The first step to starting a new vegetable garden is to map out your garden. Simply draw up an approximate plan of where you’d like everything to go, keeping as close to scale as possible. Make sure you take into account paths and such.
Next, you need to decide which vegetables you wish to grow. Make a list of everything you’d like to grow, and then narrow the list down to those that you can easily get locally. For example, exotic lettuces may be expensive and hard to find, and tomatoes from grocery stores usually taste terrible.
Don’t go to the trouble of drawing a plan and then ignoring it – follow it! Once you’ve roughed out your beds, it’s time to work out where your various plants go so that you keep any problems to a minimum as your crop matures. This is the reason a map is so important.
Put a lot of thought into your vegetable plants requirements. You need to know you’re planting your chosen vegetables in the best position for maximum growth. For example, learn which ones tolerate shade and which ones require full sun.
If space is a problem, here’s one simple way to fully utilize the area you’re able to use. This method is widely used in France. As an example, if you have carrots and spinach on your list you simply mix together a packet of each.
Then you’d make a 1/2 inch deep furrow in a row and sow the mixture of the two seeds into that furrow and cover. The spinach will grow quickly and open up the soil so the carrot seeds can germinate better.
In about four weeks, you can start to harvest some spinach to thin it, making room for the slower growing carrots. By the time the carrots start to reach maturity, the spinach will be completely used up, and the carrots will have plenty of room to grow.
This method can successfully be used for many different types of vegetables. Radishes can be planted well with lettuce or parsley, for example. The French will often sow early radish varieties with lettuce and turnips all at the same time.
The radishes are harvested first and are finished by the time your lettuce are ready. In a similar manner, the turnips will only be starting to mature as the last of the lettuce are harvested. All your taller growing vegetables should be planted on the north side of your vegetable garden if your rows are in a east-west direction.You do this so that your shorter plants aren’t in the shade from the shadows of the taller ones.
In the average home vegetable garden, the tallest plant is usually corn. Make sure you plant this so that it doesn’t overshadow your shorter plants and cause them to lack sufficient sunshine.
Of course the reverse of this can be useful if you’re wanting to grow vegetables that prefer dappled sunlight or shade. You can be imaginative and make use of larger plants to shade these smaller ones. A case in point would be to grow a tall row of peas or beans to provide shade for a cool climate vegetable like spinach.
This could help you grow shade-loving vegetables in your garden, even if you don’t have any shady spots available. By being creative with placement, you might be able to grow vegetables you never thought you’d be able to grow in your location!