How to Plan a Vegetable Garden


There is nothing better than the taste of the first tomato from your own garden, except maybe dreaming about that first tomato, on a cold day in March.

With a little bit of planning, your vegetable garden can look beautiful, while providing food for the family.

Things to consider:

Desired Plants

It’s easy to get really excited about your new garden and want to plant everything.  Resist the urge, as you will feel overwhelmed by the garden.   There are many seed catalogs that you can order from to pick your favorite varieties, if you would like to start the seeds indoors.  Local nurseries now have quite a diverse selection to pick from and it saves you the trouble of setting up a mini-greenhouse in your basement.

Amount of Space

This goes hand in hand with how much you can plant.  Even in small spaces, containers make great vegetable gardens and you don’t even need a yard, a deck or balcony would do.  If you have more space, a 10’x16’ garden is sufficient to feed a family of 4 for the summer.    If it’s your first season, you can always go smaller and see what works for you and your family.

Pick the Perfect Spot

Full Sun – The garden needs at least 6 hours of sunlight a day, although 8 hours is preferred.

Near Water – It is important to be close to a water source, as the garden will need at least 1” of water per week.

Good Soil – Success of the garden is based on the quality of the soil.  The preferred soil is moist, well-draining and high in organic content, such as compost.  A soil sample can be sent to your local cooperative extension for testing.

Other considerations

  • Fencing may be necessary depending on the rabbit and deer population at your house.
  • If you plant in rows, they should run north and south, and plant the taller plants on the north side so they won’t shade out the shorter plants.
  • Climbing plants will need a trellis or some other climbing apparatus.  Also tomatoes work best when planted within cages, as the fruit weighs down the plants.

Enjoy the fruits of your labor!