An ordinary vegetable garden is an amazing place, a special land plot, which, through the efforts of the owners, turns into an almost inexhaustible source of not only vitamins and fresh vegetables, but also a whole range of “by-products” – health, excellent well-being and vigor.
According to experienced summer residents, working in your own garden successfully replaces classes in the gym, brings a lot of pleasure and benefit. In addition, vegetables grown on their site differ in taste from those bought in a store or on the market, and, of course, for the better..
Spring work on a land plot begins with an important task – planning a vegetable garden. It would seem that I plant my plot, whatever I want, and the choice is not too great – on the standard six hundred square meters you will not be very flexible. And yet, the harvest largely depends on the choice of a place for a certain variety of vegetables, so it is worth approaching the planning of a vegetable garden with all responsibility.
What factors should you pay attention to when planning a vegetable garden? What vegetables and where are the best to plant?
Working in the garden is not necessarily hard work and daily chores. Gardening brings a lot of fun and benefits
We plan the garden correctly
So, you have already prepared the seeds and even grown seedlings at home. All that remains is to decide exactly where to plant all the plants, choosing the optimal place on your site for certain types of vegetables. You can start planning a vegetable garden in early spring, when the snow has completely melted from the site, and the soil has dried well.
In general, the planning of the plot, which a summer resident with many years of experience in gardening is engaged in, looks like this – the owner simply walks along the already equipped paths, leaving sticks and pegs in the ground and muttering to himself: “Here are two beds of pepper”, “And here there will be tomatoes” … In fact, just like that, just come to planning a garden for summer residents can only have many years of experience on the site. Less experienced gardeners should heed the advice of professionals and approach the process of planning vegetable planting in a scientific way.
The ideal vegetable garden looks like this – even rows of green, healthy plants that promise a high yield.
If you first decided to set up a vegetable garden on a newly acquired piece of land, then you have to take into account several main factors:
- Cardinal points. Experts advise breaking the beds for future planting strictly in length from north to south or from north-east to south-west. So the planting of plants will be warmed up and illuminated by the sun’s rays throughout the day as evenly as possible. It has been proven that with this arrangement of the beds, plants are less susceptible to fungal diseases. The southern, slightly warmer and better-lit side should be given to thermophilic crops such as beans, tomatoes and cucumbers, and the northern – cold-resistant – radish, turnip and rutabaga. To protect the plants from cold winds, it is better to plant dense rows of corn, sunflowers or berry bushes such as gooseberries or currants on the north side..
- Soil composition. If on this site vegetables will be planted for the first time, it is necessary to study the composition of the soil. If the soil is clayey, you will first need to add straw manure, sand, compost, turf soil and mineral fertilizers to the soil. If the soil is sandy, then peat, manure and mineral fertilizers are ideal additives. In case of increased acidity of the soil, it is necessary to add lime additives – quicklime or slaked lime, as well as wood ash. Of course, you can add all of the above additives in the fall, but experts call the optimal period for adjusting the composition of the soil in early spring – about a month before planting seedlings and seeds.
- Illumination. It is possible to influence the illumination of the site only by cutting down the existing trees. Planting seedlings under the lush crowns of apple or pear trees is not strongly recommended. Trees can only grow from the north side of the garden – so they will not block the plants from the sun’s rays and at the same time protect them from the cold wind. If there is a free piece of land on the north side of the house, it is better to plant unpretentious plants there, for example, sorrel or onions, for which too much sun is even harmful. Tomatoes or cucumbers in the shade will definitely wither away. It is even better to give such a northern front garden for flowers, since it is quite risky to grow vegetables here..
- The relief of the site. If the site has an uneven relief, then in the lowland the soil in the spring will thaw and dry much longer than the land on the hills. In addition, in heavy rain, water will stand in such areas. That is, it is necessary to take care of the system of drainage grooves that will help get rid of excess moisture. In such low-lying areas, professionals advise planting cabbage and other moisture-loving plants. But, if summer in your region is usually dry and hot, then you can plant tomatoes and peppers in low-lying areas – in this case, you will have to water the seedlings a little less often..
If on the site where it is planned to set up a garden, before that only weeds grew and there was an ordinary lawn, the owners have two options: remove the topsoil with the roots of the weeds completely, remove it from the site and add peat, rotted manure to the soil and, if necessary, sand; or simply dig up the site and plant potatoes here in the first year. The first option is too time consuming and expensive, therefore it is not popular with gardeners. In the second case, in the first year, the potato yield will be low, but most of the weeds will disappear and the next season it will be possible to plant any, even the most fastidious vegetables.
When starting to plan a vegetable garden for the first time, it is worth taking into account both the peculiarities of the soil and the location of the beds relative to the cardinal points
When planning a garden, you need to pay special attention to the irrigation system. Tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and eggplants in central regions with fairly dry summers have to be watered regularly – literally every three to four days. Therefore, for vegetables, it is better to choose areas that can be watered without much cost and problems..
Minimum program – hoses from a street tap must reach the beds. If your plot of land is too large, and the crane is located next to the house, then in remote areas it is better to set up a garden or plant particularly resistant plants that do not need additional watering. In this case, it is better to move the vegetable garden closer to the water source..
