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Planting Vegetable Garden

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Planting Vegetable Garden

Why Plant a Garden with Vegetables Starting a vegetable garden at home is an easy way to save money — that $2 tomato plant can easily provide you with 10 pounds of fruit over the course of a season. But planting a garden with vegetables also gives you the pleasure of savoring a delicious, sun-warmed tomato fresh from your backyard. In almost every case, the flavor and texture of varieties you can grow far exceed grocery store produce. Plus, growing vegetables can be fun. It’s a great way to spend time with children or have a place to get away and spend time outdoors in the sun. Learning what to plant in a garden with vegetables, and how to tend them for the best harvest, is probably easier than you think. If you plan it right, you can enjoy a beautiful garden full of the fruits of your labor, without having to spend hours and hours tending it. Planting a garden that includes vegetables and flowers means you’ve combined natural companions, and that can turn a potential eyesore into an attractive landscape feature. Read on for more tips on your first vegetable garden! Get inspired by the White House vegetable garden!
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Planting Vegetable Garden

Intensive Cropping This type of planting a garden with vegetables means using in wide bands, generally 1-4 feet across and as long as you like. Intensive cropping reduces the amount of area needed for paths, but the closer spacing of the plants usually means you have to weed by hand. Because of the handwork required, when thinking how to plan a vegetable garden with rows remember: It is important not to make the bands wider than you can comfortably reach. Intensive cropping also allows you to design your vegetable garden, making it a good choice, for example, if you want to grow vegetables in your front yard. It’s a great solution for mixing vegetables with ornamentals, as well. A specialized version of intensive cropping is the “square-foot method.” This system divides the garden into small beds (typically 4×4 feet), that are further subdivided into 1-foot squares. Each 1-foot square is planted with one, four, nine, or 16 plants, depending on the size of the plant when it matures. It also makes sense to leave some areas of the garden unplanted at first. This allows you to plant a second crop to harvest later in the season. Lettuce, radishes, green onions, carrots, and bush beans are commonly planted several times during the season. Don’t miss these other vegetable-garden design tips! Download our free vegetable garden plans!
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Planting Vegetable Garden

The shape of your beds can make a difference, too. Raised beds are more space-efficient if the tops are gently rounded to form an arc. A rounded bed that is 5 feet wide across its base, for instance, will give you a 6-foot-wide arc above it—creating a planting surface that’s a foot wider than that of a flat bed. That foot might not seem like much, but multiply it by the length of your bed and you’ll see that it can make a big difference in total planting area. In a 20-foot-long bed, for example, rounding the top increases your total planting area from 100 to 120 square feet. That’s a 20 percent gain in planting space in a bed that takes up the same amount of ground space. Lettuce, spinach, and other greens are perfect crops for planting on the edges of a rounded bed.
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Planting Vegetable Garden

The first way to maximize space in the garden is to convert from traditional row planting to 3- or 4-foot-wide raised beds. Single rows of crops, while they might be efficient on farms that use large machines for planting, cultivating, and harvesting, are often not the best way to go in the backyard vegetable garden. In a home-sized garden, the fewer rows you have, the fewer paths between rows you will need, and the more square footage you will have available for growing crops.
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Planting Vegetable Garden

Care and Feeding Most vegetables like a steady supply of moisture, but not so much that they are standing in water. About an inch of water per week is usually sufficient, provided by you if Mother Nature fails to come through. Water when the top inch of soil is dry. For in-ground crops, that may mean watering once or twice a week; raised beds drain faster and may require watering every other day. Weeds compete with your vegetables for water and nutrients, so it’s important to keep them to a minimum. Use a hoe or hand fork to lightly stir (cultivate) the top inch of soil regularly to discourage weed seedlings. A mulch of clean straw, compost, or plastic can keep weeds at bay around larger plants like tomatoes. Fertilizing your crops is critical to maximizing yields. Organic gardeners often find that digging in high quality compost at planting time is all their vegetables need. Most gardeners, however, should consider applying a packaged vegetable fertilizer, following the directions on the box or bag. Don’t apply more than recommended as this can actually decrease yield. By using vining crops like pole beans and snap peas when planting a garden with vegetables, you can make use of vertical space in the garden and boost yield per square foot.
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Planting Vegetable Garden

Learning what to plant in a garden with vegetables, and how to tend them for the best harvest, is probably easier than you think. If you plan it right, you can enjoy a beautiful garden full of the fruits of your labor, without having to spend hours and hours tending it. Planting a garden that includes vegetables and flowers means you’ve combined natural companions, and that can turn a potential eyesore into an attractive landscape feature. Read on for more tips on your first vegetable garden!
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Planting Vegetable Garden

Lots of people dream of having a huge vegetable garden, a sprawling site that will be big enough to grow everything they want, including space-hungry crops, such as corn, dried beans, pumpkins and winter squash, melons, cucumbers and watermelons. If you have the room and, even more importantly, the time and energy needed to grow a huge garden well, go for it. But vegetable gardens that make efficient use of growing space are much easier to care for, whether you’re talking about a few containers on the patio or a 50-by-100-foot plot in the backyard. Raised beds are a good choice for beginners because they make the garden more manageable.
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Planting Vegetable Garden

Determining How Much Space You Need Once you know what you want to plant, you can figure out how to plan a vegetable garden with the right amount of space. Keep in mind that when figuring out what to plant in a garden with vegetables, you don’t need a large space to begin. If you choose to grow in containers, you don’t even need a yard — a deck or balcony may provide plenty of space. In fact, a well-tended 10×10-foot vegetable garden will usually produce more than a weed-filled or disease-ridden 25×50-foot bed. Get ideas for growing veggies in containers.
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If the area you are going to use for your vegetable garden is new then the next decision is what style of garden and planting system you would like to use: raised beds, traditional rows, square foot gardening etc. In general it’s a good idea to define garden beds 4 feet (1.2m) wide and as long as you want them to be with a 2 foot (60cm) path between them. This is about as wide as you can go before it becomes uncomfortable to lean into the middle of the bed (you’ll appreciate this when weeding) without treading on the soil (best avoided as it compacts the soil structure). If you have children around then it’s useful to clearly mark the edges and building raised beds is a good way to do this (also good if you have heavy or waterlogged soil as they drain well.)
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Choosing Varieties Once you start deciding what to plant in a garden with vegetables, you’ll probably notice that the possibilities for are endless. There are thousands of tomato varieties alone! When selecting varieties, pay close attention to the description on the tag or in the catalog. Each variety will be a little different: Some produce smaller plants that are ideal for small gardens or containers, others offer great disease resistance, improved yields, better heat- or cold-tolerance, or other features. Seed catalogs are one of the best sources for vegetables. Once you narrow your choices to types of vegetables, pick two or three varieties that seem promising. That way if one variety doesn’t perform well, you’ll have other plants to make up for it. Next year, grow the best performer again, and choose another to try. Many vegetables can be started early indoors or purchased already started from a garden center. The benefit of this approach is that you can have a crop ready to harvest several weeks earlier than if you were to plant seeds in the ground. Starting vegetables indoors is not difficult, but it does require some time and attention. Seed packages list the options you have for planting particular seed. Use our plant encyclopedia to find the best vegetable varieties for your garden!

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9 Photos of the "Planting Vegetable Garden"

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