Planning A Veggie Patch? 5 Do’s And Don’ts

Planning a vegetable garden is no easy task. However, it is an awesome way to get some practical use out of your garden. Planning it correctly is the key – and knowing what to do and what not to do can be the difference between a successful yield and a disappointing result. Check out this list we compiled of the do’s and don’ts when it comes to planning your veggie patch.

DO assess the physical space

The first step in planning a vegetable garden is to conduct an assessment of the area you intend to have the patch. Here are some things you should do:

– Measure the intended space

– See how much sunlight falls on that space

– Consider accessibility to water

– Think about the level of shade in the area

 

DON’T keep trees or objects that hinder your patch

So you have the perfect physical spot for your garden, but there’s something stopping the sunlight from hitting it. Whether it’s a tree, shady vines or a large object like an old trampoline, you should consider getting rid of it.

Many vegetables that grow in warm seasons need a minimum of six to eight hours in direct sun to grow. Therefore, if it means uprooting the tree or getting rid of the trampoline, you should do so, especially if your veggie patch is a current priority.

 

DO inspect the quality of your soil

Knowing the quality of soil in your garden is the key to a successful yield of vegetables. Testing your soil for purity, pH and moisture will give you the information you need to help you decide which plants are suitable for this environment.

 

DON’T forget the power of compost

Finding out that you have poor-quality soil in your garden can be disheartening. However, that’s not to say it can never improve! Using some form of compost is a wonderful way to improve the moisture and richness of your soil. Manure and mulch are also great alternatives that will help enrich the soil.

These improvement techniques work because as the compost, mulch or manure breaks down, it releases valuable nutrients into the soil.

 

DO some research on the climate

Do you live in an area with hot summers and rainy winters? Or is it relatively sunny all year round? These are some questions you should ask yourself while planning a veggie patch.

Certain vegetables thrive in wetter conditions and can even grow if it’s cold. These include:

– Spinach

– Carrots

– Potatoes

– Onions (particularly green onions)

 

DON’T forget about climate when choosing plants

The Australian sun has a notorious reputation for being scorching and dry. When you think about it, that doesn’t sound like the best environment to grow plants. However, you’d be surprised at just how many veggies can grow in arid climates.

These are just some vegetables that grow in dry conditions with high temperatures:

– Asparagus

– Cabbage

– Rhubarb

– Cucumbers

– Onions

– Garlic

 

DO plan out the veggie patch

You should plan a vegetable garden using graph paper first. Ensure your diagrams are to scale using measurements of the space you’ve allocated for the patch. Take time to think about path spacing, central features and the logistics.

From here, you can use pegs and string in the actual garden to plan out the veggie patch dimensions that you used in your sketches.

 

DON’T rule out a raised garden bed

While you might be pining for a traditional garden, raised garden beds actually present a number of benefits, including:

– Easier to access for those who find it difficult to bend over

– Drains soil well

– Great for small spaces or sloping yards

 

DO look into companion planting

Companion planting is the process of planting different vegetables in the same area. The gardening concept is that the ‘companion’ plants complement each other’s growth or protect each other from pests. It is proven to be beneficial to overall growth.

For your vegetable patch, you should consider companion planting. Some examples of companion planting with vegetables include:

– Beetroot + Broccoli

– Carrots + Chilli

– Tomato + Celery

 

DON’T overcrowd your veggies

It can be tempting to attempt to grow as much as possible in your veggie patch. However, overcrowding your vegetables actually does more harm than good. In fact, it can even be worse than having weeds.

An overcrowded garden means that all the vegetables are competing for the same nutrients and moisture in the soil. This negatively affects yield and actually makes your veggies more vulnerable to pests and diseases.

To avoid overcrowding, there are ways you can figure out how much space to give your plants. Check out this great guide from the ABC!

 

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