Remember that experts do not advise to water the beds with water directly from the tap. The best option is already settled water warmed up in the sun, or even better – collected rainwater, or water from a local pond or river. If you want to listen to the advice of professionals, you will need to install a sufficiently large container next to the beds for water – rain or regular, from the tap. Even an old cast-iron or steel bathtub, a spacious, specially ordered metal vat or a large plastic barrel can become such a container. In addition, you will need a water pump, which will sink into the container and provide excellent water pressure. You can, of course, water the beds from the watering can, but this is too long a process..
Another great irrigation system option is drip irrigation. If your site already has such a system, then the planting of vegetables will have to be “tied” to the plots already provided with water.
Don’t want to spend a lot of time watering vegetables by hand from a watering can or standing for hours in the garden with a hose in hand? Take care of a drip irrigation system that will save both time and money on water bills
Each vegetable has its place
Sorted out the cardinal points, lighting and watering? It remains only to find out all the nuances regarding the compatibility of individual varieties of vegetables and their alternation in your garden. Every experienced summer resident knows that if last year, for example, potatoes grew on this site, then this year it is worth planting some other vegetables.
So, all vegetable crops are usually divided into:
- Demanding ones that need a lot of nutrients. These include cabbage, zucchini, cucumber, pumpkin, tomatoes, peppers, and celery.
- Medium demanding. Such vegetables need fertilizing with fertilizers only once a year, in contrast to the demanding ones, which have to be “fed” both in spring and autumn. These vegetables include: eggplant, onions, potatoes, carrots, beets, radishes, lettuce, kohlrabi, and garlic..
- Undemanding. Cultures that manage with a minimum of nutrients. These are peas, beans, parsley, dill, sage, basil and other spices..
In order to correctly draw up a plan for planting seeds and seedlings, the garden should be divided into four sections:
- One should be allocated for perennial plants, for example, strawberries and strawberries, which will have to be transplanted no more than once every three to four years.
- The second site is allocated for demanding plants.
- The third is for medium-demanding crops.
- And the fourth, of course, for undemanding plants.
A year later, especially picky plants need to be planted on a plot where undemanding ones grew, medium-demanding ones – on a plot where a harvest of demanding ones has already been harvested, and undemanding ones, accordingly, go to the site where medium-demanding cultivated plants grew last year.
This alternation is carried out every year and allows the soil to rest a little and get a higher yield..
Plants with different levels of nutrient requirements must be alternated with each other when planting a vegetable garden
In addition, when planning the layout of the beds, it is necessary to take into account the compatibility of the plants. Cultural compatibility is the ability to grow side by side, strengthening, complementing and protecting each other.
So, between the rows of tomatoes, it is quite possible to sow onions, garlic or radishes. Dill or lettuce is an ideal “compactor” for carrots or beets. And the rows of potatoes can be combined with planting peas, which will be harvested earlier, and “provide” their roots as an excellent fertilizer for potato tubers.
Experts say that the ideal precursors for cabbage are nightshades, that is, tomatoes, potatoes, peppers or eggplants, as well as cucumbers, legumes or onions..
In turn, it is better to plant cucumber seedlings in the place where pepper or spinach grew last year. The optimal precursor for carrots and beets are cucumbers, tomatoes and peas.
But the nightshades themselves – tomatoes, eggplants, peppers and potatoes – do not like close proximity, besides, they can “share” pests. So, the Colorado potato beetle is ready to eat both tomatoes and potatoes with the same appetite, so it will quickly master the nearby beds.
Another important point is that different periods of ripening and planting of plants allow two crops of different crops to be obtained on one site. For example, in early spring, you can sow onions or radishes, and after harvesting, plant melons or tomatoes on this plot. After the harvest of garlic or onion has already been harvested, a winter radish or salad will feel great on this site.
Plant compatibility is an important factor in garden planning
Sizes of beds
When planning your garden, do not forget about comfortable paths at least 30-40 centimeters wide, which will allow you to harvest tomatoes and peppers without harming flowering and fruit-bearing plants.
The optimal bed width is 80–100 centimeters. If the bed is wider, it will make it difficult to care for plants and water.
If you lay not just dirt paths between the beds, but real paths made of stone or boards, then you can harvest even on the rainy day or immediately after abundant watering, without fear of getting your shoes dirty
Also, remember that cucumbers grow better, bear fruit and take up much less space if you provide them with a support on which they can curl. In this case, picking cucumbers will be much more convenient. Certain varieties of tomatoes, such as the tiny, mouth-watering cherry tomatoes, also need support. Therefore, when planning beds with such tall and fragile crops, you need to take care of a fence or trellis on which cucumbers and tall tomato seedlings can lean..
Tall tomato shoots need support, and cucumbers creeping on the ground will take up too much space. Plant them near a hedge, and it will be much more pleasant to harvest a bountiful harvest, and most importantly, easier.!
And finally, two more important points – firstly, in the garden it is also necessary to leave a place for the compost heap, where you will throw off the remnants of shoots and leaves in the fall, which in the future will become an excellent organic fertilizer. The compost heap can be located at the very end of the site, in the shade, that is, in a place that, by its properties, is not suitable for planting useful plants.
Second, you will most likely be building a greenhouse or greenhouse for early vegetables and seedlings. For such a structure, it is also necessary to allocate a suitable place in the sun..
Approach garden planning thoughtfully and seriously, try to place crops with good compatibility next to it, alternate different families of vegetables in the same area, try to plant both early and late varieties of vegetables in the same garden to get two harvests a year – and even a small one the vegetable garden will provide your whole family with fresh herbs during the warm season, and the pantry will be filled with cans with preservation of its own production in the fall.