Vegetable Garden Plans

Taking time to plan a vegetable garden before you plant can pay dividends throughout the season. Clever use of low rows and tall accent plants creates microclimates that different vegetables enjoy, as well as great visual effects.
From: DK - Simple Steps to Success: Vegetable Gardening

Alternate Rows

Many gardeners admire the long, uniform rows of traditional large vegetable gardens, but they can also be useful in the smaller garden. If rows are planted running along the length of the garden away from the house, they draw the eye onward and make the garden appear longer. In this garden, curved rows of lettuce, chard, onions and zucchini are interspersed with dense lines of marigolds (Tagetes), which effectively combine to lengthen the appearance of the border. Marigolds are often grown alongside vegetables because their strong scent is thought to confuse insect pests seeking particular crop plants.

Curved Rows in Garden Lengthen Appearance of Beds

Curved Rows in Garden Lengthen Appearance of Beds

Photo by: DK - Vegetable Gardening ©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Vegetable Gardening , 2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Climbing Screens

When trained up a straight row of canes or trellis, climbing vegetables, such as these runner beans, make effective, fast-growing screens, which can have many uses in the garden. Such a screen could be used to separate a vegetable garden from the rest of the garden, or to disguise compost piles or garbage cans. All kinds of trailing plants, including cucumbers and squashes, can be trained to cover unsightly walls or fences. Climbing beans are easily damaged by high winds, so if a windbreak is required, perennial Jerusalem artichokes would be a better choice.

Climbing Vegetables Make Fast Growing Screens

Climbing Vegetables Make Fast Growing Screens

Photo by: DK - Vegetable Gardening ©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Vegetable Gardening , 2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Compact Planting

Where space for growing vegetables is limited, it makes sense to grow crops in tightly packed rows, where as little soil as possible is left bare. Here, the contrasting leaf forms of different lettuce varieties look attractive next to a row of ferny carrot foliage and backed by tall sweet corn. This compact planting has disadvantages-you need to leave sufficient space to access the crops, and taller plants can shade out shorter ones-but the advantages include fewer weeds, due to less bare soil, and shade from the sweet corn, which benefits the lettuces in summer.

Tight Compact Rows Work When Space is Limited

Tight Compact Rows Work When Space is Limited

Photo by: DK - Vegetable Gardening ©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Vegetable Gardening , 2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Next Up

Choosing a Site for Your Vegetable Garden

Growing vegetables in ideal conditions is not always possible, particularly if you have limited space, but it pays to find a sunny spot that is sheltered from the wind and easily accessible for watering and weeding.

Combining Vegetables and Flowers in Your Garden

Small gardens need to look their best year round and usually have no room for a separate vegetable garden, but with a little imagination, vegetables can look striking alongside flowers and produce a tasty harvest, too.

Growing Vegetables Under Cover

Vegetable plants often need protection from cold weather and persistent pests, particularly when they are young and most vulnerable. Being prepared with the appropriate equipment and protective covers is the best way to avoid losses.

Block Planting Vegetables in Beds

An easy way to grow crops is in beds, where the gardener can focus on improving the soil, removing weeds and planting dense blocks of vegetables in a manageable, defined area.

Ready, Set, Grow! When to Start Your Garden

Does winter weather have you itching to dig in the dirt? Get tips on when you can safely start planting veggies for spring and summer.

Selecting the Best Location for a Garden

Learn how to choose the most suitable site for a vegetable garden, a location that will allow the vegetables to thrive.

Raised Beds for Easy Vegetable Cultivation

Not only do raised beds bring interesting height and structure to a garden design, they also elevate the level of the soil to make cultivation and harvesting your vegetables much less strenuous.

5 Frequent Questions About Yard Prep for Growing Vegetables

Preparing the yard for a vegetable garden may take time, but it will pay off all season long.

Seasonal Gardening Planner

Timing gardening tasks correctly for your climate and soil will increase the chance of bumper crops throughout the year.

Tips for a Raised-Bed Vegetable Garden

Raised-bed vegetable gardening takes very little space and allows vegetables to be grown closer together.

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