My Garden Design


Remember how I planted some vegetable seeds a few weeks ago?  I have always loved the idea of gardening, and always planned on growing my own fruit and vegetables.  I think it's a very responsible thing to be self sufficient, not to mention it saves a TON on grocery shopping.  Last week, most of my little plants began to sprout, and I have to say the satisfaction of working on something and seeing it come to fruition is a really incredible feeling.

I planted seeds in individual peat cups, and placed the cups, organized by crop, into larger containers.  However, they are not going to stay this way.  Mostly because they are (hopefully) going to get much bigger.  I've done a lot of research, reading, planning, and even joined a Garden Club at church.  I don't want to give away any surprises, but I am really excited about "the plan" and decided I would show off what I worked on last night.

Behold, my soon to be backyard:


Currently, my backyard consists of  a patio, a basketball court, mostly dead grass, a 5' tall raised planter along the back wall (full of weeds and rocks and a few rose bushes), and two side planters full of rocks and weeds, and some kind of fruit tree (no one remembers what it is... figs maybe?  Or dates?).  Above, is what I worked out tonight on the easiest gardening software program ever! 

Along the back planter, I have planted some climbing ivy's.  Hopefully, they will grow grow grow, and bring more green to the space.

This is a small representation of the herb garden I will have.  I bought a few 14" flower pots and in them have planted Cilantro, Oregano, Basil, Rosemary, Sage, Chives, Parsley and Garlic. 

The primary purpose for using my green thumb is my raised garden bed.  It measures four feet by eight feet and will hold a plethora of fruits and veggies!  In order to plan out my garden, I decided to use "Square Foot" gardening techniques.  This method was created in the 1970's and was designed to get maximum results from small spaces.  Because so many crops are growing in each "block," weeds don't have room to grow.  Essentially I split my space into 32 1'x 1' sections and planted one crop per section.  The number next to the crop represents how many of those plants will successfully grow in each square foot section.  (I have planted Bell Peppers, Tomatoes, Green Beans, Lettuce, Onions, Carrots, Spinach, Peas, Sweet Potatoes, Broccoli, Radishes and Strawberries).

I also considered "Companion" planting techniques.  Different plants use and produce different chemicals and nutrients.  Each plant has different :companions: that produce the chemicals & nutrients it uses; conversely it produces the chemicals and nutrients the neighboring plants use.  If done right, planting this way produces higher yields of crops which are more vigorous against disease and insects! However, each plant also has "enemies," which are incompatible with it.  If planted next to each other, the incompatible plants will actually hinder each others growth, and even hinder production of fruits/vegetables.

Lastly, I used common sense and planned according to height.  Taller plants should be placed on the Northeast end of any garden and shorter plants should be planted on the Southwest end.  This is so the taller plants don't create shade for the shorter ones and block their sunlight.  Bell peppers, tomatoes and peas are all tall plants so they will be around the northern and eastern perimeters.  The other plants are relatively short (except for the green beans) and will be on the southern and western perimeters.  I sowed bush green beans (as opposed to pole green beans) so they won't be tall, but they will be tall enough to provide some shade to the lettuce, which will wilt in too much sun.

Planning has, by far, been the most complicated process of planting my garden.  But at least it's over... for now.

In the planter against the left (west) wall, I have planted three grape vines - 2 green and 1 red, all of which are seedless.  These plants needed a "sunny spot" to grow, but not full sun, so this side was perfect for them.

Lastly, I planted my berries (blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries) against the right (east) wall.  All of these plants are vines, except the blueberries which are more of a true bush. 

I am so excited to have an official plan, so that when I am ready to stick everything in the ground, I'll know right where they go!  I am so excited to find that I have a new hobby that I love, and I can't wait until everything is ready to eat!  Yum!

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