clamathan
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How to format my garden to maximize space?

hey guys

I'm making a vegetable garden in my front yard and I've already done most of the work. I need help finding out how to maximize my space with the vegetables I plan to plant, because the garden is very small. First i'll post pictures of what I have done so far, then i'll post a list of what I plan to grow. If you guys know anything about companion planting I would greatly appreciate your help. I put some soil made of composted leaves to get a little more soil and neutralized it with lime. I hoped for rain today but it only drizzled so i went out and hosed it down. I already have my seedlings grown and plenty of seeds if I need more. Here is a list of everything I have. I hope you guys can help me plan where to plant everything and if I should buy some other plants to help with pest control, replacing nitrogen, etc.

long white onion
oregano
giant caesar lettuce
eggplant
sweetie tomato
brandywine tomato
extra curled parsley
arugula
tarragon
sweet basil
cucumber fanfare hybrid
cilantro
mammoth dill
california wonder sweet pepper
broccoli
cascadia pea
common sage
plain italian parsley
fernleaf dill
spearmint
genovese basil
sugar snap pea
common chives
carnival sweet pepper
brussel sprouts
rosemary
sweet aroma tomato
romaine lettuce
sweet spanish yellow onion
common thyme
sweet marjoram
roma tomato
cucumber burpee hybrid II
salad select spinach
red roaster pepper
steak sandwich tomato
cantaloupe
pumpkin (300 lb. I don't plan to put these in the garden. I'm just gonna throw em somewhere and see if they grow. If they don't I couldn't care less.)

I also have a raspberry bush in a pot that didn't bear fruit last year so I left it out for the winter. The pot cracked in half and the tough bastard is growing leaves now. I think i'll put it in the lower left corner of the garden because it needs a lot of water and I predict that's were the water will flow to, because it is the lowest spot.

I have some big wooden stakes and enough chicken wire to surround the whole thing.
Attachments
here are my seedlings today
here are my seedlings today
12.jpg (37.96 KiB) Viewed 697 times
I put some soil made from composted leaves from the local recycling center on top. I neutralized it with lime.
I put some soil made from composted leaves from the local recycling center on top. I neutralized it with lime.
8.jpg (48.61 KiB) Viewed 697 times
Here are the dimensions next to a picture of the plot.
Here are the dimensions next to a picture of the plot.
1.jpg (53.34 KiB) Viewed 697 times

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vinyl217
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Re: How to format my garden to maximize space?

Goodness, what a selection of plants to have :D I suggest you pick up a copy of Square Foot Gardening to learn about intensive planting. Most of your plants will require one square foot of space, your onions and lettuce can be denser. Cucumbers will crawl all over the place, so make sure you have bush varieties. You can interplant your basil and tomatoes too, but honestly, that's a ton of stuff to fit into one space...you'll need to have room to walk around and harvest. Anxious to see a photo when you have it all planted.
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applestar
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Re: How to format my garden to maximize space?

Here's what I would do: :wink:

1 st step is to tell us where you live and what kind of weather (day/night temperatures) you are having.

2 nd step is to sort and group the plant list into cool weather and warm weather crops and figure out if you still, have time to grow the cool weather crop.

3 rd step is to figure out how to succession plant them to grow nore than one crop in the same space to maximize space.

4 th step is to decide how to arrange them based on compass direction and length of sun exposure for this garden.

So, post the missing details and let's see what we can figure out. :D
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Halfway
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Re: How to format my garden to maximize space?

Wow. That is quite a list and quite a project.

I have no suggestions, but wanted to say Wow!

Best of success!
Zone 4a.

clamathan
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Re: How to format my garden to maximize space?

I live in southern Connecticut and we are getting mid sixties by day and mid fifties by night. I don't know what plants are cool weather and warm but i guess I can spend a few hours checking tomorrow. I don't know if I'm going to plant every single one of these things, and I still have the pots out back for the herbs so maybe i'll put the herbs in pots and save the garden for the bigger stuff. I don't think the compass direction will matter very much because the whole garden will be exposed to the sun at the same time, so I won't really base it off of that. I don't need this to be incredibly complicated and I don't have time to go build something elaborate because summer is coming soon. The square foot gardening method looks pretty complex to set up but maybe i'll do something like it with the separations. I want to find companion plants that will grow well together though. I know there are others besides tomato and basil, but I just don't know how to put it all together.

Fourspot
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Re: How to format my garden to maximize space?

Is that a front yard garden? I like the ambition here, but I almost choked when I read that list. Even with SFG, you're probably not going to be able fit everything into that spot. Some of these plants are going to take up a lot of space and you'll need to provide vertical support for many of them. We're both in New England, and some of my Spring vegetables are bolting already. Good luck.

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applestar
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Re: How to format my garden to maximize space?

OK, so, 2nd step:
Fourspot wrote:We're both in New England, and some of my Spring vegetables are bolting already.
This comment gives us a clue that *maybe* some of the things you want to plant will not be worth planting at this point. If you still want to try, they need to go where they will be shaded by taller veg. (This is where compass direction comes in handy, you see. There may also be some portions of the plot that is shaded by trees/buildings depending on compass direction, especially rising and setting sun?)

