Growing your own fruits and vegetables is a great way to get healthy food and have fun in the process. Whether you are a first-time gardener or a master, knowing what to plant, where to plant it, and in what quantities will all combine to create a successful garden. Additional elements to consider include whether to use raised beds, what items you may want to grow from seed, and what items you might want to transplant.
Space is the name of the game when it comes to plotting out your garden. How big your garden will be is determined first and foremost by the available space you have to devote to it. The second issue to consider is how much food you will likely use during the growing season, as well as any you might want to can, freeze or dehydrate for the winter months.
Another aspect of planning a garden is whether to plant in raised garden beds or use the row garden technique, the latter being the most common. While raised beds may be easier to contain and manage in some respects, individual plant volume is more easily facilitated by the 18-inch-apart rows that are home to single file plants.
As a rule, taller and vining plants such as tomatoes, pole beans, and corn should be planted at the north end or rear of your garden, with smaller plants such as radishes, onions, carrots, beets, and leaf lettuce occupying the south or front end of the garden.
Rules for Green Thumbs
Say you’ve decided some of the basics above. The three critical requirements for any garden to thrive include plenty of:
- Rich soil
Most plants require 6 to 8 hours of sunlight to prosper and keep insects and diseases away. Rich, moist, and well-drained soil with sufficient nutrients is also vital in promoting healthy plant growth. If your soil is only average, you can add compost or other organic material to improve a robust crop yield. Last but not least, having plenty of water available to nourish plants, particularly when they are at the seedling or transplant stage, is critical. Naturally, the closer the water source is to your garden, the easier your watering life will be.
Additional Garden Tips
When planning your garden, use grid paper to create a simple map for what goes where. Keep in mind that plant spacing is determined by the size once the plant is mature. Essentially, no plants’ leaves should encroach on an adjacent plant. Instead, they should no more than touch one another.
It is also necessary to learn the range dates for each kind of plant you want to grow. Many have wide date ranges. As such, you will have the option to renew the same crop once the first harvest has been completed or to plant an alternative but suitable crop in its place.
COMPANION FRUITS AND VEGETABLES: Good Neighbors Help Each Other Thrive
Once you’ve determined what vegetables and fruits you want, it is important to determine their growth compatibility. Just like people, some plants grow better near one another than do others.
The Companion Planting Chart included in this article is designed as a quick reference to make smart choices for plant placement. We have included a brief explanation of how to use the Companion Planting Chart for your convenience.
PLANTS THAT MAKE GOOD NEIGHBORS
Good neighbor plants are included in the Plants Grow Well Together category. It is highlighted in dark green much like the richness of spinach and broccoli. Companionable plants growing close to one another thrive by creating mutually beneficial relationships thereby furthering each other’s growth.
Our Beneficial to Garden In General category is highlighted in light green, the lively color of celery. As the title implies, these plants provide a healthy foundation for the entire garden.
Plants in the Combination Helps Bug Control category, highlighted in brown, provide an enormously useful function by reducing bug, slug, and other pest infestations that can eat your crops before you get a chance to enjoy them. For gardeners planting fully organic gardens, many of these plant combinations are a ‘must’ to achieve healthy fruits and vegetables and eliminate pests.
Our Carrots Will Have Good Flavor but Stunted Roots category, bolded in vivid carrot color orange, signifies adjacent plants that have this particular impact on neighboring carrots.
The Don’t Plant Together category is in red. Quite simply, stay away from ever planting these items near one another. In short, by following the simple Plant Companion Chart suggestions, you will improve your yield, have a healthy garden, and enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables throughout the summer months. You may even have enough prepared and stored to enjoy during the winter months.