Design A Vegetable Garden

Written by Sarah Provost
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Sunlight is the most important element to take into account when designing a vegetable garden. Although some vegetables don't like heat, they all like as much sun as they can get. Design your garden with the tallest plants on the north or west side, to minimize the shade they cast on the other plants.

Support for Vining Plants

Some of those tall plants will be vining plants (such as peas, beans, cucumbers and indeterminate tomatoes) that will need support. Some, such as peas and beans, can be grown on a fence, assuming they don't unduly shade other plants, and can get enough sun themselves. Tomatoes, however, need all the sun they can get, so they are better supported by stakes or cages, so they can get the sun on all sides.

Timing is another crucial element of design. Lettuce, spinach and other cool-weather crops may be planted early in the spring, before trees are fully leafed out. That will give them enough sun during their early growth, and will shade them from the heat later on. Keep in mind, however, that these crops will be harvested before the hottest months, so if there is sufficient light, a crop that grows quickly, such as radishes, may be planted in their space.

You should also plan to make successive sowings of any crops that don't need a full season to mature. That will give you a continuing harvest, rather than having all your lettuces, for instance, ready at the same time. If your space is limited, consider square foot gardening instead of planting in rows. You can get a much bigger harvest from a small space with this technique.

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