|I am new to community gardening and have signed up for an 8x4 plot. What should I plant and how should I organize the plot for maximum results. Do you have any should and should not rules?|
|How exciting to have a brand new garden! I imagine the plot has been used for vegetables before and I hope the soil is in good condition. If it isn't you can fix it without too much trouble. Start this spring by removing all vegetation from the area and spreading 4-5 inches of organic matter over the vegetable bed. You can use compost, aged manure (fresh manure can be too hot and might contain weed seeds), shredded leaves or whatever organic matter is readily available in your local area. Dig or till this organic matter into the soil - 8-10 inches deep. Plant your veggies and mulch over the bare soil between the plants with additional organic matter. A 2-3 inch layer will help suppress weeds and slow water evaporation. At the end of the season dig the organic matter into the soil and add a fresh layer. Repeat this process annually and you'll end up with rich garden loam - and a spectacular vegetable garden.
As for laying out the garden, start by making a list of the vegetables you and your family enjoy eating. There's no sense in growing something no one likes! Then check to see which is the sunniest side of the garden. Plant the low growing veggies there and the taller ones in the back (so they won't shade the other veggies). Here's a publication that discusses the different crops you might grow and the spacing each one needs. I hope you find it helpful:
Hope you have a bountiful harvest!