Scroll to the end of the blog post to download your FREE Vegetable Garden Planning Workbook
You can create a strong vegetable garden that matches the space and time that you can spare by spending some time properly planning your vegetable garden before starting it. In this article, we are going to go through 7 steps that you need to follow to effortlessly plan your 2023 vegetable garden.
Steps 1 and 2 can be followed in either order to design your ideal vegetable garden
Step 1: Decide on the type of vegetable garden that’s most suitable for you
Vegetables can easily be grown at home directly in the ground, in raised beds, or in containers.
Growing vegetables directly in an in-ground vegetable garden is the simplest, easiest, and cheapest method to get started if you have access to a garden that has reasonably healthy well-draining soil that is free of contaminants.
Raised bed vegetable gardens are ideal if you don’t have level ground or healthy soil or if you find it difficult to bend. Alternatively, raised beds are ideal if you like the look of an organized, neat vegetable garden. However, raised beds can be expensive and take some money and effort to get started.
Container vegetable gardens are ideal for those who don’t have access to an actual garden and only have a balcony, terrace, or rooftop to grow in. Growing vegetables in containers is more costly to start than an in-ground vegetable garden but usually not as much as a raised bed vegetable garden but requires much more frequent care and maintenance.
You can read a comparison of these 3 types of vegetable gardens to give you a better idea of the best type/s for you.
Step 2: Choose the best location available for your vegetable garden
- An Area that Gets Enough Sunlight
Choosing a location that receives enough sunlight is the most important factor to keep in mind when deciding where to place your vegetable garden. Typically, vegetable plants perform best when they receive 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight each day. Therefore, if possible, you should start by selecting a space that receives at least 6 hours of sunlight each day.
- Near a Source of Water
The second most crucial requirement for your vegetable plants is to get enough water, after making sure they will receive enough sunlight. You can better water your vegetable garden if you position it close to a source of water.
- An Area with Proper Air Circulation
Vegetable plants need proper air circulation because it protects against disease and allows for the proper functioning of the plants.
Excess water on the leaves can be removed easily if there is proper air circulation around the plant. This shields the plant against bacterial, fungal, and viral ailments that require moisture to grow. However, excessive wind can dry out a plant too much and block vital functions, such as the pollination of flowers in fruiting plants like tomatoes.
- Good Drainage
There are very few vegetables that will grow in waterlogged conditions despite their high water requirements. This means that you need to choose a location with soil that drains well. Creating a slight slope so that water flows outwards can help water drain from your vegetable garden.
- Level Ground or a Slight Slope
Vegetable gardens that are planted in the ground should be located on a flat, level, or slightly sloping ground. This is because areas with steep slopes have a higher chance that soil and nutrients will wash away. Additionally, the foot of a slope is not the best place for most vegetable plants because it can get easily flooded or muddy.
Install raised beds that follow the natural slope of your garden if you can’t find any level ground or if you have a steep slope. If starting with raised garden beds would be expensive, you can start a container vegetable garden in a different location.
- Healthy Living Soil
For a vegetable garden to be successful, fertile and healthy soil is essential. If you are growing a vegetable garden directly in the ground, you should pick a location with the best soil.
Conversely, if you don’t have good soil or you suspect or know that your soil is contaminated, you can create raised beds that aren’t directly connected to the ground or grow your vegetables in containers. Then, you’ll be able to cultivate your vegetables in potting soil, compost, cocopeat, and other media.
- Easy Access to your Vegetable Garden
You will need to spend at least a few minutes each day in your vegetable garden to check on your plants to see how they are doing, even if you provide them the ideal growing conditions. Early problem diagnosis will allow you to help your plants before insect, disease, or nutrient shortage problems become serious. This means that you must place your vegetable garden in an area that you can easily get to, such as near a door that you use often.
You can read this blog post to find more information on where to place your vegetable garden.
Even if you have chosen the most suitable type of vegetable garden for your needs and placed it in the best location you have, it would be of no use if you don’t grow vegetables that suit your needs, your climate, and the microclimates in your vegetable garden.
Steps 3 – 5 will help you choose the best plants for your vegetable garden, how you should start them, and how many you’d need.
Step 3: Select the types and varieties of vegetables that you should grow
It goes without saying that you should grow vegetables that you and your family like to eat and vegetables that you’ve enjoyed growing previously. You can download this FREE workbook that will help you take a look back at your vegetable gardening journey last year.
Apart from liking them, the types of vegetables should be suitable for your climate and the season you are planning for. Next, you should take a good look at your vegetable garden and determine if you can provide the correct growing conditions for these plants, in particular, the correct amount of sunlight and the right type of soil. Finally, after you have a list of all suitable vegetables, you may need to narrow it down so that you have a mix of types of vegetables that you are happy with.
This process can be broken down into 4 easy steps.
- Make a wish list of vegetables you would like to grow
- Narrow down your list to vegetables that are suitable for your climate and growing season
- Narrow down your list to vegetables that are a great fit for your own vegetable garden
- Choose the best mix of vegetables to grow this season
You can find more information on each of these 4 steps that will help you choose the best plants for your vegetable garden in this blog post.
Step 4: Decide whether you should start your vegetable plants from seeds or transplants
A small but important decision that you need to decide on is whether you will start your vegetable plants from seeds or buy transplants from a nursery and directly transplant them into your vegetable garden.
There is no right or wrong answer to the question ‘is it better to plant vegetable seeds or seedlings?’. It all depends on the amount of time and money you can spend, the type of vegetable plants you want to grow, and how easy it is to purchase good-quality seedlings.
Step 5: Choose the correct number of plants that you will need to grow
Deciding on the number of plants of each type of vegetable that you will need to grow will help you plan the layout of your garden and will inform you of how many seeds or seedlings you’ll need to start.
The number of vegetable plants that you should grow will depend on how much you want and need to produce, how you plan to use your harvest, and last but not least, the space you have in your vegetable garden. You can find out more information on how each of these factors will affect the number of plants that you’ll need in this blog post.
Step 6: Plan the layout of your vegetable garden
Creating a layout for your vegetable garden is the last step involved in planning your organic vegetable garden and will bring together all the small decisions you’ve made so far.
Your vegetable garden layout will be the map that you use to know exactly where each vegetable plant should go. You may need to change your garden layout a few times until you arrive at the best possible layout. You can find a couple of important tips that you need to consider before creating the layout of your vegetable garden in this blog post.
Step 7: Decide how you will keep records of your vegetable garden
Although not a direct part of creating a plan for your organic vegetable garden, you should decide on how you will keep records of your vegetable garden during the planning stage so that you record all details right from the beginning. This is so that you will not miss recording any important details from the start.
Your vegetable garden journal should include the layout of your vegetable garden created, along with notes that you’ve made while creating the layout. In addition, you will need to record actions that you have taken and when, changes in your vegetable plants, and when you observed the change and observations of the environment around your vegetable plants and when the observations were made. If you don’t know how and where to start, we have some vegetable garden journal templates that you can download for free to get you started right away.
Now that you have a good idea of the steps involved in planning your own vegetable garden, you can download our FREE Vegetable Garden Planning workbook to easily refer back to this process and create your own plan.