So You Want A Spring Garden
It’s never too early to start planning. There are probably as many ways to plan a garden as there are to prepare the vegetables that you grow in it, this article is not “The” way to do it, however, it is a way that I have found to take advantage of the space I have and grow and abundance of the vegetables that my family and I enjoy.
What do you like to eat? How many people are you going to feed? How much room do you have for your garden? What is the Climate where you live? The first three questions will help you determine what you are going to plant. The last question will help you determine when you are going to start your seeds.
This garden plan assumes that you will be growing vertically using the Mittleider Gardening Method. I recommend the Mittleider gardening method for many reasons. I have found that this method allows me to get the greatest amount of food from the least amount of space. If you want to learn more, you can read about that here.
What do you like to eat and how many plants do you need?
Take a minute to look at this list of vegetables to answer the first two questions: what do you like to eat and how many people are you feeding. Write down the number of each plant that you will need to feed your crowd.
How big does your garden need to be?
The next step is to see how much room your wish list will require. You can use this chart to help with that. Click here to download the chart. This chart assumes you are growing vertically, using the Mittleider Gardening Method. If you are planting a traditional style garden you’ll need to use the spacing recommended on your seed packet. For my garden, I use three rows that are each 30 feet long. Last summer this space provided me with more than 1,000 lbs of vegetables during the summer season. With a greenhouse, you could potentially grow year-round.
Lay out the garden on paper
Now that you know what you want to grow and how many plants you need, it’s time to put the design on paper. I like to use excel for this, but you could use pencil and paper just as easily. Click here to see my current garden plan. There are some important considerations as you design your garden: light, drainage, and wind.
Make you sure you have a location that will allow your plants to get the sunlight they need. Organize your plan so taller growing plants don’t cast a shadow on shorter plants. It really doesn’t matter if your orient North South or East West as long as your plant placement follows these guidelines.
As you can see, my garden is oriented North – South. I did this because that was the space I had available for the 30-foot rows. I have my taller plants on the North and East areas of the garden so they don’t shadow the short plants in the afternoon.
Prepare the area
If you are following the Mittleider Gardening Method you will need to follow the steps outlined in the course to prepare your garden. The first year you do this it will require more work than a traditional garden would require.
Whatever method you are using, backwards plan from your last day of frost. Your garden will need to be prepared for seeds and or plants as early as two weeks prior to that date. You can discover you local frost dates here.
For transplants, you need to start your seedlings indoors several weeks prior to the last frost date. This will allow them to sprout and grow to transplant size in time. If you are going to buy plants it is best to wait until after the last frost date. The stores will bring the plants out much too early and people who buy them often have to buy again when a late frost zaps the life out of their garden.
Interested in the Mittleider Gardening Method? Here are some more posts about our Garden.
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