As I mentioned last week, one of the crucial ways to ensure your have a successful summer garden that produces for you all summer long, you must plan your garden – no matter how big or how small. In this blog, I will teach you how to plan in four simple steps!
Planning well is such an important step in growing food, as we can all get carried away when sowing seeds or buying seedlings. Before we know it, we have way too many for the prepared space and then they sit there in the pots getting stressed and stressing us. I personally struggle with this because, through my work, I am used to growing large scale and now, I am having to learn how much one needs for a couple of people and guests, not a few hundred, or a few thousand!
When you have enough nutrients in your soil, it is amazing how much you can grow, as you can pack them in close together. This is how I like to grow food in my raised beds; eventually the plants cover all the soil and keep it cool, which is one of my tricks. If you have big gaps, that soil will heat up and dry out, pulling the moisture from other parts of your garden, thus in turn depleting the drinking source for your plants.
Here’s my advice to effectively plan your garden in four simple steps:
- Draw a rough sketch of your garden – just a simple square, rectangle, circle or whatever shape you have, no artist skills required!
- Next measure your area length by width and write it on your sketch. If you don’t have a tape stride it out, usually one big stride is a metre for women, or one average stride for men.
- Then work out how many plants you can have. Every seed packet and plant has height and width on it and usually planting spaces. When you have a bed full of the right kind of soil and rich compost or bokashi, instead use the planting spaces below as this will give you the most food production and also cover the soil to keep it cool and more productive. If you prefer to create more space, you can add 10 or so centimetres to all plants except the basil and marigolds.
- When making your plan you might want to make a side note to plan the mulch you will require for the top and, if you are netting your garden, the amount required too, as this keeps your notes all in one place. Believe me you don’t want to get to the garden centre and have left that extra piece of paper at home!
In my experience and opinion, some sort of netting is usually required to keep the birds out and protect your young plants, and it is always a good idea to put a thick layer of mulch on to keep the moisture in and the soil and roots protected.
Prior planning and #action make gardening a whole lot easier.
Common summer plants and their spacing and food requirements if wanting to plant close:
|Plant||Spacing requirements||What type of feeder||Companions|
|Tomatoes||20cm||Heavy||Marigold, chilli, capsicum, basil, eggplant|
As basil and marigolds are not heavy feeders, they don’t need any extra fertiliser underneath them when planting. They are very good companions with the above crops – marigolds help to repel nematodes and basil brings beneficial insects to your garden.