COOL WEATHER (direct sow seeds 6 weeks before last frot, transplant 3-4 weeks before last frost)

long white onion <-- is this a scallion variety? Perennial?
sweet spanish yellow onion <-- seeds should have been started mid-Jan for best results, but can try planting now. (Probably not enough growing time to bulb to any large size.)

cascadia pea <-- too late
sugar snap pea <-- too late
broccoli <-- too late, try again for fall crop later

<plant in large container and keep in morning sun but noon/PM shade -- keep watered well and cool as possible OR even better, plant in ground where morning sun but noon/PM shade>
salad select spinach
romaine lettuce
giant caesar lettuce
cilantro
arugula <-- hendi_alex wrote that they will not bolt when planted with warm weather

extra curled parsley <-- can be planted now
plain italian parsley <-- can be planted now

WARM WEATHER (Plant 1 week after last frost)

(tomato varieties need to be sorted into indeterminate and determinate varieties)
sweet aroma tomato
steak sandwich tomato
sweetie tomato
brandywine tomato
roma tomato

fernleaf dill <-- these are easier sown direct but can be planted now
mammoth dill <-- these are easier sown direct but can be planted now

WARM/HOT WEATHER (Plant 2 weeks after last frost)

sweet basil
genovese basil

carnival sweet pepper
california wonder sweet pepper
red roaster pepper

cucumber burpee hybrid II
cucumber fanfare hybrid

eggplant
cantaloupe
pumpkin (300 lb. I don't plan to put these in the garden. I'm just gonna throw em somewhere and see if they grow. If they don't I couldn't care less.)

PLANT WITH HOT WEATHER FOR FALL CROP: Brussels sprouts

HARDY PERENNIAL HERBS
(These can survive the winter if planted in the ground and come back every year, but need to be planted separate from annuals or in a border of the veg bed)
(Thyme and oregano are drought tolerant and hardy enough to be planted in large pots. Sage needs extra sun but is not as hardy and requires well drained soil.)
common chives
tarragon
common sage
oregano
common thyme
spearmint (spreads -- should be planted in a large pot)

TENDER PERENNIAL HERBS
(These won't survive the winter outside. Plant in pots and bring inside for winter)

rosemary
sweet marjoram
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applestar
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Re: How to format my garden to maximize space?

Fourspot, what are bolting already?

In my garden, only things that are bolting are OVERWINTERED spinach, arugula and cilantro (well, and Brussels sprouts, kale and Asian greens). I'm letting them go to seed to collect/save the seeds.

Volunteer cilantro and kale that sprouted this spring are about 4-5" and ready to start harvesting (as are dill, BTW) and new spinach that were kept too long in starter pots are still babies. Cilantro and kale are out in full sun but spinach and lettuce are planted in morning only sun, lower, moisture retentive location.

Arugula are full sized and have been harvesting and just recently started harvesting outer leaves of lettuce.

Earliest broccoli are heading up and almost ready to harvest (though these may be slower than they should be since I'm still working on proper timing)

clamathan, you CAN try planting the broccoli if you have them started, but in my experience, what they will do is stall out in the heat, then they will squat in the garden space while you spend all summer keeping away the bugs -- slugs, aphids, cabbage white butterflies, cabbage moth and diamond back moth, harlequin bugs, etc. --until the plants look a sorry mess. IF you get them through all that, then they will head up in the fall once the temps cool down. Alternatively, you can start new seeds around early to mid-July and plant according to days to maturity plus 2 weeks (e.g. early August) so that they are ready to harvest just around or after first frost.

..."bolting" Falstaff purple Brussels sprouts :D
(big clump of yellow flowers to the left)
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applestar
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Re: How to format my garden to maximize space?

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rainbowgardener
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Re: How to format my garden to maximize space?

You have gotten very good advice already. I will just second it to say that I think you will be quite disappointed if you try starting all the cool weather stuff now. It will just take up a bunch of room in your plot, but not produce much at all. That would be the lettuce, broccoli, peas, brussels sprouts, and spinach and probably arugula, which I have never grown.

And applestar is right about not mixing in perennial herbs with annual crops. They could be a border as she suggested, but they will keep getting bigger each year. A lot of herbs do quite well in containers, so you might be able to do an herb container garden elsewhere. And since they are going to keep getting bigger, don't overdo it. I have ONE big old sage plant and it gives me all the sage I know what to do with, and I'm somewhat of an herbalist and dry a bunch and distill some and give a lot away... So that would be the sage, rosemary, thyme, marjoram, oregano, tarragon.

That leaves you quite a manageable summer garden of tomatoes, peppers, parsley, chives, dill, basil, cucumbers, eggplant. The pumpkin would take up your whole patch by itself, and the cantaloupe is only a little bit behind.

