Planning help

atcfoodyMarch 16, 2008

My wife and I recently bought our first house, and we want to plant a kitchen garden in the back yard. The plan is for 6 raised beds, each with a variety of vegetables, flowers and herbs. I would like to find a way to arrange everything so there will be a minimal need for pesticides and fertilizers.

So what I really need is a layout plan. What are combinations of plants that work and grow well together, while also providing "protection" from pests? Tomatoes and Basil work well together, while Marigolds often deter pests (so I'm told). Can I put them all in the same bed, and what else can I put in there? All totaled, we plan on growing about 20 different vegetables and about as many herbs. Where do I start?

Thanks,

David

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southshoregardener(z7 NY)

My advice based on my experience is to plant intensively (less weeding), grow plants that will attract beneficial insects, rotate crops and use lots of compost. I never used pesticides or fertilizers. I did not always have great luck against certain pests like the squash vine borer, but for the most part I had great yields for most veggies. As far as a layout plan, let your imagination go. There are alot of books with plans and they may give you some inspiration. I always planted basil with my tomatoes, marigolds around the perimeter. Allysum is also a great edging plant and will attract beneficials. You can probably check out some of my earlier postings for my designs. Good luck.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2008 at 7:33PM
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kjggames(z9/10, sunset16)

my two cents,

Build soil first. Get all of your mulches, composts, and whatnot in your raised beds, and let it "stew" for awhile. Let the worms and birds till and fertilize it for you. Watch the sun as it crosses over your garden. When is what in shade? What kind of birds come by? What kind of insects seem to set up shop?

Personally, I have no use for "design". Every year I change just about everything in my garden. Heck, a year and a half ago I built a couple of 4x8 redwood raised bed boxes to use, but because I STILL haven't come up with the perfect place for them, they still sit where they were built, waiting for that perfect "permanent" (hack! cough) location.

As for companion planting, yeah, you can do it with a varitey of plants, but do you really want your vegi/herb garden taken over by flowers because they may help you with a problem you may not have? For example, Marigolds help control nemotodes, unless you don't have nemotodes, then they are just taking up space...unless you like them of course, but still you shouldn't put them in your raised beds if you don't need to. All that perfect soil you will build will do wonders on its own when it comes to problem solving, or better yet, problem avoidance.

Thank you, thank you very much,
Ken

    Bookmark   March 17, 2008 at 10:04PM
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farmer_at_heart

Two good books to try are Square Foot Gardening and Carrots Love Tomatoes. I have used both with great success.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2008 at 9:26AM
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