How to Layout a Backyard Vegetable Garden

If you’re wanting fresh vegetables this year, you might be wondering how to layout a vegetable garden. Oh, certainly, you could go the traditional route and create tidy rows, but that isn’t your only option. Realistically, you can get very creative with your plans and make anything from a raised bed and container gardens, to a full formal looking effort that just happens to yield vegetables instead of flowers!

By the way, some gardeners have begun mixing vegetables into flower gardens too. For one thing, many blossoms are edible (roses, violets, nasturtium, etc.). For another, mixing flowers with vegetables is good for your soil. Each plant consumes different nutrients and by changing things up, you help keep your soil’s overall balance for the next growing season.

Simple and Sublime

A traditional plan for your vegetable garden begins with rows. Each one of the rows is dedicated to a specific vegetable. If possible, try to layout the rows from south to north. This gives your produce as much sunlight as possible. Note that it helps to till the soil, and make a level area where you can easily reach into the rows for weeding and overall plant care. If you’re planning a large garden, then consider creating walkways for yourself so you don’t step on growing vegetation while you tend the soil. If you have to place your rows on a slope, make sure they run across it, not up and down. This protects your seeds from washing out and also helps stabilize root growth.

One very important factor in the traditional vegetable garden: review how much space each seedling needs. Spring tends to be damp, which can cause various molds, mildew and fungus. If you plant vegetables too closely together, one infected seedling can spread the issue very quickly. Additionally pest infestations can also spread out more easily in a confined space.

Lift It up!

In considering how to lay out your vegetable garden, a wonderful alternative to traditional row gardening is a raised vegetable bed. In this system, you plant in blocks, which also saves space. With the garden up off the native soil, you can better mediate the overall condition of plants, and it’s certainly a little easier on the knees and back! If you have some cinder blocks, old bricks or even left over timber, you’ve got the foundation for building a raised bed.

Ideally, the bed should be at least 12″ deep. Because the bed is up off the ground, the soil warms up sooner, which helps kick start your growing season.

A Little Flair

For those gardeners who want a little more visual appeal, you can consider what’s customarily called a Kitchen Garden. As the name implies, this integrates vegetables and herbs and typically lies close to the kitchen if practicable. What makes the Kitchen Garden a little prettier is that the herbs and vegetables are patterned into various geometric designs between which bricks or stones create paths. Some Kitchen gardens have small, well-tended hedges that surround. Consider that some lettuce has bright red hues, and there’s curly parsley – set this against a backdrop of lattice work covered with beans and peas. Drop in a few companion flowers like marigold that deters bugs, and you have something truly whimsical without losing functionality.

Yet More Options

There are many options on how to layout your vegetable garden, and truly that flexibility is the beauty of it all. You need to think about your space, your lifestyle, and how much time you want to invest in the whole process. Other patterns to consider for your garden include a four square system (typically rectangular with some type of central statue or focal point) and an asymmetrical garden (no real “rules” on this one).

Helps and Hints

No matter your choice, keep a sketch of your garden every year. Your perennials, like asparagus or herbs, remain in one spot so put them where you won’t have to disturb their growth. Other annual vegetables should be rotated regularly to encourage healthy soil. Remember to be patient with yourself. It takes time to get to know your growing season and each vegetable’s needs. Make a diary for yourself, noting things like sprouting times or pest issues and how you resolve them. This garden journal will come in handy every year and can actually become a keepsake for your family.

Where to Find the Best Gardening Hand Tools Online

The Internet is a great place to buy books, clothes, music or just about anything you can think of, but what if you are looking for gardening hand tools or Japanese gardening tools? Where is the best place to find those sorts of things? Well, just like everything else you want, you can find just about anything you are looking for online, and the same goes for gardening hand tools.

If you are stuck searching online for some great gardening hand tools but not exactly sure where to look, here are a few of the best online companies out there.

Gardening Reviews is a site that provides reviews for gardening products and tools. They offer special deals on Mantis gardening products through links on their site. You can also read reviews of the Mantis Tiller, a great lightweight tiller, that is becoming very popular for the home and organic gardeners. There is a review of the Mantis Compost Tumbler that provides a step-by-step guide to compost and a video of the Mantis Compost Twin at work. This is a great site to find new products and information and is being updated daily. The site is somewhat new but is growing everyday. I reviewed the Mantis Tiller product on this site and bought mine through the link here. I got free shipping and absolutely love the product.

Flower Pot Heaven

The Flower Pot Heaven Company offers a great selection of gardening hand tools. If you are looking for a particular tool for your garden, chances are you will find it here. They have nearly everything you can think of, or can’t for that matter, for the home gardener. This is truly one of the best places to find some great hand tools and other gardening products.

They have an experienced and knowledgeable gardening supply staff and they are a company that you can have full confidence in. Their goal is to offer you the highest quality products for the most affordable prices, each and every time. I have purchased several products from them and have been very satisfied.

Home Harvest

This company is another great location for you to purchase just about any gardening tool you can think of. Their prices are very competitive and they only offer high quality gardening products. They strive to provide everything you need for your garden to help you be a successful gardener. Their product line includes organic soil amendments for the revitalization of soil, natural pest controls and predators to minimize exposure to dangerous chemicals, organic fertilizers, intensive cultivation products, discharge garden lamps, and much more.

Their mission is to offer not only the highest quality products on the market today but as well those that are the most environmentally safe and effective, and make them available to you at the most affordable prices. This is a must site for the organic gardener, you will find many naturally friendly products here to help keep your garden as “green” as possible.

Green Fingers

This is a UK-based company that offers gardening hand tools and much more. They feature trowels, dibbers, planting tools, saws and loppers, spades, forks, rakes, shears, pruners, lawn hand tools, and more.

Their primary goal is to help people find the gardening ideas, information and products that they are looking for quickly and easily as possible. They offer their customers a great value for their money. The products here are of very high quality and at the lowest possible prices. They are always updating their product line so no matter how recently the product you are looking for was released, you should be able to find what you are looking for here.

Choosing the correct tools require some research to see which ones are a must-have and which ones are just gimmicks. If you are new to gardening, I suggest buy a DIY gardening book or something similar so that you will understand which basic tools you will need to get started. Then later, you can add to your tool collection as your knowledge and your garden grows.