Nothing brings freshness and brightness to the dinner table quite as successfully as vegetables plucked from the back garden and prepared before the taste of sunshine has been lost. Growing vegetables can be easy and fun. There is a design for every space, whether it's a large country garden or pots of vegetables on the patio or balcony. With proper planning, soil preparation, sufficient water and plenty of sunshine you can get plenty of vegetables out of any garden space.
Wide-Row Vegetable Gardening
Plants that grow close together keep the weeds from creeping in. When the seeds are planted closer than the directions call for, the individual plants won't bear as much produce, but there will be so many more plants that the harvest volume will be greater. That's a lot more vegetables grown in the same area.
Growing vegetables in wide rows also allows for the plants to shade each other. This is especially important for cool-weather crops like spinach, peas and lettuce as it extends the growing season into the hot summer months.
Vegetables have different growth rates. Some, like beets, grow rapidly in the spring and are ready to be harvested while a later crop like broccoli is just getting started. When planted together, the same space produces two crops. The broccoli will take over the space that's left from the recently harvest beets. This technique is called double cropping or intercropping.
Baby carrots and onions leave space for lettuce. Slower-growing carrots can grow as much as needed in a space originally used to grow radishes. Cauliflower, cabbage and Brussels sprouts will not suffer a lack of space if they share the early growing season with early vegetables. In fact, these early vegetables will keep the weeds from creeping in and choking off the valuable later-season veggies.
Vine produce like squash, cucumbers and melons can take up a lot of room, and many gardeners short on space don't plant them as a result. Just as beans and peas grow upward on supports, the same techniques can be used with other garden plants. Heavy vegetables will need a supporting sling and sturdy vertical supports. A garden trellis can be made of bamboo poles or lathe stakes. Some of the vertically grown plants will automatically twine around the support while others may have to be tied. The plants will also shade nearby plants, to plan accordingly. Vertical gardens also tend to need additional watering as they dry out easier.