting regularly very easy.
While these carrots may look short and woody, they are incredibly tender and sweet. This heirloom does well even in shallow, poor soil.
This slender head lettuce will grow about a foot tall and is just perfect for salads. This prolific variety prefers cool weather, so sow in spring and fall for dual harvests.
A compact bush bean that is as flavorful as it is productive. Beautiful stringless beans grow on 20-inch plants.
This award-winning cultivar is an easy way to add garlic flavor to homecooked meals.
Growing for two: 15 seed packets and a 20’ x 20’ plot
For the gardener who wants a little more than the bare minimum, we recommend these varieties:
This heirloom beefsteak variety has marbled yellow and orange flesh. The hefty, two-pound fruits are deliciously sweet.
Compact vines produce sweet, seedless fruits for either pickling or slicing. Harvest at four inches for pickles or six inches for slicers.
This classic heirloom is a summer garden mainstay. Highly productive, bushy plants mature in 48 days. One or two plants will feed an individual or small family.
Our most popular bell pepper thrives in the smallest spaces. Four-inch fruits ripped from glossy green to a rich red, and are among the sweetest-tasting bell peppers.
The go-to spinach for warm climates with hot, humid summers. This heirloom matures in 45 days and outlives most other varieties by at least two weeks.
Some things never get old, and this award-winning heirloom is one such vegetable. Easy to grow and rewarding to harvest, the sweet seedpods are a delightful summer treat. Direct sow seeds as soon as the soil is workable for the earliest harvest.
Direct sow this pole bean in line with your peas so the vines can climb the same trellis. Prolific vines produce a number of stringless, meaty seed pods that are harvestable around ten inches. Allow the beans to ripen longer on the vine for shell and dry types.
Everything you love about broccoli, without nearly as much work. Harvest regular-sized broccoli heads once, and you’ll be rewarded with abundant broccoli side shoots for the remainder of the season.
Our sweetest yellow onion is a day-neutral variety, so it’s adaptable to any growing zone. The two-pound bulbs have an excellent storage life.
Also called dinosaur kale, this leafy green vegetable is one of the hardiest plants in the spring and fall garden, as it only gets sweeter with frost.
The go-to basil for chefs and gardeners alike, this Italian heirloom is sweetly fragrant and very flavorful.
This perennial herb adds an onion-like flavor to any dish. The purple blooms are edible too and make an excellent garnish.
When cut, the roots reveal a unique pattern of alternating pink and white rings. Less likely to bleed than other varieties, and the tops are edible, too.
Nasturtiums are known for their pest-repelling properties, and this heirloom is no exception. Vibrant red and gold blooms are offset by variegated foliage on a bushy plant that is easy to maintain.
The ivory-colored blooms on this hardy annual are far from delicate. Daisy-shaped, semi-double blooms attract pollinators and beneficial insects to the garden.
Growing for four or more: 20 seed packets and a 20’ x 40’ plot
A little bit of everything for the purposeful gardener who intends to feed their family for a year:
A flavorful beefsteak variety with improved disease resistance, this reliable slicer tomato produces higher yields earlier in the season.
Our sweetest golden cherry tomatoes are crack-resistant, so you can enjoy them longer.
The go-to variety of home growers and market gardeners alike, this disease-resistant variety produces dependable and abundant harvests of sweet slicing cucumbers. Trellis vertically for the straightest fruits.
Our largest green bell pepper matures early at 70 days. Sweet, thick-walled fruits are deeply lobed and mature from green to red.
While this chile is by no means our hottest, it packs enough heat to stand out from the rest. An early-maturing, open-pollinated variety bred to tolerate cooler temperatures.
A mix of five different hybrid varieties offers a range of colors. Compact plants are extremely productive in small spaces.
Everyone's favorite fall squash! Early and extremely sweet, this semi-bush variety produces five to seven varieties averaging two to four pounds each.
Compact vines produce deliciously sweet, icebox-sized seeded melons.
A German word that literally means “cabbage turnip” and is a fair descriptor of this vegetable. The crisp, sweet flesh is delicious raw or roasted.
This lovely purple cabbage is one of the best varieties for storage, lasting several months in the right conditions. Perfect for pickling or slaw, this compact variety tolerates tight spaces.
Add a rainbow of color to your garden with this vibrant heirloom and AAS winner. Vibrant leaves have a sweet, mild taste, perfect for sauteing, steaming, or eating raw.
This cold-tolerant variety produces beautiful, symmetrical heads four to six inches across. An ideal variety for freezing.
Compact cold-tolerant plants produce attractive, frilled leaves with a tender, sweet flavor. Harvest baby leaves at 25 days, or wait 50 days to let the leaves mature.
A mix of white, yellow, and red onions that thrive at any latitude.
The only salad mix you’ll ever need. A cut-and-come-again blend of red and green lettuces, arugula, endive, and radicchio that can be harvested in as little as four weeks.
Not only is this mix of orange and yellow marigolds beautiful, but they’re beneficial too. Marigolds are known to have pest-repelling properties and make excellent companions for tomatoes, cucumbers, and squash.
This blend of purple, red, yellow, and white carrots is a favorite of kids and adults alike. Sweet carrots reach maturity around 70 days.
Bright red, elongated bulbs are more tolerant of hot and dry conditions. Roots mature in 25 days, so sow several successions for multiple harvests.
Grow your own dill and make homemade pickles! This aromatic herb also makes an excellent bouquet filler.
One of the fastest-growing and most lovely annual flowers, the cosmos blooms from midsummer until frost.
Ten seed packets are about perfect for a 20’ x 10’ growing space, and 15 packets will very nearly fill out a 20’ x 20’ plot. 20 seed packets are ideal for feeding a family of four, taking up a 20’ x 40’ garden.
While these recommended garden plans are good starting points, there are so many more vegetables, flowers, and herbs that suit a range of preferences. Grow only what you and your family will enjoy eating in a space as big as you can reasonably manage, and you’ll have a successful growing season that doesn’t feel overwhelming.