Designing a Garden
Fortunately, drawing a garden plan doesn’t require landscaping expertise. Once you have determined the location and dimensions of your garden, sketch the area to scale on a piece of graph paper. Take into account the space requirements of crops you want to grow, whether you want to plant in rows or beds, and how much of each fruit or vegetable you want at harvest, and fill in this space with your favorite crops. There are any number of possibilities for a garden design and just a few things to keep in mind: limitations–you can’t plant everything, so choose carefully; the shade factor–tall crops such as corn should be placed where they won’t deprive other crops of sun; and accessibility–plan your garden with walkways so you can get at your plants easily without damaging their roots.
With a plan, you won’t buy more seeds than you need. Of course, this requires strength of character as well as an accurate plan. As you review your garden plan, complete with space budgeted for walkways and expanding crops, you may realize that you can’t grow as much as you want to.
Planning on paper will also help you use garden space more efficiently. It’s a good way to see the possibilities for succession planting (following one crop with another) and interplanting (planting a quick-maturing crop close to a slower-maturing one and harvesting the first before the two compete for space). For example, you may see that you can follow your peas with a crop of late broccoli, and you’ll be ready with transplants in July. Or you may see that there is space to tuck a few lettuce plants among your tomatoes while the vines are still small. An important consideration in garden design is how you will sow seeds for most of your vegetables. There are three basic options: in single rows, in wide rows, or in beds.