This is the year!
This is the year you have decided you are going to start your vegetable garden.
The only problem is that you have no epic layout of vegetable gardens you can choose from.
There are a number of vegetable garden layouts you can choose from, each with its advantages.
In this article, I will highlight the layout of a vegetable garden, the different ideas out there, and which layout of the vegetable garden might work best for you!
Read also: How Many Onions Grow From One Bulb?
Layouts of Vegetable Garden
Before you plan your vegetable garden layout, there are a number of things to consider. The garden will excel in well-draining, nutrient-rich soil. It is perhaps a good idea to conduct a soil test to determine its composition.
Once the results are in, you will know if and with what the soil needs to be improved. It is at this moment that you can add fertilizer, humus, sand, compost, or other ingredients.
Additionally, the garden should be located close to a convenient source of water. Young plants need to be watered often, and watering can be tasking if its source is not close to the garden. Also, your garden site should not be close to shrub roots or established trees that can steal moisture from your vegetable plants.
If you have inadequate soil or a lack of sun in the desired garden area, black walnut trees nearby, try planting in raised beds. Raised beds offer better drainage, warm quicker so you can plant in earlier in the season, and the soil remains warmer than a garden plot which may bring the crops to maturity sooner.
Which Layout of Vegetable Garden is Good for You?
Here are a number of the most common layouts of vegetable gardens you can choose:
1. Four Square
Picture the bed of your garden getting divided into four squares, as though you have a piece of paper and have drawn a square on it. Then cross inside the Square. Each smaller Square within the larger Square represents a different bed.
There are four categories of beds depending on the number of nutrients they demand.
Heavy feeders such as leafy greens and corn require lots of nutrients and can be included in one square bed.
Middle feeds like peppers and tomatoes will be in another.
Light feeders such as carrots and turnips, which like potash in the soil, can be grown together.
The fourth category is the soil builders, vegetables that leach nitrogen into the soul like peas. This will also be grown together.
This type of vegetable garden layout has the merit of compelling you to practice crop rotation. The layout is normally from top-left and counter-clockwise: heavy feeders, middle feeders, light feeders, and soil builders.
Plan on rotating each group to the next Square in successive years after the harvesting season. Practicing crop rotation will minimize pests and soil diseases.
The most straightforward vegetable garden plan is made of a design with straight, long rows in a north-south orientation. This orientation ensures that the garden gets maximum sun exposure and air circulation. A garden that runs east to west tends to get too shaded from the crops growing in the preceding row.
You can grow tall plants, such as beans and corn, on the north side of the garden to keep them from shading small crops. Then medium-sized plants like cabbage, squash, and tomatoes can be grown in the center. Finally, short crops such as radishes, lettuce, and carrots can be grown in the southern end of the garden.
3. Square Foot
This layout of the vegetable garden is normally set up in grids of 4 X 4 squares with wood or strings attached to the frame to divide the bed into equal square-foot sections. You can plant one type of vegetable in each section.
If you plant vine plants, consider having them at the back with a trellis to give the plant room to grow.
You can calculate the number of plants per section by dividing the lowest number of spacing inches you need into 12 inches. This makes up the individual square foot plot. For instance, the closest spacing for carrots is averagely about 3 inches. Hence, your calculation would be 12 divided by 3, which is 4. This implies that you fill the Square with four rows of four carrots each, or 16 carrots.
The block-style layout of a vegetable garden, also known as wide row or close row planting, is a method that gives better yields compared to the traditional row-style garden. Additionally, it discourages weed growth.
The idea is to plant vegetables in blocks or rectangular beds instead of long single rows, similar to that of the square foot but with whichever measurements you prefer. It gets rid of the need for surplus walkways, hence maximizing premium gardening space.
The plants are clustered together densely and, hence, need fertile, well-drained soil rich in organic matter. You will need to fertilize them due to the high density. When using this method, avoid overcrowding your vegetables since this reduces air circulation and may end up causing diseases.
The width of the bed should be 3-4 feet wide and any desired length. This width gives easy access to the bed when weeding, harvesting, or replanting. You can minimize walkways by having them 18-24 inches across. Mulch the walkways with wood chips, grass clippings, or another organic mulch.
You can plant your vegetables with equal space between adjacent vegetables in both directions. For example, space a carrot patch on a three by 3 inch center. Picture the layout as running rows spaced 3 inches apart across the bed with thinned carrots within the row to 3 inches.
Growing your vegetable garden vertically is another alternative to consider. These gardens are meant for people having little to no conventional garden space. Instead of planting in your typical garden bed, you take advantage of vertical space, hanging baskets, growing plants along trellises, or even upside down.
There are stackable containers available that you can use to grow several plants in one area by stacking the pots onto one another like a tower. Also, planting towers are another vertical alternative for growing plants and are well-known for potatoes.
6. Raised Bed/Containers
If you have inadequate soil or even little space, planting your vegetables in containers or raised beds is an excellent alternative. With this layout option, you have the flexibility in moving your garden around and making use of all available space, including vertical spaces.