Early spring is when people start thinking about what to grow in their gardens. Seeds are started, groomed for transplanting and then the magic happens. Size matters a lot in gardening. You don’t want to create a masterpiece that is impossible to take care off. For this reason people typically start small and expand a little each year until they feel confident that they can handle a larger garden. The great thing is plot gardening can actually help in all these areas. Read on to learn how plot gardening can save you time and maximize your harvest.
Plot Gardening for Beginners
If you are reading this it probably means you are new to plot gardening or at the very least you want a refresher course. Plot gardening means you map out your garden into blocks or large squares. Some people choose to use plywood to separate each square but most just use heavy gardening twine. There are a few that do raised beds for each square in the plot and they do well with this method, it’s really just about how much space, time and materials you have to build with.
You might be asking yourself why you should use the plot method. This method reduces the amount of space you need, it significantly improves correct planting and you can plant more in less space. Value for space rating is a good way to think of things. Use your space wisely for things you are going to eat. Leave room for one or two “experiments” each year so you try new things but don’t fill your garden with vegetables you are not even sure you are going to like. Nothing is worse than doing all that hard labor and discovering that you don’t like any of it. Experiment some but use the majority of your veggie space for things you know you like.
Prepare the soil. If your new plot is virgin soil, meaning it was recently covered in grass then you will need to dig deep and remove the top soil and replace with fresh gardeners soil. Here are some tips for prepping soil for a vegetable garden. You also must enrich the soil before planting anything. Use organic fertilizers, a nice rotting compost purchased from a nursery or your own compost from a aged compost pile that you created.
Set up the plot and section off using wood, twine or rope. If you plan to grow during the colder months you are going to want to set up a cold frame using PVC pipe and green house material. You might find your garden is attracting birds or other rodents. Use the PVC pipe frame you set up to cover in netting to keep those pests out.
Plan what you want to plant. Having a family meeting to discuss what, when and where you are going to plant is a good idea to do every year. If you have children they should be included in the discussion and they should be encouraged to help plan the fruits and vegetables you will grow. Having children decide your food future can be a little scary so give them as much control as you can comfortably allow but don’t be afraid to offer suggestions or alternatives. If little Johnny only wants to grow carrots and watermelon you are going to have to step in with some suggestions or starve.
Plan the layout of your garden. Use the Companion Plant Gardening method to plan which plants you plant near each other. You want to take int consideration, how much water the plants need, the type of soil they like, and if they can help provide best control for other plants when deciding which fruits and vegetables to plant next to each other.
More Gardening Tips
- How to Start Square Foot Gardening
- How to Make a Straw Bale Garden
- How to Make a Frugal Cloche
- Companion Plant Gardening
- Vegetable Container Gardening
- Tips for Attracting Bees to your Garden
- How to Make Fast and Easy Compost Pile Using Hay Bales
Emily is passionate about growing her own food, crafts, sewing, developmental disabilities and blogging. She holds a bachelors degree in psychology with a secondary in human development from Washington State University. She also holds an associates degree in horticulture from Clark College. You can often find her blogging over at Emily’s Frugal Tips, a frugal blog dedicated to teaching families how to live with more for less money.