Tips for A Successful Garden Layout
When planting a vegetable garden, it’s important to plan ahead regarding the garden layout. There are many things to consider when planning your garden. The area needs to receive the right amount of sun and moisture, and the soil needs to have proper drainage. Two of those items are actually things that can be controlled. Irrigation or sprinklers can be moved, installed, or adjusted to give the garden the right amount of moisture. The soil can be tilled and supplemented with a fertilizer, and other materials to improve the condition of the soil.
The garden layout will depend on several factors. One of those aspects is the process of deciding which vegetables you want to plant. Think about the things you like to eat, then narrow down the list if space or time is an issue. Narrowing down the list can be done by researching the amount of care each particular plant requires, and also by deciding which vegetables you prefer to eat really fresh. For example, tomato plants are pretty easy to grow and they also have a spectacular flavor fresh out of the garden. Green beans, on the other hand, take more work to care for and grow properly, and a person may not have as much desire for fresh green beans.
Now that you’ve decided on the vegetables you want to grow, the real garden layout planning should begin. Some vegetables, such as cucumbers, squash, and pumpkins, are grown naturally in hills and need quite a bit of space. Some vegetables, such as peas, are vines and need support on which to grow and spread. Of course, others, such as corn, are best planted in rows. Growing vegetables in rows is a good way to be able to distinguish which vegetables are planted where, especially when the plants are young. The other thing that you need to know about your vegetables is when they ripen. If one of the vegetables that are chosen ripens early, one option is to plant another vegetable in its place after the first vegetable is harvested.
For your garden layout, it’s also necessary to know which vegetables grow well together and which ones do not. Beans and onions shouldn’t be planted next to each other because the onions won’t grow well and broccoli will inhibit the growth of tomato plants. Another reason to choose what to plant next to each other is taste. Vegetable plants that contain a higher water content tend to take on the taste of their neighbors. This can be a problem if you don’t want your cucumbers to taste like garlic, but it can work to your advantage if you want to try something new. Some people will plant cucumbers next to dillweed to purposely add a little dill flavor. If the garden is small, remember also to plant taller plants such as corn and beans on the north side of the garden so they will not overshadow the rest of your sun-seeking vegetable plants.
Long rows and areas of hills are not necessarily the only way to lay out a garden. A potager is a French term that describes an ornamental vegetable garden layout. Decorative, as well as delicious, vegetable plants, are incorporated into potager gardens. These plants can include ruby chard and red cabbage. Sometimes flowers are also mixed into the garden. The entire garden is planned to be pleasing to all the senses as well as delicious upon harvest. Depending on the size of the garden, there can also be gravel or paving stone paths winding throughout the garden. A traditional potager garden is bordered by hedges, but simpler gardens in smaller spaces can also be designed in a potager style.
Vegetable Garden Design
It is important to layout and plans a garden prior to actually breaking ground. Planning a garden is one of the most important keys to a successful garden. There are many different areas you can designate to start your garden. You may want to have your garden in your backyard, on your patio, near the side of your house, or even on your window sills. You can have a very successful herb garden growing right on your kitchen window cell, allowing you to add flavorful fresh herbs to your meals as they are required.
A traditional garden will be designed with long straight rows. If you have seen many pictures of gardens on TV, you have most likely seen this type of vegetable garden design. However many home gardeners like the simplicity of planting their garden in a bed rather than long stretching rows. Walking on the garden soil during the growing season will ruin the soil structure. Therefore it is best to layout your garden bed so you can access the plants without having to step into the garden bed itself. Additionally, some people prefer to add an extra 10 inches of soil to the bed, thus creating a raised bed, which will help the garden with drainage. This raised bed garden also has the benefit of slightly higher soil temperature.
Some people prefer to have an ascetically pleasing layout for their vegetable garden design. This is known as a potager and is when flowers and herbs are mixed in with the vegetables in the garden to create an eye appealing garden. When laying out your garden it is important to keep in mind how much space neighboring plants will take up. If the plant is quite large and will grow quickly it could shade plants that are smaller. However, if the neighboring plants that are smaller are harvested prior to the larger plants, they may be an ideal companion.
When you are planning your garden keep in mind that there are a few vegetables that will inhibit the growth of other vegetables. This includes potatoes, which will limit the growth of squash and tomatoes. Beans will stall the growth of onions. Broccoli will hamper the growth of tomatoes. Finally, carrots will slow the growth of dill.
Crops need to be rotated yearly to prevent diseases as well as maintaining the soils micro-nutrients. The following classes of plants should be rotated. Generally, people adhere to a four-year rotation, where the plants will wind up in the same place they started four years ago.
- The Solanaceae Family which includes tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers.
- The Cucurbits family which includes zucchini, squash, cucumbers, and melons.
- The Brassicas Family which includes kale, cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli
- The Legumes family which includes beans and peas.
- The Crucifers family which includes radishes, turnips, and collards.
- The Mescluns family which includes endive, arugula, chicory, and swiss chard.
- The Alliums family which includes leeks, shallots, garlic, scallions, and onions.