When people first start vegetable gardening, they sometimes get stuck in in a bit of a haphazard fashion, planting a couple of things here, a couple of things there, without any sort of system in place. While this is fine for getting your feet wet, if you want to sustainably grow vegetables, it pays to put a bit of thought in to planning, vegetable garden design isn’t really all that complicated.
If you are going to be using beds as opposed to containers, crop or soil rotation is the main thing that will influence how you grow your own vegetables – if you grow plants in the same spot year on year, all of the nutrients in the soil will be depleted, and pests and diseases will have an increased chance of taking hold. Different vegetable plants require completely different nutrients from the soil to grow, so by moving the plants from bed to bed, you give the soil time to recover the nutrients the plants need, while minimizing the risk of plant-specific disease and bugs. This isn’t a problem with container gardening, as you will be changing the soil in the pots after every harvest or two.
Sunlight is the next key factor – the layout of your garden or allotment will mean that some areas are likely to get more sunlight than others, and you need to factor which plants will need the most into this. Many people sketch an outline of their garden, and chart the course of the sun over it, to give them a clear idea of how much sun each bed will get. Permanent fixtures that cast a shadow, such as sheds and patios, will also need to be accounted for in your design, as plants which grow best in the shade will need to take advantage of them as much as possible.
For more advice on tips on vegetable garden design, as well as a list of the most popular vegetable gardening books, please visit my website.
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