When individuals think about starting a vegetable garden, they often jump in to quick and plant all in one go.
This can be one route to failure for any number of reasons. You can fall foul of pests and bugs, weeds can take forever to maintain, or your veggies just don’t grow well next to other varieties.
Garden design can be all the difference between a bumper crop and a pitiful amount of vegetables.
We will look at some gardening tips to layout your gardens, and not only will this help your veggies grow better, but it can make your garden more pleasing to the eyes.
There are a number of vegetable garden layouts, which are suitable for different types of garden spaces.
Factors like garden pests and the weather are beyond our control. However, there are some things, which influence successful crops with companion planting. These can be summarized as:
Mixing up your veggies
When you plant large areas of a single crop, or of a large single crop family, these will attract pests.
Although, mixing up your planting will confuse the pests. This tactic does vary if you plant veggies that will receive protection in a tunnel or horticultural fleece.
Cauliflowers, cabbages and broccoli will grow in this manner while they have this protection.
Growing accompanying insectary plants
There are several plants, which attract beneficial insects such as hover flies or ladybugs.
These help control other harmful pests, so planting these along with your veggies can help. Marigolds, Poached Egg Plant, and Calendula are some you can choose.
Think about support and shade
When planting, you do need to make sure tall plants don’t block the sun.
However, you can plant tall plants, which help. Lettuce will require shade, while you can grow sweetcorn and use the stems to support climbing beans.
Vegetable Garden Planning
You can draw a sketch of your vegetable garden plans on paper, and this will give you an idea of the space you have available.
There are though some extra questions you need to ask before jumping in and planting to your layout ideas.
How many plants can you grow in your allocated space?
Cramming too many plants into one area will result in poor harvests. Vegetables fight for nutrients as they get larger, and the growing of one can influence smaller vegetables in the area.
What is the best layout?
You may have your vegetable garden ideas, but this doesn’t mean they are the best for your plants.
Think of your growing vegetables rather than looking at them while they are still seeds.
When should I plant?
Any vegetable garden layout ideas need to allow for frost dates. Earth can be rock hard early in the growing season, or your plants haven’t harvested by the time frosts are setting in at the tail end of a season.
It can be hard for new gardeners to get it right, however, there are some more practical ways to go about planning a garden, and these can even increase harvests in smaller areas rather than one large garden space.
Practical Garden Layout Options
Vegetable gardens need nutrient rich soil that drains well. Many gardens don’t have earth, which meets these criteria.
The best way to get around this is to look at raised garden beds or container gardening.
While this can cost a little more to begin with, these costs will quickly be recouped by harvests that are more bountiful. Additionally, your gardens will be more manageable and easier to work in.
A raised garden is a rectangular frame that is often made from lumber. They are usually eight feet in length by four feet wide.
You can make these from any number of other materials such as brick. The main thing is some good drainage holes around the bottom.
Once you have your frame, you need to line the bottom to prevent weed growth, and then fill with good quality top soil. This you will need to purchase, and it will be you largest cost.
When you have multiple raised garden beds, you will find it is an easier garden plan to follow. You can still plant in rows if you desire, or you can follow alternative vegetable garden ideas.
Square Foot Gardening
The method of square foot gardening is straightforward to follow. This makes efficient use of small areas. For beginners, this can take much of the hard work out of using a garden planner to know what to plant where.
In a square foot garden, you plant in four by four feet blocks rather than in rows. If using a raised bed, you may need to construct these to four by four rather than eight by four.
They can be built to any dimension as long as you have space for one-foot blocks. This garden plan enables you to plant different crops depending on their sizes.
An example being one cabbage per square or 16 radishes in a square. The only difference between this and a regular raised garden is you lay small battens to mark the areas.
When you use these garden layout ideas, there are countless benefits for vegetable gardening. One of the most significant benefits is you can extend the time you can grow.
Soil in a raised bed warms quicker and stays warm longer as they are above ground.
Air circulation is improved in your plants and as well as in the soil because it never becomes compact.
This type of garden you can have almost anywhere. They are ideal close to the house, so you have easy access to a kitchen garden where you grow herbs or other things you frequently use in the kitchen.
Garden plans should consider every inch of space. This is where container gardening comes into practice. These are in effect small raised gardens but using pots.
These can sit anywhere, and even on a patio. You may think plants to grow in these containers will all be small, but in a large pot, you can very easily grow potatoes right on your doorstep.
A large vegetable garden will require more planning and care. These simpler methods are much easier to tend to once you have the frames built.
You naturally have companion planting and there is plenty of space between each of your plants.
This means they will never contend for nutrients in the same way as in the earth. Once you decide on the best vegetables to grow, you will see you can have larger harvests without digging up half your garden.