How to create a vegetable garden does not have to be difficult there are a host of online programmes to assist in your planning. It can be bewildering and some people are looking for a quick fix for the perfect garden others are prepared to put the effort in to create there dream veg patch but at the end of the day as with everything in life I'm afraid you get out what you put in. Here is some of our best advice that will help you create a good vegetable garden that can give you a crop worthy of any organic market.
Many people when they first start there garden go in head over heels trying to grow every piece of veg imaginable in the first year. But this is just a first class ticket to disappointment and eventually make you give up. An experienced gardener will tell you the amount to learn and maintain will quickly become a full-time job. Start off with a list of veggies you like or want to grow then narrow them down to the best tasting or most expensive in the shops to buy these are the start of your self-sustainable food source.
Try to create new beds each year as your knowledge and skill sets grow, Like your plants, it will get better each year and soon you can adapt what you have learnt into other garden types like flower beds, lawns etc. Start by creating good workable sized paths that are not to narrow or awkward to navigate carrying garden tools and the like. Use materials like wood chip and gravel or even paving but the first two are the most cost-effective and quickest to use. Whatever you use be sure to use a weed suppressant fabric underneath them as this will save you a big headache of maintaining them in the future.
If you are creating a new garden there it is important to decide what style of bedding you will use such as raised, sunken etc. A general rule is that the beds should be around 1.2m wide and as long as required try and keep a path between each one as this will give you easy access to the beds when gathering or working on your crops. Raised beds are a good idea if you have back problems or particularly poor drainage as these have natural drainage properties via the design.
It is important to lay your potential crops with some sort of thought this is called "companion planting". The main principles are for irrigation, pest control and insect attraction all having a massive impact on your plants for good and bad if not correctly considered. Try mixing plants up a little to confuse pests as large areas of the same plant and be a banquet to certain creatures and it will get perpetually worse as they work through the bed. There is an exception to this if you need to give special protection to groups of plants like broccoli and cabbages, for example, these may be grown together under a polytunnel or netting to keep caterpillars at bay.
Grow insectary plants that attract beneficial insects like ladybirds for green/black fly control and other helpful creatures. Thes naturally control pests and are an organic cost-free alternative to traditional pesticides. the size of plants can also be helpful aiding in shading certain plants that do not like too much sunshine.
Plants such as tomatoes, aubergine, peppers etc are some of the fussiest you can grow so reserve the best sunny spots in the garden for these and plan them in first as these are the high value to most growers considerations. #place these against south-facing walls if possible on the sunny side as this will help guarantee a bumper crop. Plants that spread out vines such as melons, squash etc these will need to be grown at the edge of the veg patches so they don't smother other plants this will allow them to spread across paths and other unplanted areas if needed. Anything that grows up like runner beans and peas will need support when they get to a certain height. Ensure these are not situated near plants that need lots of sun, as these can get quite big over time. Some plants don't thrive in dry conditions like onions and strawberries etc. Place these in the lowest parts of the garden as this will naturally be the moistest areas of your patch. Crops that will be harvested regularly like herbs and salad items will need to be placed in the most accessible areas and even in planters or pots near the entrance to the garden, this will also help keep slug control easier.
If you are short on space try succession planting this is where you can grow new crops in the space of ones that have finished there life cycle. If you need more detail about this Wikipedia gives a great article here. Our last point is not to overcrowd the temptation to jam pack plants into every piece of soil is strong when you want to get a bigger crop but this will only hinder your growth. Seeds and seedling look small but will grow so always allow space.
In conclusion, a well planned and planted garden will maximise your harvest but remember there are limits to the growth potential of your plants. Even plants grown in the very best conditions with the top of the line soil will only crop a certain amount. You will need to be realistic with your aspirations because unless you have an allotment size garden you will not get a crop akin to a production line.
It’s worth remembering that these aren’t a hard and fast set of rules. The art is in using these guiding principles to design something that’s uniquely your garden and, with experience, that becomes a very satisfying and enjoyable process.