Gardening

Which Vegetables Are Most Efficient?

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This list from the National Garden Bureau (NGB) rates vegetables based on their total yield per square foot, average value per pound, and length of time in the garden. Crops are rated from 1 to 10, with 10 being the most efficient.

According to Nona Koivula, former Executive Director of NGB, vegetables have become generally more productive since this rating was established, thanks to breeding improvements (especially in peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, and winter squash). However, it remains a good guide for comparing one crop to another.

Some plants are more efficient in the vegetable garden than others.
What should you plant? If efficiency’s your aim, this chart will help. Learn which vegetable plants give you the greatest yield per square foot.
Tomatoes, grown on supports9
Onions, green bunching8.2
Leaf lettuce7.4
Turnips for greens and roots7.4
Summer squash7.2
Onions, bulbs for storage6.9
Peas, edible podded6.9
Beans, pole6.8
Beets, for greens and roots6.6
Beans, bush6.5
Carrots6.5
Cucumbers, grown on supports6.5
Peppers, sweet6.4
Broccoli6.3
Swiss chard6.3
Kohlrabi6.3
Mustard greens6.2
Spinach6.2
Beans, lima (pole type)6.1
Radishes6.1
Cabbage6.0
Leeks5.9
Collards5.8
Okra5.7
Kale5.6
Cauliflower5.3
Eggplant5.3
Peas, English5.2
Brussels sprouts4.3
Celery4.3
Melons3.8
Winter squash3.8
Pumpkins1.9