Planning a Vegetable Garden Layout
If you are brand new to growing vegetables and haven’t even planted anything yet you are probably asking where should I put it? What should it look like? How big should it be? Should I have raised beds or should I even have just pots or other containers with my plants in? How much time do I need to put in? Should I compost? How much water do I give them? In the beggining the questions seem endless but just take it one step at a time and try not to bite off more than you can easily chew at once.
Where should I put my vegetable garden?
Where is the tap? – this is a big consideration you need an easily accessible water supply. You also need to consider the water that runs off – using a hose on a balcony in an apartment block doesn’t sound like the best idea to me. You could use a watering can but again where will the water that comes from that go and where will the run off go?
What is the sun doing? An open sunny spot that is protected from strong winds is ideal. The best tasting vegetables are those that grow quickly. To grow quickly vegetables need as much sunlight as they can get. This is particularly true in the colder months when the days are shorter. At least 4 to 5 hours of direct sun per day is required. Think about where the shadows from the house or fences fall at different times of the year. My vegetable garden is in full shade during winter I have successfully grown brocolli and cabbages in full shade and they were perfectly happy.
You also shouldn’t put it anywhere near large trees as the roots of the tree will compete with the vegetables for water and nutrients and it will be difficult to dig. A level site is best and will be the easiest to manage. It’s also a good idea to put the vegetable garden close to the house if you can so it’s easy to pick things when you need it.
How Big Should It Be?
A vegetable garden can be as big or as small as you like. Half a dozen pots on a balcony or
patio can be a vegetable garden. You can have vertical garden going up a wall. Your available space and your own enthusiasm will determine the answers to this question. Generally it is best to have beds that are about 5 feet wide (150 cm) and paths that are 1 -1&1/2 feet (30cm-40cm) between each bed. This width allows you to work from both sides to weed, plant or harvest your crops and the width allows you to plant three plants of broccoli, tomato or cabbage. You could also plant three rows of beans, peas or sweet corn. You’d also be able to fit 6 plants of beetroot, carrots or lettuce in this width. My general advice would be to start small see if you like it and then expand as your knowledge and confidence increases and you get an idea of how long you need to dedicate to your new hobby. It’s far better to look after a small area well than to be swamped with the commitment of a large garden. My garden is just a rectangle with some timbers holding the soil in place and then I have timber boards that i can walk on the plant, pick or pull weeds. I can move the timber paths out of the way to dig it all over – it works for me. I have concrete path on one side and stones around the other three sides. Originally we put it up against the fence but I found that it was too hard to get into plant and pick stuff. Also the fence got quite hot in summer and the plants tended to wilt in the heat. It was good for climbing plants though it is all a bit of trail and error just do what you think will work for you. If you’d like any specific advice give me information and about your situation and I’ll give you my opinion.
Should I have raised beds?
There are few major advantages of raised beds. They can be easier to work and are less back breaking I have done a post about raised garden beds which you can read here.