Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Vegetable Garden with Four Season Planning

I know you are dreaming and planning your garden whether just in your head, on paper, or on the computer with the Plan Garden site. (click on the photo of the woman gardener to learn more about Plangarden.)

A garden needs to be organized. Here are a few things to remember during your planning stage.

1. Determine the size and location, preferably with 6-8 hours of sun a day with water nearby for watering the plants. The Plangarden helps you determine how much space you have for each vegetable crop. It is so easy to buy too many seeds or plants for the space you have available. Planning helps you in this category.

2. Decide which way to plant the rows in your garden.

3. Remember to save room for a path or paths through the garden in order to water, fertilize, weed, etc.

4. Select areas for planting for the seasons. It is best to plant those veggies you will harvest in spring in a group. For example, plant lettuce, peas, green onions, radishes together for spring harvesting. In another section plant beans, cucumbers, eggplant, peppers, squash, and tomatoes for summer harvest, and broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, spinach, lettuce or cool weather crops for fall gathering.

5. To efficiently use the garden area, it is possible to "double-crop" the section. When the spring plants are depleted, re-plant the section with another group of plants for late summer or fall harvest time. See how grouping the seasonal plants together allows this extra perk?

6. Another advantage of planting with the season of harvest in mind helps you clear out a section to re-plant or to clean up for the winter. So instead of planting the cole crops like cabbage and broccoli which like the cold weather on the opposite ends of the garden, plant them with the fall harvest crops like pumpkins and winter squash.

7. You may live in an area where it is possible to keep root crops such as parsnips and turnips in the ground longer for a winter crop. Be sure to keep these vegetables planted in the same area so you can clean up and prepare the rest of the garden for winter.

Think first about the harvest times for your vegetables and group them accordingly in your garden. With some pre-planning, you can eat fresh all year.

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