Vegetable Garden Plans

Setting up the best vegetable garden means finding the most appropriate vegetable garden plans. This very first step may be one of the most important things you can do before actually planting your vegetable garden. Fortunately, there are vegetable garden plans available to suit almost every need. A very critical consideration for your vegetable garden is first choosing a sunny location with plenty of water nearby. Once you decide on your garden’s location, take a look at how much space you really have available to work with. In a large suburban backyard you can easily plant the traditional in ground vegetable row type garden. In a low-lying area that doesn’t drain so well or if the soil is poor with lots of clay in it, you might consider a raised bed or even a container garden instead. If your area is very small or if you’re limited in space because you live in an apartment, or just don’t have that much land available for a garden, you can use containers, go for square foot gardening, or you can even grow indoors. No matter what your situation is, there are vegetable garden plans to suit any circumstances.

For those who have never grown anything before, there are vegetable garden plans and designs that make gardening simple and easy. To make your gardening chores go smoothly, always follow two basic principles.

First: try to group similar plants together according to their height. Try keeping your tallest plants on the north side of the garden.

Second: plant quick growing plants in open spaces next to slower growing plants. Doing this will make the best use of your available garden space by creating a rhythm in the growth cycle. Consolidating compatible vegetables together in groups with similar maintenance requirements and times of harvest will save you a lot of extra work in your garden.

Establish Vegetable Garden Plans That Include Succession

Begin by writing down a succession plan for your plantings, with the start date being determined by the climate zone where you live. If you’re gardening in a small space, planting more quickly maturing crops in between slow-growing vegetable crops will give you a higher yield of vegetables from the limited space and time you have. An example would be to plant lettuce in the shade of bush or snap beans, putting in green onion sets just about anywhere, slipping in radishes, or planting turnips in between cabbages. There are a host of vegetable garden plans that will take all of this into account.

The following examples will help give you an idea of some of the kinds of vegetable garden plans that are available.

Standard 3′ x 9′ In Ground Planting Bed: This design uses very little space in your yard. You can get all sides easily, and none of the space is wasted. You can plant the entire space with vegetables. Make a quick drawing of your plot and divide up the space into imaginary 1 foot by 3 foot planting boxes. Then arrange for different vegetable plants to go into each.

Remember to consider where the most light is coming from so you can keep shorter plants from being too shaded. You may also want to consider which way the long axis of your garden bed is oriented so that all your plants get plenty of sun during the day.

Square-Foot Gardens: These designs work extremely well if your available space is at a premium. The typical square-foot garden bed is about 4 feet square and between six and 12 inches in depth. This is typically a raised bed type of garden, and you’ll need to subdivide it into sixteen 1 foot square compartments. You can do this either with a string or with wooden dividers. Vegetable garden plans that dictate the spacing within each compartment should be consistent with the requirements for the vegetable type you’re planting in it. Vegetable garden plans for this style are readily available.

Container and Indoor Gardens: If you don’t have enough space available in your yard, you can still determine specific vegetable garden plans that will permit a vegetable garden using containers placed on your patio, deck or balcony. You can use terra-cotta pots, wooden boxes, or even thick paper bags as containers. Because of the limited space available in containers, the plants you put in them have to like each other, and like being placed close together. Plants that tolerate being closely packed together in these arrangements include carrots, lettuce, radishes, beets, chives, green onions, and turnips.

If you are growing vegetables indoors, it’s a given that you’re using containers already. You’ll need to provide a ready supply of natural light. This may be more difficult to do in the winter, especially if you live in the high northern latitudes. There are commercially available light bulbs that emit a natural spectrum of light for your plantings. Be sure you rotate your containers periodically so your plants grow straight and get a balanced amount of light. You will need to be more observant with regard to watering as well.

A Raised Bed Garden: A good size raised bed garden should be no wider than 4 feet across for easy access, but can be anywhere from 8 to 20 feet in length. A 4′ x 20′ raised bed garden will easily feed two adults. The soil depth should be at a minimum 5 inches, but preferably 8 to 15 inches to allow plenty of room for root growth. An added benefit of a deeper raised bed is that you won’t have to bend down quite so far to work on it.

The frame can be brick, stone, or would. Construction lumber such as pine two by fours stacked on top of each other to form the frame works very well and is inexpensive. Avoid using railroad ties which are impregnated with creosote, and especially avoid pressure treated lumber which has toxic chemicals that can leach into the garden’s soil. Raised bed gardens also make problems caused by excessive water mostly go away. There is a lot less decay and cracking, especially if you have a rainy fall. Another advantage is that the soil in your beds tends to warm up sooner in the spring.

Community Garden: These tend to be on larger parcels of land, and can accommodate much more sprawling plantings, like melons or squash which have a lot of vines. Corn also requires a lot of room was perfectly suited to this type of arrangement. There are numerous vegetable garden plans for these types of gardens available.

No matter what types of vegetable garden plans you decide to try, remember to plant your crops in succession so that you can always have a different vegetable to plant after another has been harvested. If you have a friend or relative with some extra land they are not using, see if they would be interested in letting you plant something in exchange for some of the harvest. It’s a wonderful arrangement and everyone involved will benefit. Next year, they might even want to help out with the vegetable garden plans for that season.