The trick for small gardens along with interplanting is succession planting. So for the future, you will want to start some of those cold weather crops very early, as soon as the ground can be worked. To give them a head start, especially the slower things like broccoli, you can start the seeds indoors. I start broccoli seed under the lights in January. Plant it in the ground a month or more ahead of my average last frost date (it is quite frost tolerant). That way you can plant tomato and pepper seedlings behind the cold weather stuff and by the time the tomatoes and peppers are getting big, the cold weather stuff is done and can be pulled. Then as noted you can plant seeds of stuff like lettuce and spinach again in Aug- early Sept. While it is still hot, they will benefit from the shade of the tomatoes. Then later you can pull some of the warm weather stuff. I plant spinach seed in Oct to overwinter. Then it takes off in late winter and gives you a good early spring crop. I have found that the overwintered spinach does better and lasts longer than the spring planted stuff, which tends to bolt quickly when it warms up, even planted very early.

I also have a veggie bed in the middle of my front lawn. But since I left more lawn around it and my front yard is smaller, that bed is only 10 x 5. It currently has in it the last of the overwintered spinach which I am letting go to seed, a row of carrots, a row of garlic (planted last fall, will be harvested around mid summer), some parsley (some last year's some this years), 3 tomato plants, 3 pepper plants, a couple basils, a couple marigolds, a row of cabbage and broccoli which will be done pretty soon. And I crowd my beds a lot, since I don't have a lot of room.
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clamathan
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Re: How to format my garden to maximize space?

Wow. Thanks for all of this awesome advice! I my plan is to put all the herbs in pots because I have several large ones.I'll grow those summer crops mentioned in the garden. Today I am going to put in the bricks and stakes and I will probably plant on Saturday. I'll put the melon and pumpkins somewhere else to see if they survive, but I don't want them taking over. I guess I'll have plenty of tomatoes!

imafan26
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Re: How to format my garden to maximize space?

I agree with what has been said.

I would plant peas, broccoli, brussels sprouts later in the year. They don't do well maturing in warmer weather.

I would also pare down the total number of large plants, especially tomatoes.

Tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, squash take up less space on a trellis. I would not plant them in the garden but somewhere outside of it

A lot of the herbs can be planted in pots thyme, sage, oregano can be in a large pot together. Mint should always be in a pot by itself, it can be invasive. Rosemary, tarragon in their own pots. These should be located near the kitchen for ease of access.

I would only plant as much lettuce as you can eat in two weeks. Plant additional lettuce seedlings in a pot and when the garden lettuce is half grown so you can replace them as they are harvested. Add a handful of compost and some fertilizer when you plant.

I would myself choose a different layout to make the garden have more curb appeal. I would plant vegetables and flowers in an irregular border around the perimeter. Onions, basil, nasturtiums, dill, peppers, rosemary, marigolds, calendula, borage, sunflowers and pansies and violas. Not only will they add color and texture, they will attract pollinators and beneficial insects into the garden. Plant in groups of three for the best effect and you can space out basil rather than plant them all in one place. Even the eggplant can go in the border as it becomes a shrub. I plant allyssum, echinacea and other nectar plants to bring in beneficial and pollinators.

On the inside I would either plant an oval or a circle or 4 rectangular beds. That way you have room to walk around the garden to weed and harvest and it gives the area more form. I have a vegetable bed that is too wide for me to reach across and so I have stepping stones so that I can weed and harvest and have a place to walk. You could plant thyme or oregano as a ground cover in your pathway around stepping stones. They actually can benefit from being stepped on to make them more prostrate and they look better with regular haircuts.

If you plant in separate planting beds you can match plants that like the same conditions together. Some of your plants like a rich moist soil, most of the dry herbs can tolerate and will do better in a less fertile well drained soil.

I would put the low plants in the main vegetable beds and plant tomatoes, cucumbers, pole beans on trellises on the side. Edge the center garden with the onions or chives. Again add some spots of color with colored basil, purple hulled beans, rainbow chard, or more calendula here and there.

Vegetables don't have to be in rows unless you are planting corn and they don't have to be all in the same place. Parsley can benefit from some shade so a shady side yard will do too.

You don't live in a planned community do you? Front vegetable gardens are often not allowed.

I do plant some edibles in the front yard, roses, nasturtiums, garlic chives, lavender, and day lilies, but they are tucked into the landscape and are "pretty enough" to pass as an ornamental.

Actually the sun direction will matter especially when plants start growing. You want to position the tallest plants so they will get full sun but not necessarily shade the smaller plants. Some plants can benefit by shade from the afternoon sun. And also consider if the shadow from the house will cast shade on the garden.

Many people get Spring fever and are in a hurry to plant. You may not have time to do everything you want to do or plant everything you want to. When you have time you can sit down and make draw up a garden plan for next year. Prepare the garden well in the fall by adding lots of compost and some manure. Cover it with mulch, and that way it will be ready to work for you in the Spring. You will have a better idea after you grow this garden as to how much to plant and where it all fits. Gardens are never finished, they are always a work in progress.
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Fourspot
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Re: How to format my garden to maximize space?

applestar wrote:Fourspot, what are bolting already?

In my garden, only things that are bolting are OVERWINTERED spinach, arugula and cilantro (well, and Brussels sprouts, kale and Asian greens). I'm letting them go to seed to collect/save the seeds.
Same here. The spinach, napa cabbage, and bok choy are flowering. Grown in full sun and yo-yo weather. The bok choy does it every year. I barely harvested a meal from them and they're already quitting on me.

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