Christian1971
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Location: West Central Minnesota

Vegetable Garden Layout

I have approximately 32' x 32' of garden space. I would like to use less if possible.
Would appreciate your thoughts on layout and how much to plant.
We are a family of three. Like to have extra veggies to hand out to family.
My plan is to use feedlot panels, since I can get them for a decent price.
Will start seeds indoors.
Tomatoes: Sweet 100, Corleone (roma type), Orange Paruche, Sunchocola, Lemon Tree tomato
Bell Peppers: Red Knight, Socrates, Banana, Pepper, King of the North, Thunderbolt, Orange Blaze, Red Beauty Hybrid
Other: Chicory, Sugar Peas, Buttercruch lettuce, Cabbage Chinese toy choi.
Also three other Chinese, barrel head type cabbage. I don't recall names at the moment.
Also have several flowers to attract bees etc.
Will also plant dahlias next to the garden.
Any veggies you consider best in flavor or too similar.
Many thanks

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digitS'
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Re: Vegetable Garden Layout

Your garden choices remind me of my own, Christian1971. I even have a Dahlia garden.

We may be putting too much emphasis on sweet peppers. The plants don't grow very well here, too cool at night and they have trouble in what is usually a lengthy warm-up during the early season.

A small 10' by 10' corn patch will give you some ears of sweet corn during your tomato and pepper season. Cucumbers planted along the south side of that corn will make some use of the ground back among the stalks and produce about the same time.

No greenbeans? Here's an idea -- plant few or none early and be willing to pull the peas as soon as production drops. Greenbeans are a fairly quick crop and can follow the peas in my garden ... even if you feel you have more garden space than you feel you need keeping all of it going strong is a good idea ;).

I grew escarole for the first time last year and will enjoy having it again this season. That reminds me, I shouldn't eat all the dry beans this winter so that I have some for bean & escarole soup when that green is available.

The green, Toy Choi, I grew only once - even though I plant other Shanghai-type bok choy every year. Toy Choi is tiny! It's also really quick. You will have to pay attention to the plants or they will bolt to seed. Mei Qing Choi is a better choice for me. I sow the seeds about every 2 weeks during the spring and have to watch them carefully, too. Only some of those sowings will result in plants that can reach their full growth. Stir-fries are common in our kitchen :).

Bolting to seed isn't necessarily a terrible thing, although it may not be what we want with these hybrid bok choy. I can collect lots of seed from a few mustard plants in an out-of-the-way location. That seed can be used for a green manure crop on unused ground the following year. Keeping all your soil in use even if it is just to feed microbes and earth worms is a good idea - keeps down the weeds, too.

Steve
Make everything as simple as possible but not simpler. ~ Albert Einstein

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applestar
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Re: Vegetable Garden Layout

I think you should both try growing peppers in containers. They seem to do better in cooler areas -- probably because the root zone is warmer than in the ground. I'm trying eggplants in containers, too.

Since peppers can handle less sun areas, I can put the pepper containers in somewhat less sun areas and they will still get the warmer root zone. Tomatoes can manage with somewhat less than maximum sun and prefer the cooler roots. The sunniest, hottest garden spots go to the really temperamental melons and squashes and corn in my garden.

I think planting in raised rows is a good way to organize the garden. Scrape up good soil from the paths and pile onto the rows. The rows should be no wider than you can reach from both sides.
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rainbowgardener
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Re: Vegetable Garden Layout

Agree with digitS. I will quote jal_ut, who is a regular here, does what I would consider small scale farming (as opposed to backyard gardening) and feeds his family from it. He always says if what you want is to grow food, the best things to grow, producing the most food are potatoes, squash, corn and beans. You should really think about growing some. (See James? I am listening! :) )

And for me with a very small amount of space, doing succession planting is very helpful to get a lot out of a little space. So I put a lot of emphasis on early season crops. You have a bunch of cabbag-y stuff in there but not much else. What about broccoli, spinach, lettuce, kale? And absolutely put yourself in a row of swiss chard somewhere. One small row of chard will be all you need. Lettuce, spinach, etc bolt and are done when the weather warms up. The swiss chard just grows and grows from before the last frost until after the first fall frost. Very easy, very productive, nothing much bothers it.

And if you love dahlias, then sure grow dahlias. But they are native to Mexico (which is why we have to dig and store them for winter) and so they are of absolutely no use to our beneficial insects. To attract pollinators and predators (things that eat/ parasitize the "bad bugs") generally lumped as beneficials, plant (a selection from): cornflower, sweet alyssum, borage, anise hyssop (lovely in herbal tea blends), golden marguerite, marigold, mint and other members of the mint family like lemon balm (more tea! :) ), ironweed, members of the carrot family like parsley, fennel, dill, coriander, caraway, herbs like sage, oregano, thyme, basil, lavender. And that corn we mentioned is also good for this: Corn tassels produce large amounts of pollen that is a good protein source for many beneficials. Onions and garlic scattered through your beds help repel bad bugs. They take up very little space. Onion seed and garlic cloves would get planted in the fall, but you can do onion sets in the spring.

