The layout of the vegetable garden is extremely important when planning a new garden. A vegetable garden that is poorly planned will not grow properly. A good layout makes irrigation and fertilization easier and efficient. Proper spacing of the plants prevents problems with competition and crowding. Choose a garden site that is well draining and nutrient rich, then begin the planning process.
Mark out an area for the garden and stick to your plan. The size of the garden will depend on the space available and whether any other plants are within the vicinity. The amount of time and work you want to do in the garden should be considered when planning the garden. A garden that is too large will cost you considerable time to maintain, while one that is too small may not provide enough food.
Choose vegetables you know you enjoy when planting. A new garden that is full of vegetables you do not enjoy will matter little by the end of the growing season. Find varieties that are known to grow in your area. When planning, find the growth rate and the space the plant requires and choose other vegetables that will accommodate your main vegetables. Choose vegetables according to their growing season so that the growth period is extended as long as possible.
The University of Florida Extension suggests drawing a plan that shows the layout of the garden. The drawing should include the names of the vegetables, an indication of how long they require to grow---and show their location and the spacing needed. A list of supplies required for the garden will also help.
Test the Site
Test the site for pH and nutrient levels before planting. Soil tests are available from garden centers or through the local university extension service for your area. pH levels and nutrient levels will determine the kinds of vegetables best suited for different areas, or whether the soil needs amending before planning.
Irrigation is best planned during the garden layout process. When irrigating with a hose or watering can very little planning is necessary. A drip irrigation system will require drawing the drip line into the vegetable garden layout. When furrow irrigation is used, some space may be lost in the vegetable garden. This also requires planning into the garden design.