Designing a VH Garden

13 12 2009

Manage a vegetable and herb (VH) garden in a small piece of land is a rewarding task. When designing your VH garden, here are some tips to make it all just like flip your hand:

  1. Determine Reasons for the VH Garden: There are many reasons for growing a VH garden, including ornamental purposes and practical purposes such as self-sustenance and growing organic foods. Knowing why you want to grow a VH garden can help determine your design in terms of space, size and types of VH grown.  If you want it for ornamental purposes, the design might be to include a color schematic or theme.  Planting VH that flower or that bear some sort of color can brighten an otherwise dull landscape.  Some people grow a VH garden primarily for food, either to supplement the food they buy at the grocery store or because homegrown VH tend to be safer, especially when grown organically without the aid of harsh chemicals and pesticides.  If you want the garden for food, then the design might incorporate food or practicality themes.
  2. Sketch a Simple Layout: After determining your needs and wants, sketch a layout. When you sketch, keep in mind the size of the plants, how much total space you will need and any special considerations such as borders, mulching, landscape issues (rocks, trees, etc.) and whether you might add a container or two to your garden area. You don’t have to be an artist to sketch the garden area. You can use blank paper or graph paper for a more technical sketch. With the graph paper, designate one square as a set measurement and build from there. You may also consider using a garden design program. Just do a search on the Internet to find a garden design program that works for you.
  3. Determine Budget: Budget is always a factor; smaller or tighter budgets need more creativity in design. Container gardening or growing the garden from seed can save a lot of money. Determine how much money you can spend at the start and keep this in mind as you sketch your garden.
  4. Determine the Size and Space: When you design your VH garden, keep in mind how much space you have available. The sketch you did at the beginning should help with this step. Even apartment-dwellers can have a VH garden if they design it with a small space in mind. You will need space for the plants, but also space to move around the garden when you have to harvest or weed. After you have figured out how much space is available, then decide how big the garden should be. