Vegetable Garden Layout Plan: 3-Steps to Summer Success

Vegetable Garden Layout Plan: 3-Steps to Summer Success

Winter is the time to work on your vegetable garden layout plan. If you’ve been thumbing through seed catalogues or your head is full of exciting ideas from books or magazines, grab some graph paper, a pencil, a rubber and a notebook or sheet of paper. It’s a good idea to get your ideas recorded while they are fresh in your mind and swimming in enthusiasm. What’s more, most of the work can be done indoors away from wintry blasts.

It’s well worth the effort and it ensures peace of mind. You know that there’s room for everything and your seeds and plants grow in the best conditions you can provide. There are garden plans galore on the internet, some of them free, if you would rather do the work on a computer. I’m old-fashioned and prefer to play around on paper, with as many rubbings-out as necessary.

Of course you can garden without a plan – carrots here, oh yes, beet there, lettuces in that spot over there. And all will go well until you find you have corn shading the tomatoes, lettuces are scorching in full sun and there’s no space for a pumpkin. Oh dear!

Your vegetable garden layout plan could be as simple as deciding what you want to grow, what part of the garden would be most suitable for each type of vegetable, and when to plant them. However, if you feel like being inventive or creative, now’s the time to do it. You can change the layout or turn the vegetable plot into a veritable work of art. In this article, though, I’m dealing with basics. You can build on them if you wish.

Preparing Your Vegetable Layout Plan

1. First you need information

Get out the notebook or sheet of paper and make an information sheet.

  • If you haven’t done so in the past, determine what kind of climate you have. You usually don’t need too much detail, just cold, temperate or warm (sub-tropical/tropical).
  • Now you can make a list of plants or seeds you want to grow, making sure that they are suitable for your climate.
  • Beside each name on the list make notes of any special requirements such as the amount of sun or shade, water requirement and whether it needs growth support such as trellis or stakes.
  • Next, look at your garden plot and note the direction of the prevailing wind, the amount of sun it gets, and any shade and shelter it may have. Does some part of it bake in the midday sun? Consider drainage and wind intensity and direction.
  • Remember that some plants, such as corn, are wind-pollinated.
  • It is a good time now to consider crop rotation and to note where last year’s crops were planted. Remember, too, that you’ll probably require successive crops of dwarf beans,  lettuce, and other salad vegetables.

2. Consider the needs of your chosen plants when you plan the vegetable garden

The better you know the requirements of the crops you plan to grow, the more likely you are to grow healthy plants that can withstand disease, pests and less than optimal weather conditions.

Some, like broccoli, cauliflower, onions and peas are cool season vegetables. They will usually tolerate frosts. In the warmer months they will bolt or, in the case of peas, become dry and lose their sweetness. You need to plant these early and in a cooler part of the garden if possible.

Cabbage, carrots, radish, parsnip, leek, lettuce and celery require a moderate temperature. They will grow best in temperatures between 15 – 27 deg.C (60 – 80F) and they are fussy about this: if you grow them out of season they will bolt and you’ll get nothing to eat from them.

Warm season vegetables prefer temperatures above 20 deg.C (70 deg.F). They will probably die if exposed to frost. Plants in this category include corn, capsicums, potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants, beans and all the vine crops. So plant them later, for growth in the warmer months.

At this stage you can draw one or more rough plan(s), consulting your information sheet, and check it/them:

  • Have I planted too many vegetables from one family close together, such as cabbages, broccoli and cauliflowers? They attract the same pests and large groups are more noticeable sheet:
  • Will the plants get the right amount of sun?
  • Do others need to be protected from the hot afternoon sun?
  • Have I catered for crops, like sweet corn, that are wind-pollinated?
  • Is the watering system adequate?

When you are satisfied with the rough draft, get out you graph paper and pencil or pen.

3. Now draw your vegetable garden layout plan

Now you can draw or sketch a plan of the garden bed.

  • Mark in access paths if necessary and decide where you will plant your crops.
  • Do you want to include companion plants?
  • Decide, if necessary, how you will protect your plants from family pets, neighbourhood cats, birds and any other creatures that could cause damage.
  • Work out how many of each kind of vegetable you will need.
  • Don’t have a row of cabbages maturing at the same time, when you know your family can use only one or two. You can overcome this problem by using varieties that mature at different times.
  • Alternatively, allow in your plan for later sowings or plantings of say, carrots, that will see you supplied through into winter.
  • Decide when you’ll sow your seeds.
  • If you plan to buy some seedlings instead of growing everything from seed, make a note of when they can be planted.
  • If you are growing from seed you will need to know when they can be sown indoors or straight into a garden bed.

Final Comment

If you’re not the sort of person who normally likes to plan everything in advance, you may find this a chore. Nevertheless do make a vegetable garden layout plan.  It will pay dividends in top quality, fresh organic vegetables ready when you want them.

Reference – Pages that might help

http://vegetableplanner.vegetable-gardening-online.com/

http://www.keeperofthehome.org/2011/03/how-to-plan-your-garden.html

http://gonnafly.hubpages.com/hub/vegetable-garden-plans-2

http://www.vegetable-gardening-online.com/vegetable-garden-worksheets.html

http://www.bhg.com/bhg/xfile.jsp?item=/marketing/registration/splash_pages/bhg_splash_PAG_PlanAGardenGeneral&ordersrc=bingsearch68428Garden-Planner

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