How to Space Vegetables on A Raised Garden Bed
If you've ever been confused when trying to determine how to space vegetables on a raised garden bed, don't give up hope. There is a way to space food crops in almost any possible location!
About vegetable spacing
The ability to balance water, nutrition, sunlight and space is essential for growing vegetables. When plants are crowded in an enclosed area, they will naturally compete for these resources. In nature, some plants, especially trees, have evolved to release chemicals into the soil to inhibit the growth or germination of other plants nearby.
In your home garden, overcrowding can lead to smaller or no fruit, weaker plants, and more pests and diseases. If there is not enough air circulation in a narrow space, fungal diseases are particularly easy to reach adjacent vegetables.
Tips for plant spacing of raised garden bed
When you pick up the seed package, you will find that the back or inside of the package usually contains information about vegetables, such as soil ph, seed sowing depth, sunlight requirements, and the distance between each plant and its neighbors. If you are using containers or raised garden beds to grow your garden, you may be deterred by spacing recommendations. I have seen corn buns with a recommended row spacing of three feet, which is impossible for me, because that is the entire width of my raised garden bed!
These seed packages have row spacing requirements, because in commercial agriculture, farmers need to be able to drive machines through their fields to plow, sow, water and harvest. For ordinary family vegetable gardeners, planting in wide rows does not make much sense. Don't throw away your seed bag, because it still contains other valuable information, but you can follow the tips below to combine multiple ideas and customize your own garden.
Choose your seed carefully
If space is the limiting factor of a vegetable garden, your first step should be to list what you want to plant, and carefully select the varieties that are suitable for containers or raised garden beds. For example, you may not be able to grow all types of wax gourds because they tend to spread on the ground and take up a lot of space. However, you can choose smaller shrubs such as acorn pumpkin. Planting decisive tomato varieties may be more meaningful than planting uncertain varieties. For example, tinytim tomato is a kind of short cherry tomato, which can reach 24 inches in width and height when mature, and is a rich producer.
You also do not need to harvest plants when they are fully mature. Peas can harvest both pods and buds. Beets like the popular early miracle varieties have edible leaves and taste like beets. Radish and green vegetables are very valuable in some delicacies. You can plant many fruits or root bearing vegetables specially for their vegetables, and sow the seeds more closely than other ways. By proposing new ideas for using crops, you can significantly increase the productivity of each bed.
If you want to put your raised garden bed garden on the super drive, you can also choose the early maturing variety. The earlier varieties need fewer days to mature than the later varieties. Lettuce is usually famous for its fast growth, but even in this family, it has a wide range. Butter lettuce can be harvested in 30 to 40 days, while Bibu lettuce can take up to 70 days. Many varieties are named for this attribute, including the aforementioned early miracle beet, early Xtra sweet corn, early Vienna white turnip, early snowball cauliflower, etc.
Build graves to increase surface area
Small space gardening is not only about the width and length of the raised garden bed, but also about the depth of the bed and the amount of vertical space you can create on the top of the raised garden bed. Earth mound is a method to increase the depth of the bed without further excavation of the soil.
Potato is a typical vegetable. As it grows, it will gradually accumulate more soil or compost. Potatoes form along the stem. You can create more surface area for plants to produce crops by following the stem pile and covering some lower leaves.
Apply square foot garden technology
Typical square foot garden use 4 × 4-foot raised garden bed with clearly marked 12 × 12 inch grid, three to four feet between each bed. The size of the bed is designed so that the typical gardener can reach out and take care of the plants behind.
He specified that there should be clear and permanent reference lines every 12 inches to create visible grid templates. Each square can be further divided into four, nine or sixteen smaller squares, each of which will contain a plant. Mel tried hard to try different flowers and vegetables, and finally found the best spacing for them without affecting productivity.
Of course, different plants have different spacing requirements. For example, a cabbage requires an entire square foot to produce a full-size head. Swiss beets, on the other hand, can grow four to one square foot, and so on. His schoolbag contains useful guidelines for common vegetables, as well as a general chart of when to sow, sow indoors, and transplant seedlings outdoors. We like this book so much that it is on our top garden list!
If you have oval or round raised garden beds, you may want to skip these rows completely.
Some of the advantages of using round or oval raised garden beds are that they can be reached from all sides and have a beautiful appearance. Keeping the perimeter of the two raised garden beds the same, the surface area of the round bed will be larger than that of the rectangular bed.
