Nutrition To Space Efficiency

Hi, Everybody,
My vegetable garden is small, so I want to maximise the nutrition per square metre of space.
I have about eighty buckets (10-litre/2.5 gal each.) This area lets me do a "summer mode" with tomatoes, capsicums, etc, and then a "winter mode" with leafy greens like spinach, lettuce, etc.
For these two situations, what are good choices for nutritional efficiency?
It is winter (in this part of the world) right now.
Thanks...
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if by nutrition you mean your nutrition, plant greens. They give you the most vitamins and minerals for the calorie. And if you plant cabbage, it will give you a lot of food as well per square foot.
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No idea what those 'good choices' would be b/c I never had 80, 2.5 gallon buckets worth-of dirt.
If I did, I'd might be inclined to try bush-type seeds, like protein-rich string beans or dwarf cucumbers or carrots.

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For the most nutrition in winter I like kale, you can even harvest under snow.

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Antipodean Bucket Farmer wrote:

There are plenty of books on strategies to get the most out of your garden.
One approach is to judge growth rates. Pick fast growing like radish and slow growing like corn and plant them close together. The radish is harvested before the corn has grown tall enough to shade the radishes out of growth. My folks did that in gardens before I left for college.
In decorative gardening shade is used as a tool so why not in food gardening as well. Pick some tall plants that like direct light, medium ones that like partial shade, low ones that like mostly shade. Plant them close together. I do some of this with flowers so it should work with veggies.
How about long term vs short term? Plant a perennial in each bucket. When they have little folliage plant some annual in the same bucket. Nut trees might give really good long term nutrition per-bucket but I don't think that's the same as the per-meter you asked about.
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What foods do you like to eat? Which ones grow in your climate and soil? Can you preserve the crops? You can check the nutritional value of foods here. http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/cgi-bin/nut_s.pl
Then plan nutritious meals with a variety of fruits and vegetables. Think different colors. Plant a small quantity of something new to see if you like it and whether it grows well.
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On Fri, 8 Jul 2005, Antipodean Bucket Farmer wrote:

I have this Summer for the first time starting looking seriously at this question and have come to a sarcastic, but seemingly very accurate answer: Grow weeds, such as dandelion!
I have yet to fully quantify this formally, but consider the following thoughts. Weeds grow very well in the local soil with only minimal maintenance. The need for year-to-year fertilizer and other soil treatments is almost eliminated altogether. Some, like dandelions are fully edible. Every part of this plant can be consumed: leaves for salads; flowers for wines and jams; roasted roots for coffee like beverage. The jam, by the way, is very tasty. I think another weed, Rumex acetosa could be quite similar.
I believe you mentioned tomatos. My experience thus far is that this plant is something more for bragging because it is a greater challenge than many other common garden plants. I would place them at the higher end of the maintenance issue and nutritional output could be very poor without continuous monitoring to ensure high yield.
I do not know much about asperagus, but around here, people are getting some pretty substantial plants and they eat a good chunck of them. Ditto for rubarb, which seems to do well with not much more than a lot of water.
Just another tip.... a friend pointed out that some people in Germany were trying to maximize potato production by sequentially burying the plants in dirt. As the season progressed, the pot got progressively deeper and it finally was filled top to bottom with potatos. They got a very high yield per square meter by growing up, as it were. I tried this last year and it kind of worked. We had really bad weather. This year my garden is 3 times bigger (300 sq meter), so I did not aggressively pursue this.
I will be curious if an agriculture specialist will pop in with a list of most nutrition efficient plants (beans, maybe???)...
Dominic
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Dominic-Luc Webb wrote:

Purslane! It's reported to be extremely high in vitamins and minerals and it grows like a weed because it is a weed. I grow the large leaf domestic purslane but actually harvest more it the small leaf wild volunteer purslane. After several years of growing both, I have a lot of wild crossbreed purslane with medium sized leaves. Purslane is the most common weed I have, growing in almost every container, pot and bed. Some people eat it raw but to me that tastes like grass. Cooked it's delicious.

This year I tried growing Catalina potatoes which are grown from seed. Real seed seeds, not seed potatoes. Haven't harvested them yet so can't report on normal use but I had one extra six pack of potato plants that I didn't have room to plant. I finally got around to dumping it in the compost bin yesterday. The six pack (it was the medium sized ones, 36 cells to a 1020 flat) was full of little potatoes! Just packed so full of little potatoes from a half inch to about a inch and a half that I had to tear the plastic to get them out. I had no idea that the plants, which never got more then about six inches tall, would ever produce in such a tiny container. Just enough for one large serving and they were delicious boiled and served with fresh parsley and butter. Next year I' put the extra potato plants in gallon pots and see if I can get a little more.

Lorenzo L. Love http://home.thegrid.net/~lllove
If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.     Cicero
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How are you cooking it that you like it so well? I've tried purslane and mustn't have done it right, because I didn't think much of it.
Kathy
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Kathy wrote:

I just throw it in with what ever other veggies I'm cooking. Squash or eggplant out of the garden, a bunch of purslane, lots of garlic, put in a pot with olive oil and sweat it down. Serve over rice or noodles. Easy, yummy. Sometimes if I'm cooking chicken, I'll split and roast the chicken on a bed of purslane, onion and garlic.
Lorenzo L. Love http://home.thegrid.net/~lllove
"There is no love sincerer than the love of food." George Bernard Shaw
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Kathy wrote:

the stuff and tossed it. I do eat some in salads though, doesn't add much taste-wise but I figure the extra vitamins cannot hurt. Never tried it cooked, guess I'll have to wait for the Purslane to come back fast and furious, which it will LOL.
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Slightly OT: I'm also maximizing small space and discovered something interesting last year. Someone gave me a Mennonite cookbook which said that in poorer cultures, broccoli, bean, and pumpkin leaves are harvested as vegetables. My crop of broccoli last year yielded enough greens to make up for their very poor production of heads. I put them in with the beet greens and used them in vegetable soup. They were great! This year I saved quite a lot of bolted dark green and red lettuces for soup greens. That doesn't answer your question - what to plant - but it might point to a way to get more from what you do plant.
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Kathy wrote:

Would that cookbook be 'More With Less' or 'Extending the Table' by any chance? Those are two of my favorite cookbooks. The MCC (Mennonite Central Committee) will be or maybe already has released a third cookbook in the same vein where the theme is seasonal eating which ought to be perfect for gardeners, called 'Simply in Season'
Troy
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I don't have it handy, but I think it was in "More with Less" in one of the sidebar comments under "vegetables". There's lots of info in that book from missionaries who describe what they learned in other lands from people who use every scrap and everything from their small vegetable gardens to survive. It's a favorite cookbook here too. Now that you've told me there are others, I'll have to go seek them out.
Kathy
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Kathy wrote:

Yes.. I'm not a Mennonite, although I married one. I simply love their ideals and values. I volunteer on a yearly basis for an auction that raises money for world relief efforts of the MCC. I run the website for that sale at www.tcmccreliefsale.org. We've raised about 100,000 dollars this year for those relief efforts from this one sale alone, and there are sales across the country. You might find one in your area at www.mcc.org
Troy
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