Before you get too carried away planting your new vegetable garden, you need to draw a plan. This is how you maximize the space available. Do your plan as close to scale as you can and work out where you want your vegetables to go. Don’t forget to leave space for access, such as paths.
Now you need to make some decisions about what you’d like to grow. Make a list of your choices while keeping in mind what’s readily available from your local plant nursery. Try to avoid any unusual vegetables, they can often be expensive, hard to get or hard to grow.
Now go back to your garden map and decide what plants go where. The importance of a good plan is to avoid any problems as your plants start to grow, so plan carefully. It’s also important to follow your plan closely.
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 you’re low on space, you can utilize the French cultivation method. This is an easy way to make the most out of the little space you have. Let’s say you wish to sow spinach and carrots. You’d take one packet of each and mix them together.
The thinking behind this method is that spinach grows a lot quicker than carrots, it also breaks up the soil and gives the carrots a better chance to grow. Just sow your mixed seeds into a 1/2 inch deep furrow and cover with soil.
In about four weeks you will be able to start harvesting your young spinach which in turn allows your carrots the space to grow. You’ll have a good crop of juicy carrots by the time your spinach harvest is finished.
Another illustration would be parsley or lettuce with radishes. This system can be used with lots of vegetables that mature at different times. Early varieties of radish sown with turnips and lettuce is often done in France.
The quickest growers are the radishes, which will be exhausted before the lettuce are mature enough to be harvested. Likewise the turnips will be ready to pull up by the time the lettuce are just about finished. Also, if your rows of plants are in an east-west pattern, you need to sow your tallest plants to the north side of these rows. This is to make sure that your shorter plants don’t get shaded by the taller ones.
You should always make sure to plant things like corn, which is probably the tallest plant you would grow in a vegetable garden, in a position where it doesn’t interfere with the sunlight reaching your smaller plants.
Make use of this tactic for plants that like plenty of shade by deliberately planting them beside taller ones. You’re then creating their ideal growing conditions. As an illustration, plant a cool weather plant like spinach in the shade of taller growing plants such as beans or peas.
By being imaginative in where you place your plants, you can have vegetables you would otherwise think you can’t grow. So don’t think you’re limited by the position of your vegetable garden, you can create the ideal growing conditions by being selective with your planting!
Growing your own food is a great way to save money and eat more healthily so it’s important to make the most of the space you have available.
Whether you’re starting a new garden or working with the same space as last year, a few simple changes can greatly improve your harvest.
In this video we explain 5 ways that you can improve your garden’s productivity and give step-by-step instructions which you can start using in your garden today.
If you love growing your own food, why not take a look at our online Garden Planner which is available from several major websites and seed suppliers:
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