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.
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:
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.
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.