According to Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, a good plan is the first step in establishing a flourishing home vegetable garden. Planning includes selecting the garden location; deciding on the size of the garden; determining the types and varieties of vegetables to plant; and planning where, when, and how much of each vegetable to plant in the garden. Today, we are discussing the first two steps in planning your vegetable garden.
- Choose a place where the soil is loose, rich, level, and well-drained.
- Do not choose low areas where water stands or the soil stays wet. Vegetables will not grow in poorly drained areas.
- Do not plant where weeds do not grow; vegetables will not grow well there either.
- Vegetables need sunlight to grow well. Do not plant where buildings, trees or shrubs will shade the garden. Most vegetables need at least 6 hours of sunlight daily.
- Do not plant vegetables under the branches of large trees or near shrubs because they rob vegetables of food and water.
- Plant the garden near a water supply if possible. In many areas a garden can grow without watering, but it is more likely to be successful if it is irrigated. Water is needed especially during long dry periods or when planting seeds.
Making the garden too large is one of the most common mistakes of enthusiastic, first-time gardeners. A garden that is too large will be too much work. When determining the size of your garden, consider these factors:
- Available room. For apartment dwellers, the garden may be a planter box. In a suburban or rural area, however, there may be plenty of ground space for a garden.
- Available time. If the only time you have for gardening is after work or school, or on weekends, there may not be enough time to care for a large garden.
- Family size. If gardening is a family activity, a large space can be cared for. A larger family also can use more vegetables.
- Reason for gardening. If the garden is purely a recreational activity, a container or flower bed garden may be big enough. If you want to grow vegetables for canning or freezing, a bigger area is needed.
- Types of vegetables to be grown. Some vegetables take a lot of room. Most need at least 3 feet of space between rows. If you want to plant ten rows of vegetables, the garden must be 30 feet wide.