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Help with plan layout

Posted by lexiegurl NC 8 (My Page) on
Wed, Feb 1, 12 at 9:39

Hi everyone,

I am starting sq ft gardening this year with 4 raised beds (1- 24'x4' and 3- 16'x4'). So far I have one bed for just tomatoes (24'x4'), a bed just for beans (16'x4'), a bed that is half squash and 2 pumpkin plants and the other half eggplant, celery, okra, and chives (16'x4' with okra at the north) and the last bed with half peppers and half tomatoes (16'x4'). Since I am using cinder blocks, all my root crops (onions, carrots, radish, beets, etc.) will be planted in the openings in the blocks.

Now the question is: I am trying to plant a spring garden with lettuce, broccoli, cabbage, collards, kale, etc. I know lettuce can be pretty much planted with anything so I planned on planting it in the all tomato bed, so that way the lettuce will be picked before the tomatoes get too big. Can I also plant my cabbage and broccoli and kale in the same box as the tomatoes, or would they be better suited somewhere else? I've read in some places cabbage and broccoli can be planted with tomatoes and others it can't, so I'm not sure what to do. Thanks for your help!!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Help with plan layout

I don't have a layout, but I've learned from your post. I'm thinking about concrete blocks too. Was thinkiing of taking apart palettes to use, but I am rethinking because it might be more work than it is worth.


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RE: Help with plan layout

I'm a little confused. Are you putting tomatoes in EVERY square in your 6 X 24 bed? Usually one puts all the vining plants along the north side of a bed, only one square deep. That means 12-24 tomato plants staked, twined or trellised in the furtherest row on the north side. Then you will have all the other squares in front of it for other plants like cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, bush beans, spinach, carrots, basil, collards, etc.
Beans....again if they are pole beans plant them only along the outermost north side of the box. You can plant bush beans anywhere since they only grow about 2 ft tall.
Your brassicas (cabb, broc, etc) will do fine planted near tomatoes. They like one another.
With Okra in your plan, I'm thinking you are a southern gardener. Planting in those cinder blocks will mean lots of watering will be needed. The cinder blocks soak up the heat of the sun a lot and the soil will dry out quickly so plant cooler crops early and get them harvested soonest.


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RE: Help with plan layout

Sorry for the confusion. My 4' x 24' bed is just for tomatoes with 2 ft spacing like this:
T---T---T
--T---T--

So essentially, each tomato will have 2 ft all around except diagonally, which will be 1 ft distance. Confusing, I know. I will try to figure out how to post an actual diagram later tonight.

Yes, I'm in the south (NC) lol :). I was planning to do succession crops. For example planting the broccoli, lettuce, cabbage, etc. in the empty squares in the box of just tomatoes. BUT I was going to plant the brassicas at the end of Feb, then the tomatoes won't go in until early-mid April. So hopefully all my brassicas will be ready to harvest before the tomatoes get too big. Yeah, watering is a big issue here no matter how I garden, whether raised beds or in ground because we have been having very dry summers lately. Last year though I grew my melons and cukes in raised beds made out of wood and they did much better than my tomatoes and beans planted in the ground. So that's why I'm trying this way now *fingers crossed* although I may still be lacking in hours of sunlight. If so, I will be taking down trees for next year lol. Currently in the summer I will probably get 2-3 hours morning sun followed by shade and then another 3-4 hours of sun in the afternoon. (So about 6-7 hours total). Not sure how much exactly though because we cut down a tree and trimmed another one in Sept. so the real test will be this summer.

Also, for my pole beans... the way my beds are laid out the shorter (4' side) is on the north, so I was planning on putting my pole beans on the 4' north side and the 20' west side. Will that work as far as sunlight is concerned? Thanks for all the help!!!


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RE: Help with plan layout

I grew some staked tomatoes on the west side last year because I didn't have room anywhere else and they did fine. As long as they don't shade any plants on the other side of them, they should do just fine.
I still think a full bed of tomatoes is going to give you problems in caring for them and harvesting them. Too much greenery in your face and what about the trellising or stakes. They'll impede the garden care if they are growing in the middle of the bed. It'll be a jungle in the middle rows.
I've heard that 6-8 hrs of sun a day is all that is needed to have a great garden so you should do well.


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RE: Help with plan layout

Here is a link to my layout. It is having problems loading on my computer (if a pop-up box comes up, I hit no then it loads fine). I have root crops but they will be grown in the squares of the cinder blocks. I have labeled the north side, and the west side of everything is on the right side of the page. All beans highlighted in yellow are runners and the bed with the beans is the westernmost bed, so the trellis on the west side will be on the western most place of the entire garden. Also, the tomato/lettuce bed is in a different area of the yard from the other three beds. Feel free to let me know how I can rearrange anything to make it work better as this is my first year really attempting SFG. Thank you!!!

