Posted on 14 April 2009 by

Planning Your Edible Garden

garden-plotBy Vanessa Richins

If you were building your own house, you wouldn’t start nailing boards together and hope for the best, would you?

You can avoid some problems in your edible garden if you take time to thoughtfully plan it out instead of just buying plants and putting them anywhere.

1) Measure the plot out

First, start by measuring out the space you have available. There are several ways to do this. You can measure the length of your own foot, then carefully step off the area. If it’s a small plot, use a measuring tape. You may want a contractor’s measuring wheel (I bought one for about $15) for larger plots.

If you are using containers, write down how many you have and how big they are.

2) How will you water?

Think about how you will be watering your crops. It’s harder if you have to carry buckets of water over long distances.

3) Think of what you like to eat

One common mistake gardeners make is planting lots of vegetables they think they’d like to eat. However, once harvest comes, they find out they really don’t even like it.

Start by writing down the vegetables your family already likes to eat. You can certainly experiment with some new additions – in fact, a great way to get children to try new vegetables is to have them help grow it. However, especially if it’s your first time gardening, focus more on what you already love until you get the hang of growing food.

4) Calculate how many plants you can fit

With plants, you always have to make your plans based on the mature size of the plant. Use the final size along with your measurements to see how many plants you can reasonably fit.

5) Try companion planting

You should also consider companion gardening. Placing certain plants near each other can add benefits such as pest and disease resistance, better flavor, and more.

These five steps alone will greatly increase your chances of success. What other tips would you suggest?

2 Responses to “Planning Your Edible Garden”

  1. invisiblebees Says:

    This is a great list. I’d add two things to it: (1) Don’t sow all your seeds at once. For example, stagger sowing seeds for your favorite lettuce crops and field greens, so you can keep the heads coming all season long. (2) If you’re not working in pots or raised beds but directly in the ground, get ye some mulch for the pathways. We’re putting down clover in our pathways this year.

  2. Laminated Garden Guides Says:

    If you are starting your vegetable garden for the first time, don’t make it too big so you don’t get overwhelmed with work. It’s important to consider how much time you have to look after the garden, because that will help you decide how big your garden should be and also which vegetables to plant (some require more work than others).

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