The Right Way to Plan Your Vegetable Garden
A Guest Post by Tim Graham
Many people ask how they should plan their vegetable gardens. They become a little confused, how best to design one when new to the whole concept of vegetable gardens.
A lot of how to plan your garden depends on the space you have available and what you are aiming for regarding vegetables. Many people look for a quick fix for their gardens where others are willing to take a little more time. Either way, there are many small vegetable garden ideas open to you if you know how to do it.
One thing not to do when in the beginning is to rush into planting things too quickly without any thought of your plant’s needs. If you try to grow too much too soon, you will quickly become overwhelmed, and your vegetables may suffer as a result.
When you are learning how to start a garden, it is best to list the veggies you wish to grow and also plan for what you can grow for the amount of space you have.
It is best, to start off with small vegetable gardens in the beginning. You can, then build up the size as you gain more confidence and experience.
Best Garden Size
When you are planning your garden, you should allow for access to your garden beds. This will enable you to pass and reach into the beds without stepping on the soil, and you will also have access if you have a wheelbarrow. Garden beds should be around four feet wide with a path of roughly two feet in between.
There are several reasons for companion planting which doesn’t just come down to how your vegetables will grow together:
Confusing Pests – if you plant more significant areas of the same vegetable, pests can be attracted to them much easier than if they have been mixed. There is one slight exception to this and is where certain plants have additional protection. Cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower can all be grown together as they will have extra protection in the form of a tunnel.
Shade and Support
As vegetables are of varying sizes, mix your planting when certain conditions come into force. Two common being, tall plants that can shade others to avoid direct sunlight. Climbing plants (climbing beans) can grow up sunflowers without the need for poles.
Not all insects are bad for your garden, and planting certain flowers will help attract the insects that are beneficial to your garden. Individual plants will attract ladybugs and hoverflies among others. These types of insects help to control other forms of pests which make your task all the easier.
If you are planning a vegetable garden, the following principles cover most times of the year when planting is possible.
- Sun – Some plants require plenty of sun to grow to their best, these crops should be planted first and should be south facing.
- Roaming Plants – There are a few plants that send out vines as they grow, melons and squash plus others. These should be located at the edge of your garden beds, so the larger leaves do not cover your other vegetables. These vines are okay to spread across your pathways.
- Climbing Plants – These need locating to prevent shade falling over your other vegetables. These vegetables also need support in the form of a trellis or poles. One exception is as mentioned in the sun section where they can be positioned to shade other plants when needed.
- Irrigation – Dry conditions can cause some veggies to perform poorly. Onions, celery, and strawberries among others hate dry conditions. If you have lower areas of your garden that remain moist after watering are ideal for these types of plants.
When deciding what vegetables to plant, you have to look at what you have grown earlier in the year. Some veggies harvest earlier and leave enough time to plant again in the same area.
There are many fall vegetables to grow, yet these should not dictate what you produce earlier in the year. The warmer months are where you will reap more abundant crops, and fall crops should be planted to maximize your garden.
There is no real right or wrong way to plant a vegetable garden; there are just better ways of doing it. This you will find with experience, you will quickly see the best vegetables to grow in pots or containers as this can free up valuable space in your growing beds.
There are many vegetables and herbs you can grow in pots or containers, and as you are just starting, this might be the perfect introduction.
Limited space is no reason not to give gardening a go; you will soon wish to use all your area to the maximum.
BIO: Tim Graham is a blogger over at YardandGardenGuru.com where he writes about his passions in life yard care, gardening and the outdoors. Outside of this Tim usually finds himself knee-deep in lawn clippings, weeds, and grandchildren.