- Do you have enough sun exposure? Vegetables love the sun. They need at least 6 hours of full sun every day, and preferably 8.
- Know your soil. Most soil can be enriched with compost and be fine for planting, but some soil needs more help. Vegetables must have good, loamy, well-drained soil. Check with your local nursery or local cooperative office about free soil test kits so that you can assess your soil type.
- Placement is everything. Avoid planting too near a tree, which will steal nutrients and shade the garden. In addition, a garden too close to the house will help to discourage wild animals from nibbling away your potential harvest.
- Decide between tilling and a raised bed. If you have poor soil or a bad back, a raised bed built with non pressure-treated wood offers many benefits.
- Vegetables need lots of water, at least 1 inch of water a week.
- You’ll need some basic planting tools. These are the essentials: spade, garden fork, soaking hose, hoe, hand weeder, and wheelbarrow (or bucket) for moving around mulch or soil. It’s worth paying a bit extra for quality tools.
- Study those seed catalogs and order early.
- Check your frost dates. Find first and last frost dates in your area and be alert to your local conditions.
Make your garden 11 rows wide, with each row 10 feet long. The rows should run north and south to take full advantage of the sun.
Vegetables that may yield more than one crop per season are beans, beets, carrots, cabbage, kohlrabi, lettuce, radishes, rutabagas, spinach, and turnips.
Suggested Plants for 11 Rows the vegetables suggested below are common, productive plants but you’ll also want to contact your local cooperative extension to determine what plants grow best in your local area. Think about what you like to eat as well as what’s difficult to find in a grocery store or farmers’ market.
(Note: Link from each vegetable to a free planting and growing guide.)
- Tomatoes—5 plants stake—4 plants
- Zucchini Squash-4 plants
- Peppers—6 plants
- Bush Beans
- Lettuce, leaf and/or Bibb
- Marigolds to discourage rabbits!
When to Plant?
- Research the best time to plant seeds and seedlings in your area.
Source: The Old Farmer’s Almanac which has a ton of useful content for gardeners and there are links to additional content throughout this post.