Planning your Garden

By Cynthia Averett, VINES Urban Farm Manager


Before the season begins, having a plan for your garden can help you get the best harvest. You want to make sure that you’re getting the most out of the space that you have.

So what goes into planning a garden? First, decide what you want to grow! Next, consider how much space each plant needs. Planting too close together means your plants will be competing for space, and planting them too far apart can feel like you’re wasting growing space.

Big plants like tomatoes, peppers, and squash will need 18-36 inches of space, while smaller plants like lettuce, kale, and other greens will only need 6-12 inches of space.

Last season we talked about the square foot gardening method. This is a great and simple way to plan a garden. You can separate your garden into square foot sections, and use those grids to determine how much space you need for each plant – for instance, lettuce will need one square to grow, and tomatoes would need 4 squares. Here is an article that explains this well if you are interested in more details.

You should also consider how much light each plant needs – you want to put your sun loving plants in the sunniest spots in your garden. Keep in mind how tall your plants will get as well – if you plant a tall tomato plant next to a short lettuce plant, your tomato might shade the lettuce plant behind it.

If you’re new to gardening, figuring out where to put your plants can seem intimidating, but don’t worry! Reading your seed packets will tell you how much space and light your plants will need, and taking a little time to make a plan for your plants will make sure you get the best harvest! Happy planting!