Vegetables: Planning and Preparing

Gardens & Landscapes September 17, 2008 Print Friendly and PDF

Vegetables | Selection | Planning and Preparing | Planting | Maintenance | Problems


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Contents

Planning and Designing

This home demonstration vegetable garden shows how you can have walkways and flowers among vegetables and herbs. (Photo credit: Mary Meyer)
This home demonstration vegetable garden shows how you can have walkways and flowers among vegetables and herbs. (Photo credit: Mary Meyer)

What does a vegetable garden look like?

When you think of a vegetable garden, do you think of straight rows? What crops do you want to grow and how much space will they require? How much space do you have for a garden? How much time do you have to tend to it? These questions are important to ask before preparing a vegetable garden. The following resources can help you answer these questions:


  • Visit a Family Garden (Cornell University) shows firsthand the process of planning and starting a home vegetable garden.


Below are several alternatives to using straight-row plots that are worth considering when planning the layout of a vegetable garden.


Intensive Gardening Methods

Intensive gardening can look beautiful while saving space and resources. (Photo credit: Karen Jeannette)
Intensive gardening can look beautiful while saving space and resources. (Photo credit: Karen Jeannette)

Harvest the most possible with the least amount of space by using:

  • Intensive Gardening Methods. As you review this article, note that intensive gardening is a good way to minimize water and pesticide usage, too. (Virginia Cooperative Extension)

Container Gardening

Container gardening is a great way to enjoy fresh vegetables, especially when limited by space. Learn more about:

Organic Gardening

To many, the term organic gardening often refers to the absence of synthetic or non-naturally occurring fertilizers or pesticides from gardening practices. The appeal of getting away from using synthetic fertilizers and pesticides is what lures many gardeners away from conventional gardening and towards organic gardening. However, organic gardening is much more than an absence or presence of synthetic chemicals as discussed in Washington State University's Organic Gardening Extension bulletin:[1]

"Organic gardening is a holistic approach to gardening that involves understanding:

  • Soil management
  • Integrated pest management
  • The life cycles of plants, pests, and the pest's natural enemies."


Successful organic gardening relies largely on natural processes and management techniques that most often cannot be fixed or adjusted quickly, as is the case with using some conventional gardening techniques. Therefore, careful planning and knowledge of organic gardening is essential to ensure soil nutrient levels are adequate and pests of vegetables can be managed well.

Find more organic vegetable gardening resources produced by several University Extension programs in different regions:

Soil Preparation of the Vegetable Garden

Vegetables grow best with a well-prepared soil, one that is friable, well drained, and has sufficient organic matter. Unfortunately, most soils are not conducive to vegetable growing until they are prepared.

See:

Credits

  1. ? Antonelli, A. et al. Organic Gardening Extension Bulletin 0648. Washington State University Extension. PDF.

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USDA / NIFA

This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.