Have fun and keep us posted on how it is all going!
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jal_ut
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Re: Vegetable Garden Layout

Why do you want to plant a garden? For Food? If so, I can tell you that corn, potatoes, squash and beans are what I call the Big 4. These are the plants that give one the calories needed for energy to carry on. Though tomatoes are likely the most fussed over garden plant, they don't really give us the needed calories and exist for flavor and color interest.

"(See James? I am listening! :) )" I am giggling at this Rainbowgardener
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

Christian1971
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Location: West Central Minnesota

Re: Vegetable Garden Layout

jal_ut wrote:Why do you want to plant a garden? For Food? If so, I can tell you that corn, potatoes, squash and beans are what I call the Big 4. These are the plants that give one the calories needed for energy to carry on. Though tomatoes are likely the most fussed over garden plant, they don't really give us the needed calories and exist for flavor and color interest.

"(See James? I am listening! :) )" I am giggling at this Rainbowgardener
I wholeheartedly agree. I did add squash. Being this is my first ever garden, I am just toying around with different stuff. We have no shortage of corn or potatoes, since our neighbor farmer always provides us with an abundance.
Being that I have never done anything to completion, this is more of a test of my committment. Part of my therapy/project that my psychologist recommended.
I am thinking more of not trying to go too big. Everything in life I get too carried away. That gets me into trouble, and then I get depressed. I have a hard time not going all the way. So this project is really going to be a challenge for me.
But I have asked my 14 year old to assist me and we will have fun. Work but at least we are doing it together. Regardless of the end result. Not quitting, but if something doesnt grow or whatever, thats ok. We are sharing time together, which I love. He is a lot like me, and so I want him to do the things my parents never did with me. Sorry for my rant. Thank you all for your insight. It means a lot to me. Even if you think I am doing something wrong. Nothing like free advice. Thanks again, Christian

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Vegetable Garden Layout

Sharing this project with your 14 yr old sounds like a terrific thing to be doing for both of you and great bonding time.

Keeping an experimental attitude to just see what works, is really helpful. I think you are very right re "but if something doesnt grow or whatever, thats ok. " Everyone has some things that don't work, for whatever reason and especially when starting out there are bound to be some.

I always recommend people starting out keep their garden small and manageable, rather than trying to start big and getting overwhelmed by it and giving up.

You are on the right track!! :D Keep us posted with how it goes for you.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

imafan26
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Re: Vegetable Garden Layout

You have cool season and warm season plants. the Napa cabbages, lettuce, peas and bok choy are cool season and should be planted first. For the most part the greens are also relatively short crops. Lettuce and bok choy are 30-40 day crops so consider planting only a few at a time every couple of weeks for succession. When the weather is warmer, replace the cool crops with the warmer growing tomato, beans, and peppers.

I do like baby bok, but I have not grown toy choi, I have grown Mei Qing Choi, Joi Choi, dwarf pak choi, and standard pak choi. The standard pak choi can be harvested in the baby stage and used like baby bok. The dwarf pak coi and Mei Qing choi are more squat and the leaves are tighter.

I like peppers and I have a few varieties, but since they are so prolific, I only grow a couple of each variety. Bell peppers elude me. I haven't gotten more than 8 peppers from them, but tabasco has a pepper load of over 200 so one is plenty, Habanero pepper loat approx 20, anaheim about 8, banana pepper 30. I grow three tomatoes and they produce more than I need but, I don't need much.

Squash would be a good addition. I would grow butternut squash since squash vine borers aren't as big a problem.
You even have room for watermelon (I grow ice box, melons, the vines are shorter. Gourds are more productive for me.
Corn takes up a lot of space but it could also be grown. You could do a three sister planting.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

lexusnexus
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Re: Vegetable Garden Layout

Check with your local extension agent/office for native plants for your pollinators, carnivorous bugs and critters, and birds. Remember, those critters will generally use local plants, but may not eat or want to be around alien species. Good nurseries should have someone on staff who can help with this too. Just remember, they are in business to make money and can try to sell you an ornamental that is not native. Wish I could grow long day onions like you can. :( That's a suggested crop. I love Spanish onions for cooking but can't grow them here easily.
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jal_ut
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Re: Vegetable Garden Layout

In thinking about planting, be advised that there are cool weather crops, and warm weather crops. Some things can be planted very early and others must only be planted once the weather is quite warm. I put together a little paper for this area, and it will give you the idea of what I am talking about.

https://donce.lofthouse.com/jamaica/GARDEN.pdf
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

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jal_ut
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Re: Vegetable Garden Layout

Squash can get huge. Even the bush types, if you plant a hill of 5 seeds, you may get a clump of vegetation 4 feet tall and 7 feet wide. Give it some room.

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jal_ut
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Re: Vegetable Garden Layout

The long vining types may grow vines up to 20 feet long and even climb fences or trees.
The individual leaves get huge too.

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