Help plan the vegetable garden

I’m starting to think about my vegetable garden.

You may recall that this garden does not exist yet. Even moreso right now since everything is still buried in snow.

However, that’s not stopping me from thinking about layouts and plants and dimensions and fencing and fertilizer and trellises and… and… and…

The garden is my one and only outdoor project for this year.

Would you help me with planning, please?

The objective is to turn the patch of burr bushes behind this little picket fence…

Vegetable garden before

Into a bucolic oasis like this.

No sweat, right?

Here’s what I’ve sorted out so far.

I’m going to dismantle what Matt calls the “goat ring” (I think it’s a longeing ring for horses) to get my fencing.

Longe ring

Under this mound of snow, I have a stash of wood posts that I can use either for fencing or for edging the garden beds.

Wooden fenceposts under snow

I’ve collected a few rolls of chain link that will be helpful to keep small hungry critters from munching on my produce.

Roll of black chain link fencing

Aaaaaand that’s about all I have so far.

Next week is spring break. I’m taking a vacation from the day job, which means a little more time at home to work on projects. One project is starting to map out the garden.

I don’t think I can do much more than that until the snow melts.

I’m going to be taking a break from the blog for the week too. While I’m away, I’d really appreciate it if you could offer your suggestions for the garden.

What should I plant? How should I organize the garden? What dimensions are best for the individual beds? How big should the garden be overall? What’s the best way to get rid of the burr bushes and prepare the soil? Do you have a garden yourself? What grows best for you? Are there any garden blogs I should be reading? Thanks in advance for your help.

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19 thoughts on “Help plan the vegetable garden

  1. What I’ve learned is:
    1. Start small so that you know what you can handle weed-wise and harvest-wise. We always plant way more tomato plants than we can consume and I hate to see so much go to waste. My MIL even cans tomato juice and sauce and we still have fruit rotting on the plant!
    2. Plant the foods you like. Don’t plant a bunch of stuff that you’ll never eat. But with that in mind, try something new. I would never had attempted to grow broccoli but my MIL plants it in our garden and it does really really well!
    3. For convience, start your garden near a water source. When it is really dry we have to haul water out to the garden and it is a real pain!

    As for inspiration blogs, I think you follow my two suggestions already, DIYDiva and The Art Of Doing Stuff!

    Good luck! I am starting my garden plans and seed orders this weekend!

  2. Julie,

    You should check out Square Foot Gardening.

    I have had great success with tomatoes, salad greens, and cucumbers. Peppers don’t often work well for me. Herbs do work well.

    I would say, think about the vegetables you eat the most, and grow those. Lettuce/salad greens are awesome because they keep growing/producing.

    My parents have had success with squash, zucchini, and potatoes (as well as tomatoes, salad greens, and beans when the rabbits don’t eat them).

    Carrots have not done well in their yard, but they are working with hard soil that the carrots can’t cut through).

    And check out different options for planting flowers with vegetables – some combinations help keep bugs away.

  3. Hi Julia, I’ve been following along for a bit in the background, but wanted to chime in because we just started planning a new garden and found a garden planner that’s been really helpful: http://www.motherearthnews.com/garden-planner/vegetable-garden-planner.aspx. They have a free trial so you can test it out. We found the great thing is that it automatically shows how much space you need for each plant, so very quickly you can see what’s going to fit. You can also set it for your geographic area so it takes into consideration your frost dates and tells you when to start seedlings inside, when to plant them out etc.

    We’re on the west coast so what grows out here probably isn’t that helpful for you, and we’re somewhat new to this, so no great wisdom. We’re in the process of moving our garden to a different part of the property from where the old one was, so right now it consists of one raised bed in the middle of the grass, but eventually there will be more… and a fence… and paths…

    Good luck!

    • Thanks for coming out of the background and sharing the link, Tracy. I enjoy reading Mother Earth News and have printed out a few of their garden plans, but I’d forgotten about the amount of resources they have on their site. I’m going to have to go back in and poke around a bit. It’s such a big job to establish a garden. I have a feeling this is going to be a multi-year process. Can I ask why you’re moving your garden?

      • The owners who started the original one put it at the edge of the property, I think because they also had horses and wanted it out of the way. It’s right against trees (that we don’t own), so we don’t get sun on it until well after noon, even in the height of the summer. So we’re moving it to a location that gets more sun. It’s also pretty dilapidated – all the raised beds are rotting and falling apart, and a tree took out part of the fence, so it needs to be rebuilt anyway. Definitely a multi-year process though!

      • I’m starting to worry about trees. In the location where I’m planning to put the garden, it will have trees at three of the four corners. It’s not a row of trees, but do you think that will still be too much shade?

      • Definitely not an expert here, and there are some plants that like a bit of shade, especially in the summer (like greens), but I think generally the more sun, the better. I have seen some gardens surrounded by trees where people still seem to grow quite a bit, but I think you’re likely to get more with more sun. Whether the trees are an issue would also depend which corners the trees are on. If any of them are north of the garden they shouldn’t be an issue, and the sun’s also higher in the summer so how much of a shadow the trees cast will change over the seasons.

        You may want to watch how much sun you get in that area before putting in anything too permanent. We made the mistake of putting in a row of raspberries in a raised bed last year, then a week later ended up moving them because they weren’t getting enough sun. But even after that, we did put some new raised beds in the old garden with the knowledge that we would likely be moving them this year. They’re not impossible to move, it’s just a bit of work and they will kill whatever grass or greenery they were sitting on top of.

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