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Vegetable Garden Design
So, you’d like to start a vegetables garden. Where do you begin? It’s probably best to figure out what you want to plant, how much you want to plant, and where to plant it before you do anything. Here are a few tips and guidelines to get you on your way.
Tickle your tastebuds
Your goal should be to plant the kind of garden that will yield the homegrown vegetables that you know you and your family can enjoy. Don’t over plant. There’s no sense spending time and effort growing things you won’t use or must give away. Focus on your favorites and enjoy them yourself.
Hatch a plot
There are many ways to plan a garden. Let’s assume that you have sufficient land and space to grow vegetables. Don’t worry, we’re not talking about acres here. For people who have plenty of time and space, the traditional garden plot is acceptable.
Normally, a manageable garden is thought to be about 10 feet by 10 feet. These gardens can be created with long rows or partitioned into grids. Sketch a diagram where each vegetable is to be planted. But remember, large plots can be a chore when it comes to upkeep.
Better, not bigger
Just getting started, limited on space, or want something less demanding? Try planting vegetables within smaller sized plots. Smaller bed layouts are great for those who have limited room and are often more compatible with today’s busy lifestyles. The beds should be 3 or 4 feet in width.
For more yield, plant multiple beds with paths between them to allow for easier reach and easy upkeep. With smaller plots and paths you can easily maneuver around the sides of the garden. You won’t be packing down the soil and it makes watering, weeding, and harvesting your vegetables that much easier. With ample space, you can plant more and more beds as you choose.
Grow up, not out
Grow up! Plant crops that can thrive by growing vertically using plant stakes and supports or up and over a trellis or arbor. That way you leave more ground space for other crops which increases your yield without increasing plot size. Everyone thinks of tomatoes, of course, but pole beans, melons, cucumbers and gourds all do well above ground.
Location, location, location
Plant your garden where it will receive at least six hours of direct sunlight a day. Vegetables like tomatoes and melons love the sun. If your location is partially shaded, you can still grow leafy crops like spinach and lettuce.
It’s in the dirt
You need healthy soil for a successful vegetable garden. Enrich your soil with generous amounts of organic matter like rotted manure, sphagnum peat moss, compost, and leaf mold. Materials should be tilled into the soil in the early spring or late fall.
More leisure, less labor
Spread a thick mulch in your garden to help eliminate weeds, maintain soil moisture and improve soil structure. Excellent mulch materials include shredded bark, compost, cocoa bean hulls, and straw.
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