When planting round or oval beds, you need to consider the perimeter of the shape and the concentric rings radiating from the center. For example, plant the vegetables or perennials with the longest maturity in the middle, surrounded by vegetables you will harvest more frequently. Using compost or soil to pile up the center can form a dome shape, creating more surface area in your raised garden. Similarly, you can add a cage or trellis in the center of the round bed to grow beans, peas, tomatoes and other vine crops.
Another way to space plants in a round or oval bed is to stagger them. For example, if you are planting carrots and the seed package specifies a 16 inch row spacing and a 2 inch plant spacing, ignore the row spacing completely and use only the plant spacing as a guide. Stagger the carrots into diamonds so that each carrot is 2 inches away from the nearest carrot. Repeat this interlacing pattern on the growing surface to optimize your space.
Broadcast your green leafy vegetables
For beginners, a common problem is to let all kinds of plants mature at the same time. By using different sowing and harvesting techniques, you can extend the growing season, increase crop yields and reduce food waste.
For green leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale, try planting the seeds on the growth surface, and then use the cutting and reuse method to harvest only a few outer leaves at a time instead of the whole head. In this way, the plant will continue to produce leaves from its center, and over time, you can get a greater total harvest. As an additional reminder, if you plant a bag of mixed vegetables, you will also get different tastes, colors and textures in the salad each time you harvest them.
Planting Successors for Success
Continuous planting is another technology to improve garden productivity. Instead of planting all the seeds or grafts at the same time, plant them several weeks apart so you can stagger the harvest.
For early vegetable varieties that mature quickly, such as beans or radishes, you should be able to plant them many times throughout the season. Sometimes it may be worthwhile to uproot older plants and transplant new seedlings to ensure that all plants are produced in optimal conditions.
Setting up an indoor growth light system to start plants from seeds and prepare them for transplanting into your garden bed is a best practice to maintain continuous planting. You may also want to improve the soil with additional compost between successive planting to supplement nutrients and promote the total harvest per area.
Intercropping and multicasting are two other ways to increase garden yield. Interplanting technology is used to add early maturing plants between long season crops to obtain higher yield in the same space. For example, shallow rooted vegetables such as spinach and green onions can be grown next to chilies or corn that take longer to mature.
You can also try the multi sow technology for some vegetables, in which you transplant a cluster of seedlings and harvest the largest one from the cluster, providing expansion space for the remaining plants. This technology is applicable to vegetables such as beetroot and leek.
Take it to a higher altitude
Creating a trellis is another good way to increase the surface area of a raised garden bed. Another advantage of training plants to grow vertically rather than spreading along the ground is that it can prevent soil borne diseases from entering fruits or leaves and improve overall air circulation.
Plants especially suitable for growing on the trellis include tomatoes, beans, cucumbers, pumpkins and even melons! In my own courtyard, I used this method to create a beautiful and edible green wall as a privacy fence. I really like planting scarlet running beans, because their bright red flowers also attract pollinators and hummingbirds to my garden. My vegetable garden has many uses based on food production, and the lattice system is an integral part of landscape design.
The trellis can also create a canopy to shade the vegetables below. For example, as part of your early spring garden, you might want to plant some hardy varieties of peas and lettuce. However, many lettuce are not heat-resistant and will be tied up in summer. As the season changes, peas will climb onto the trellis to provide some shade on the lettuce to help extend the harvest.
The weather plays a huge role in the production of the garden. For those of us who live in a cold climate, we can extend our growing season by adding a cold frame to the raised garden bed.
The cold frame can be as simple as using some plywood or PVC pipes with plastic sheets to form a protective barrier on plants. The plastic captures the heat from the sun, creates a warmer microclimate on the raised garden bed, and makes some hardy vegetables grow long after the first frost. Plant varieties such as Winter Spinach Giant or Marsh are an important supplement to winter gardens.
Choose the right partner
Companion planting is to plant a variety of plants adjacent to each other to help improve the harvest, manage pests, use space more effectively or increase aesthetic value. A classic combination is to plant marigold next to tomatoes, because marigold can prevent root knot nematodes and other garden pests. In general, adding flowers or letting some of your vegetables bloom may be a good way to attract pollinators to your garden. In addition, flowers can add beautiful colors to the original green patches and add vitality to your overall garden design.
Spicy vegetables in Allium, such as onions and chives, can also be planted with other vegetables to mask their odor from potential garden pests. In the raised garden bed and container garden, you can bring your companions close to each other and plant them wherever you can see free space.
On the other hand, avoid planting too many plants from the same family, such as designated Brassica garden beds. Members of this family, including collards, cabbage and brussels sprouts, are vulnerable to very similar pests and diseases. This bed will become a gold mine for cabbage!