Here is a link that might be useful: My garden layout


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RE: Help with plan layout

lexiegurl you plan is very confusing since you did not denote the box sizes or how many plant per square


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RE: Help with plan layout

Ok, I redid my boxes and got google docs figured out. Let me know what you think of this layout. The empty spaces around the squash and tomatoes are so they have 2 square feet per plant(s). Ex. Born Free Hybrid Squash (2) with empty space below= 2 squash in 2 square ft. Thank you for any feedback!!

Here is a link that might be useful: SFG Layout


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RE: Help with plan layout

I have to agree with Quiltbea on the tomatoes. With your dimensions being 4' wide, I think you will have trouble pruning and most of all harvesting your tomatoes that are on the inside of the bed, since you will not be able to walk around your plants, it may cause problems. I also see the pumpkings and squash placement being a problem once they get big, for example, leaning over the squash to get to your eggplants. The squash leaves get gigantic and are very prickily (ouch!). The pole beans are on the outside of the box, which will make it easy to harvest them, but how to get to the brush beans on the other side of the pole beans may be a difficult chore. I have a couple of beds that are 4' across and I have found getting to the middle part is troublesome. Leaning over and using both hands can be very painful on the back after a while. My beds are made of cinder blocks and love them. Moisture is not a problem for me, the concrete tends to hold the moisture than sucking the moisture out. I have only planted strawberries and nasturiums in the holes and they do very well. Good luck and it's all about expermenting.


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RE: Help with plan layout

Ok. This is my first time growing this many plants, so I'll have to see what I can do to rearrange... But I do have a question. I found an A-frame trellis online and was wondering if I could use this for my beans in a walkway. What I was thinking was instead of my pole beans being on the west side of the bed, put them on the east side of the bed make an A-frame trellis over the walkway from the west side of bed 3 to the east side of bed 4 and run beans and maybe a couple cukes up the trellis. I know this would help shead the walkway, but would this shade my bush beans too much that would be to the west of the a-frame trellis? Thanks!!


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RE: Help with plan layout

lexi you plan is still a great muddle and needs lots of work.


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RE: Help with plan layout

What suggestions would you recommend to help make it better other than not planting tomatoes so thickly??


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RE: Help with plan layout

have you built the bed already?


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RE: Help with plan layout

Yes, all the beds are already built. Also, just a side note, I built them this way to maximize my space with enough sun.


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RE: Help with plan layout

  • Posted by snibb Salt Lake City (My Page) on
    Mon, Feb 20, 12 at 16:35

quiltbea-I just saw a few posts of yours on the SFG site...you're all over the place in there....


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RE: Help with plan layout

Ok. I am just having such a hard time reducing the number of tomatoes I want to grow thanks to everyone's generousity and willingness to share seeds on this site. Anyway, how do yall think this will work...

Plan A) Can I do the two western most rows of two boxes with tomatoes. Quiltbea, where you said one usually just does one outermost row with tomatoes could I do 2? As in the outermost and the one directly in from it and then have 2 rows to the east empty (to fill with other things)? I would plant the tomatoes every other square foot in an alternating pattern of the two rows. Essentially take my plan above with my tomato box and imagine just doing that with half the bed instead of the whole thing.

Plan B) Put 36 tomato plants in the 96 square foot area in some kind of pattern, most likely 2 outermost rows of plants and one center row all in an alternating pattern.

I have about 50 tomato plants I want to plant total in a total of about 130-140 square feet. I just want it to work... *sigh* too many choices lol :) Thank you!!!


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RE: Help with plan layout

One advise that I would like to give you, that I do sometimes, and I know a lot of people do it. Experiment!! You may come up with a whole new concept.
I don't see why your A-frame won't work. I have cattle panels from one bed to the other. That gives me four sides to grow vegetables on. Last year I grew beans, pumpkin (small ones), and cucumbers. This year I am going to try tomatoes. Good luck and in a few years you will be a pro. :)


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RE: Help with plan layout

Lexigirl,

Living in central NC, you and I share the same growing conditions. My beds are larger 8' W X 16' L X 1' D. Although larger, the concept is the same.

One thing I do diffently, for the most part, is planting all of one vegetable type in the same beds [(Pink Girl Tomatos - Awesome replacement for German Johnsons as there is minimal waste)(Better Boy)(Sweet 100). I separate my tomatoe plants in a pattern much as you have.

I utilize a 2 X 4 built trellis on the long side of one of my beds for Cucumbers (Burpless). Combined in the same bed are various peppers (Bell, Sweet Banana, and Jalapenos).

Another bed is comprised of squash (Straight neck yellow, crooked neck yellow, and zuchini). This is on the same staggered planting as my tomatos, except a larger square footing for each plant. As you know, summer squash plants take up a lot of real estate.

I have found that grouping the same type of vegetable in the same bed makes it easier to harvest, versus having to reach over a taller plant to a shorter plant in the middle. In my situation, with large beds, that is a real benefit.

Just my two cents.


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