A well-planned vegetable garden is usually more efficient and productive. By organizing a garden in advance of planting can save time, space and allow the gardener more leisure time.
Select a site that has at least eight to ten hours of direct sunlight each day. Also, a good garden needs a minimum of eight inches of topsoil for proper plant growth. Loam type soils are well adapted for vegetable production. They hold moisture, drains well and allow air to reach the roots of plants. Soils too high in either clay or sand can be improved by adding organic matter. The soil must be properly prepared to provide a desirable medium for root development and rapid absorption of nutrients, water and air. Vegetables grow best in soils that have a pH of 6.0 to 6.5. This can be determined by having the soil tested.
After the garden site has been determined a sketch can be made on paper outlining the overall dimensions that will be planted. Divide the drawing into cool and warm season vegetable planting areas. Some examples of cool-season vegetables are onions, cabbage, carrots, beets, turnips, lettuce and etc. They can be planted in early spring and again in the fall. Also, requiring cool weather to grow and mature correctly and can withstand some frost. Warm-season vegetables require warm weather to grow and are planted after the soil has warmed up. Frost will kill warm-season vegetables. Some examples are okra, tomato, corn, squash, snap bean and etc. The cool-season section of the garden will be planted early and harvested in time to be replanted. Always alternate the cool and warm-season areas each year to reduce plant pests problems.
Decide which vegetables to grow and estimate the row lengths required to obtain the desired amount of each vegetable. Sketch and label the rows on the plan and run rows North and South when possible. This will expose both sides of the rows to the sun and lessen the effect of taller crops shading smaller ones.
Use proper row spacing when planning the garden. Row spacing can vary from 24 to 60 inches between rows depending on vegetables under consideration for planting and cultivation techniques to be used.
Arrange crops across the garden by planting dates and group early maturing vegetable together as necessary. Make notes on planting dates, varieties and amount of seeds required for future reference. A well-planned and workable garden can supply a variety of nutritious vegetables.
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