Vegetable garden layout plans for the home garden

This article is more focused towards beginners in the arena of vegetable gardening. Creating the right layout is fundamental to the success of your vegetable garden. Moreover a proper layout will ensure that you don't spoil the aesthetic appeal of your garden.

Setting up a vegetable garden can be looked at as a four step process. Any vegetable garden layout should take all these four steps into consideration, they are

  1. Deciding on the planting structure
  2. Creating the optimal environmental conditions
  3. Working out the vegetable garden design

If you are clear in your mind about the significance of each step and work on arriving at the most optimal solution for each step, you are well on your way to reaping a rich harvest of vegetables. Each step is of significance and your planning should not skip on any of it.

We will now take each step and provide suggestions and tips on how you can come up with the most optimal solution depending on your garden conditions. Let's start,

Deciding on the planting structure

home garden vegetable garden layouts vegetable garden layout
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There are four planting structures you can consider

  1. Flat bed planting
  2. Raised bed planting
  3. Container planting
  4. Vertical planting

Of course you must use a mix match of each type of planting structure in order to make best use of the space available to you. Get creative and think about how to use a space most optimally to increase the produce. For example, you can consider raised bed planting in areas where the soil is not good and use vertical planting methods such as teepee, arbors and trellis to grow cucumbers and beans in order to save space. You can place a few containers of vegetable plants such as tomatoes and peppers on your patio or deck and plant a flat bed of lettuce in the shadier part of your garden.

For now let us look at each planting structure independently and work out the pros and cons involved in each of them. In the section - working out vegetable garden design, we will discuss how to come up with creative designs using a combination of planting structures.

Flat bed planting

Flat Beds For Vegetables
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Quite simple this type of planting involves just placing your seeds or transplants on the soil without any added arrangement. The simplest way of planting and requires the least amount of preparation. In the design section of this article you can check out the various ways in which you can improvise your flat bed planting.

This is the most traditional way of planting vegetables is that the plants are placed in rows and columns on a flat bed of soil. Of course you don't have to restrict yourself to straight rows; you can try curved rows or asymmetrical patterns also.

Traditionally, vegetables are grown in straight rows with each row containing a particular type of veggie. Usually a 2 foot gap is left between each row to facilitate watering and harvesting. You can use a string to ensure that you plant the seeds in a straight line.

The one main disadvantage with traditional flat bed planting using straight rows is that it consumes a lot space, especially due to the gap between rows. Of course if you have a small yard you don't have to follow the traditional way of planting, you can work on creating an asymmetrical design.

Raised bed planting

Raised Beds For Vegetables
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If you have never encountered the term "raised bed garden" take a look at the picture to get an idea of what it's all about. In effect it's quite a simple but very effective method of growing plants in your garden. It's all about creating a raised mound of soil, some 12 inches in depth, and using some wooden planks or concrete to border it. In fact some people don't even bother with the border, it works fine either ways.

Why should you consider raised bed planting? The benefits are enough to convince anyone that it is a great way to improve your gardening experience and have a better crop. In fact raised beds are very effective in vegetable gardening. Here are a few advantages you can enjoy with a raised bed garden.

  1. You have the option of importing soil to build a raised bed. This way you can get some good quality soil, mix it with compost and use this enriched soil for planting. Especially helpful if your garden soil is not up to the mark.
  2. You get great value for space, raised bed gardens allow you to plant more crops in area available to you, in fact you can use up every inch of soil in the raised bed for planting rather than making lee ways for walking and watering.
  3. Since you won't be walking on your raised bed, it will ensure that you won't end up compacting the soil.
  4. If you have pets or small kids around your house, a raised bed will provide a level of protection to your plants.
  5. You will have to contend with less weeds in a raised bed because there will be more plants in less space.
  6. You can create a raised bed on any surface, even the concrete of your porch, this way you can utilize any free space around your house. You can build it on high structure to make it accessible to elderly or handicapped people.

You can check our article on how to build a raised bed vegetable garden.

Container planting

Vegetables In Containers
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Even if you have a lot of space around your yard, you should consider container planting because it's easy to implement and adds to your garden's beauty. If you are looking to plant vegetables in containers, you should consider the below tips.

  1. Buy the compact variety for the vegetable you intend to grow. Compact varieties not only produce a good yield but are easy to manage in containers.
  2. Consider planting two or more types of vegetables in the same container, for example you can grow lettuce, chives and parsley together. It is not only attractive but helps the soil also.
  3. Carrots, radish, tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers can be grow easily in containers and they are highly space efficient (you can consider hanging basket for cucumbers)
  4. You don't necessarily have to use flower pots as containers. There are several options, for example you can use large food cans, wooden crates, wire baskets, old pails and buckets as well as washtubs as containers. You can put on a coat of paint to make the container look attractive.
  5. Make sure you implant holes in the containers on the sides and bottom to allow for water drainage.
  6. Avoid using dark colored containers since they absorb more heat and tend to damage the tender roots.
  7. Consider using options like peat-based mixes and vermiculite for the container instead of using plain soil from your garden. They are more enriched and doctored for pH balance. You can also mix in generous amounts of compost before planting.
  8. Containers require frequent watering, if you are not careful the plants may wilt away.

There are several varieties of vegetable plants available that are breed specifically for containers. Make sure you check up with your local nursery on the availability of these varieties. For example tomatoes are available in hybrids like patio, tiny tim, spring giant and small fry - these hybrids grow in a compact manner and are ideal for containers. For lettuce you can consider varieties like salad bowl and buttercrunch.

Vertical planting

Pole Beans On Teepee
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Think vertical if you want to save on space. There are several vegetable plants that have weak stems and branches that twine rather than stay erect. Examples are cucumbers, pumpkins, beans, tomatoes and squash. The best way to grow these plants is to implement vertical planting, not only do you end up saving a lot of space but it is the best way to grows these weak stemmed plants.

You can consider using a wide variety of structures like trellis, nets, arbors, strings, poles, teepees and cages for your vertical planting project. These structures can be fun do-it-yourself projects and its not very time consuming. Using strings, wires, stout wooden or steel poles and some tools you can create your own trellis or teepees.

Keeps these tips in mind while vertical planting your vegetables.

  1. Tomatoes, pole beans, cucumbers and melons are the best candidates for vertical planting
  2. Some of these plants would naturally twine around the pole while some would require to be guided by tying them manually to the structures.
  3. These vertical structures have the tendency to cast shadows, so keep them clear of sun loving vegetable or flower plants in the surrounding.
  4. Twining plants are exposed to sun due to their vertical growth, if watering is not proper they tend to dry out. So be careful about watering them amply.
  5. Twining vegetable plants grow better in well-drained crumbly soil where they can spread their roots deep.

You could grow a row of twining plants and support them using a net structure made out of thick wire and strong poles at the end. Make sure the poles have a strong footing in the soil else the structure would come crashing down once the vegetables weigh heavy on them.


 

 

 

 





Section 2: Creating the optimal environmental conditions

Section 3: Working out a vegetable garden design