The Q&A Archives: vegetable garden design

Question: I am a first timer and would like to have a small(8'x12') vegetable garden. Is this large enough to be worth it for food, and how can I find help to design it?

Answer: An 8 by 12 vegetable garden should provide plenty of wholesome food for you and your family. Choose the sunniest spot available and work in lots of organic matter to enrich the soil and make moisture and nutrients readily available to the roots of your plants. Choose the vegetables you and your family like best. As you gain experience you may want to try some of the more exotic veggies. The layout is important, so I'm glad you asked.

Whenever possible, I think the rows in the vegetable garden should run north and south, for best sun exposure and air circulation. If the rows run east and west the first row tends to shade the second row, the second row the third and so forth.

The tall crops such as peas, beans and corn, should be planted on the north side of the vegetable garden. In this way they will not shade the rest of the vegetable crops.

In the center of the vegetable garden area, plant the medium sized crops such as cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, tomatoes, squash, pumpkins and other mediums sized crops.

Then at the very southern end of the garden is where the low growing crops like radishes, carrots, beets, lettuce, onions and other low growers should be.

By taking a little time in planning the layout of your vegetable garden now, before planting, your chances of harvesting a more bountiful yield this summer and fall are greatly increased.

After planting your veggies, place 2-3 inches of organic matter over the bare soil to help suppress weeds, moderate soil temperatures and slow water evaporation. Hope you have a bountiful harvest!

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