Vegetable Real Estate

I blogged a while ago about how lovely it is to eat fresh veggies out of your garden and I want to talk a bit about planning and planting your vegetable plot.

Traditionally, vegetable gardens have always been planted in long, orderly rows.  While this is still great, lots of growers are now opting to plant in beds.  This allows you to concentrate the compost that you use on the plants rather than wasting it on the walking paths.  Walking between the rows also ruins the structure of the soil.  You’ll want to make sure that the beds are small enough that you can reach in to weed, water and harvest the plants without stepping into them.  Raising your beds 8-12″ improves the drainage in the soil and keeps it warmer, which is great, especially in early spring when the weather can still be cool.  Another popular planting style is potager, which mixes flowers in with the vegetables and herbs in an ornamental fashion so that the garden is both functional and aestetically appealing.  Don’t forget about container gardening!  Small spaces still equal garden-fresh veggies.

Location is another consideration when planning your garden.  Vegetable gardens need sunny open spaces to thrive, so don’t try to hide your garden behind the prettier real estate.   One great tip is to economize space by planting vegetables next to each other that mature at different times.  This way, when you’ve finished harvesting one, it’s neighbour is reaching maturity.  This allows both plants to have the space and sunshine that they need when they need it the most.  Saying this, there are combinations of plants that when close together, benefit each other.  The basic theory is that the mix of each plants natural chemicals encourages growth and helps them stave off disease and pests. Here is a great link to another website:   www.howtogardenadvice.com/garden_info/companion_gardening.html

Likewise, there are certain combination that inhibit the growth of one or both plants.  It’s not to say that you can’t grow them in the same garden, just try to separate them.  Potatoes inhibit the growth of carrots and squash.  Beans inhibit the growth of onions.  Broccoli inhibits the growth of tomatoes and carrots inhibit the growth of dill.  (Which you may want…I know that my dill goes crazy every year!)

Start your garden by preparing the bed before you plant.  Dig up the soil creating good drainage and remove weeds and rocks.  This is a great time to amend the soil as well.  And remember, consistent watering produces successful results.  Happy Planting!