Planning your garden beds

Now that you are day dreaming about all of the vegetables you want to grow, how are you going to make it happen? It is time to plan how you will plant the vegetables in your garden beds.

How much space do you have?
Using the square foot gardening method, first determine how much square footage you have to work with. I have 2 large garden beds, both 10ft x5ft, for a total of 50 square feet per bed.

How many plants can you have per square foot?
I reference the book “Square Foot Gardening” by Mel Bartholomew for this information. Make a list of the vegetables you want to plant and how many you can fit per square foot. Here is my list:

  • Beets: 6 per square foot (I planted more than this last year and did not feel they had enough space to grow)
  • Swiss chard: 4/sqr ft
  • Lettuce: 4/sq. ft
  • Spinach: 9/sq. ft
  • Broccoli: 1/sq. ft
  • Radishes: 16/sq. ft
  • Leeks: 6/sq. ft
  • Green onion: 6/sq. ft
  • Beans: 9/sq. ft
  • Carrots: 16/sq. ft
  • Onion sets: 16/sq. ft
  • Summer squash/ Zucchini: 1/sq. ft
  • Arugula/rocket: 6/ sq. ft

Key considerations:

  • Don’t plant the same thing you planted in that bed the year before. It is important to rotate your crops. This mitigates the build up of pests and can improve soil structure.
  • Try to know the antagonists and companions of your vegetables, at least the first time you plant, so you know what you should try to plant together and keep apart. For example, lettuce, carrots, and radishes grow well together so try to plant these in the same bed or near each other. Don’t be too hard on yourself because this doesn’t always work out. I reference the book, “How to Grow More Vegetables” by John Jeavons for this information.
  • Consider grouping vegetables by the amount of sun/shade they need.
  • How will the plant grow when it is larger? If it is really big or expands, how will that effect the vegetables next to it? For example, I planted Zucchini next to the broccoli since the broccoli grows large and high so the zucchini can extend into the broccoli without overtaking it.
  • How much do you want of each vegetable? If you really love a vegetable dedicate a larger amount of square footage, if not, consider a square foot or two. I love lettuce, so I am giving it 6 square feet, whereas I only use green onion for seasoning, so will plant 1 square foot.
  • Know what time of the season to plant each crop – spring, summer, or fall. You may have a crop that is spring only and you can then once harvested, you can use that space for a summer crop.

Sketch your planting planDSC_0002
I am a visual person so I sketched both of my beds and penciled in what I would plant in each square foot. This is important because you will be much more organized and prepared when you actually plant your beds. This will also ensure that you utilize every square foot of the garden bed. I planned these based on what I would be growing in spring and summer.

Now you have a plan, next, get your soil ready for planting.

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One thought on “Planning your garden beds

  1. Pingback: Seed and Sprout

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