How to Plan the Right Size Garden
If you’re new to gardening, you may be wondering how much space you will need to dedicate to this new adventure. Planning the right size garden for your needs and goals is an important step in making your home garden dreams a reality.
It’s important to plan ahead so that you can determine what size will be manageable for you, personally, while also providing enough space for the crops you want to grow. We recommend starting small, around 75-100 square feet, and slowly adding to your garden as you gain experience and confidence in your gardening skills.
Note: You will need about 200 square feet of garden space per person to feed someone year-round. Therefore, a family of 4 will need about an 800 square-foot garden.
Consider the following when you are planning out the right size garden for you:
Do you want to plant in the ground, raised beds, or in containers?
We recommend planting directly in the ground, however, depending on your unique circumstances, raised beds or containers might be a better option for you.
In the ground. Planting in the ground is the traditional method and usually works well for most people. Here are a few pros and cons to consider:
- In-ground beds require less watering because they won’t dry out as quickly as raised beds and containers.
- Your garden will be easier to irrigate.
- This option is financially economical and requires less start-up work.
- Crops can easily be replaced in an in-ground garden.
- The soil on your property might be contaminated or may contain too much clay, silt, or rock.
- Crops planted in the ground are more prone to pests and weeds.
Raised Beds. Raised beds have become popular lately and come with their own unique set of pros and cons:
- The garden looks neater.
- You can use different types of soil in each bed, depending on the crops you are growing.
- The bottom of the beds can be screened to keep pests out.
- Working in beds require less bending and may be easier for those with disabilities.
- They cost money to build vs. planting directly in the ground.
- They require more watering.
- You will probably have to purchase soil to fill the beds with.
- The growth of roots is limited to the bed.
Containers. Containers are a good option for beginners because they are easy to keep weed-free, don’t usually take up much space, and are usually portable. However, there are negatives to consider: containers dry out quickly, are more vulnerable to cold weather, limit the growth of roots, and limit how much you can grow.
Perhaps thinking of a greenhouse or coldframe? Here's a bit more information to help you decide.
Which crops do you plan to start with?
When you’re just starting out, we recommend planting 3-5 vegetables. Cucumbers, green beans, peas, peppers, squash, and tomatoes are easy to begin with.
Consider how much each plant will yield when you are determining how many crops to plant.
Note: Blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries are good fruits for beginners because they are easy to grow and don’t require much space.
Need seeds? Try some of these collections and seed varieties!
How much spacing will you need between plants?
Spacing is very important if you want a healthy, flourishing garden. Every plant is unique and will have different spacing requirements. Research the plants you want to grow to determine how much space you will need for each one. Here are the spacing requirements within a row for some of the plants we mentioned above:
- Cucumbers – 3-5 ft apart
- Green Beans – 6 inches apart
- Peas – 2-3 inches apart
- Peppers – 1.5 ft apart
- Raspberries – 1.5-2 ft apart
- Strawberries – 1-1.5 ft apart
- Squash – 15 inches apart
- Tomatoes – 2+ ft apart
Keep in mind that each row of plants may need to be 3-6 ft apart.
Tip: Sketch out a plan for your garden before you start digging!
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