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.
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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.
Excerpted from Simple Steps: Vegetable Gardening
© Dorling Kindersley Limited 2007
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