Cold Days are a Good Time to Plan your Garden
These cold winter days are great for planning a vegetable garden.
The first step is figuring out how big the garden should be. A quarter acre garden will feed a family of four for a year. That’s almost 11,000 square feet of garden and that’s a lot of work. The size of the garden can be defined by the amount of time and money you want to spend on the garden.
If you’re new to veggie gardening, start small. You can always add more area and plants. Start with a ten foot by ten foot garden. Or start with a few containers. Herbs, peppers, tomatoes and lettuce mixes can all be grown in containers.
Next pick the vegetables you like to eat to put in you garden. If you don’t eat turnips then don’t waste space on them. Use seed catalogs or garden books to guide how much space to allot for each type of veggie. In a small plot there may not be room for space hogs like potatoes or squash.
Mountain gardeners don’t have enough heat days to reliably grow peppers or tomatoes. The mountain garden space can grow peas, salad greens and broccoli. Root crops like carrots, onions, garlic and parsnips grow great in cool season gardens.
Draw out the garden on paper. Neat and tidy gardeners like straight rows. Generally orient the rows north to south. That maximizes the sunlight throughout the garden. Also plant taller plants or veggies that need a trellis on the north side of the garden. Then they won’t shade the other plants.
We aren’t neat and tidy so we mix up the veggies. We under-plant bush beans around the tomato cages. We plant lettuce mix with the peppers. The lettuce is harvested while the peppers grow bigger. We put two or three varieties of pole beans around the bean teepee to intermingle.
Think about the harvest when you’re drawing out the garden. Some veggies like cabbage get harvested once when the head is ripe. Eggplant will produce multiple fruit. You will need regular access to pick your eggplant in their prime. Pathways or stepping stones are a critical part of the garden.
Planning the veggie garden now produces a productive plot. It’s also a great way to pass the time on a frigid day.