Vegetable garden design is contingent on five pillars and works well for the home gardener or first-time gardener. Find out more here.
VEGETABLE GARDEN DESIGN
Whether you have a vegetable garden now that needs improvement or you dream about starting your very first garden, laying the groundwork (no pun intended) makes all the difference.
I have always begun my gardens on a small scale first. I wanted to make sure I was going to like doing it, that I was up to the task of hard work and that I was up for the gardening challenge.
Yes, challenge because each year you are confronted with different obstacles whether it be weather related events; too hot, too cold, too wet, or windy etc. or wildlife or pests. This makes me appreciate the farmer even more for bringing whole food to the table.
So, my message here is start small and within your budget using the five pillars for a successful garden this year.
5 PILLARS OF A SUCCESSFUL GARDEN
The five pillars are part of a good vegetable garden design. They encompass location, the area you have to work with, the type of soil you have, the type of garden beds you use, and finally the type of garden fencing.
Most vegetables require about six hours of daily sunlight. Find a sunny location that is flat and will lend itself nicely to a garden. Remember hills have lots of runoff so the plants at the top dry out while the plants at the bottom drown. And, don’t discount using your front yard. Here, the front yard is the only flat space on the property, so we have taken full advantage by placing our garden there. Be the inspiration of your neighborhood and give front yard gardening a try.
The size of the vegetable garden is dependent on the overall space you have to make one and, on the vegetables, you want to grow. Vining plants such as cucumber, melon, pumpkins and some squash need more room to grow. If space is an issue consider not planting these or finding seeds that produce plants with shorter vines. They might be labeled “for compact spaces.” Trellising could also be an option worth considering.
The type of soil is very important for growing healthy plants and harvesting nutritious vegetables. While sandy soil is great for drainage it offers the plant no nutrients. Get your garden off to the best start by bringing in a truckload or two of topsoil. I like to buy high quality topsoil such as Moo Dirt Topsoil in bags. I find the bags are easier to move around and can be neatly stacked if necessary.
To lighten up the weight of the soil, add compost that you have made or purchased. Again, purchase quality and your plants will have a healthy start on life.
If your soil type is clay, then you can mix in a load of sand first, then follow above recommendations. Clay is typically known for holding water. It is very heavy and wet. Plants and most trees do not do well under these conditions.
An important note; before bringing in any soil, make sure that you have removed all sod within your new garden space first.
There are a few considerations to think about when planting your garden. They are planting directly into the ground versus raised beds versus containers or a combination. There are certainly pros and cons to each. I always start small and work my way up and I have always done better planting directly into the ground instead of a pot.
But hey, that’s just me. Do what you feel right and what is within your budget. You can always upgrade as you go.
This year, I began installing raised beds custom fit to my garden. For me, they are a godsend. They contain the dirt; I can manage soil nutrition better and best of all they allow for greater food production.
ENCLOSING THE GARDEN
Deciding whether to fence the garden is optional. Consider the wildlife in your area as well as dogs, cats and children at play when making your decision. When I first began my garden, I opted to go without a fence. By my second year, the wildlife had sniffed it out and spread the word. Today, I have had to put a smaller gauge fence inside the original fencing, if you can imagine that. While my garden is a decent size, it doesn’t produce enough to feed my family plus the wildlife. I had to draw the line somewhere. And, I’m sure you will figure out where you will need to draw the line as well.