Newbie gardener needs help planning vegetable garden


I am trying to plan a small 5 x 2 ft raised vegetable bed. I don’t have much space but I’d like to grow at least some tomatos, peppers, beans, lettuce (2 types) and some squash in a square ft design. I don’t know how to fit this all in - isit too much, how many of each plant can I grow in a square ft and can you see any problems with my design?

Posted by: Natasha Jackson (2 points) Natasha Jackson
Posted: February 20, 2013

deactivated commented,
+1 for submitting an image with the design!
over 7 years ago.


Gardeners have developed many different strategies to maximize their yields from small spaces. For starters, think vertical! You can train "indeterminate" (climbing) tomato varieties and pole beans to grow up strings or trellises--perhaps along the back edge of your raised bed, especially if it abuts a wall to which you can attach your trellis.

Winter squash can climb on strong vertical supports, too, though if you have space outside the bed, you could plant your squash in a corner and let the vines run out over the ground. [If you want summer squash (zucchini, patty pan, etc.), try one or two plant of one of the dwarf (compact) varieties.

If you do grow vertically, make sure to map the path of the sun and plant accordingly, so your climbing plants don't shade the low-growing ones.

For your lettuces, try growing a mesclun mix (see photo). Scatter the seed fairly thickly across an entire 2-foot area. These mixes grow fast; within about three weeks, you can begin thinning the bed and pinching off the larger leaves for salads.

When choosing which varieties to plant, pay careful attention to the package directions, which should tell you how tall and wide the plants of that variety will grow, how many days to harvest, and the sorts of soil/environmental conditions the variety prefers.

Have you thought about the soil for your raised bed? How will you fertilize your crops? Learn to monitor them for pests and plant diseases? There's a lot to learn! But it's all fun.

Finally, many varieties of each of the crops you mention will grow well in containers (burlap bags, galvanized tubs, 5-gallon pails, plastic tubs, etc.) in case you want to spread out a bit.

Posted by: Peg Boyles (3 points) Peg Boyles
Posted: February 20, 2013

Natasha Jackson commented,
I never thought of using the space that way. I had not planned to have the bed against the fence so that I could walk right round but it is definately something I will consider. Construction will be starting soon I hope.
Thanks very much for your great advice. I really appreciate it.

over 7 years ago.

David Hughes commented,
Great answer Peg. Welcome to PlantVillage
over 7 years ago.

Another option for growing most edible plants (including your choices) in small areas is by using a new aeroponic vertical food growing system called Tower Garden, visible at: http://towergarden-sandiego.com. It does not need dirt or planting medium and grows vegetables, fruits and herbs 50% faster than in the ground.

Posted by: Deris Jeannette (2 points) Deris Jeannette
Posted: March 11, 2013

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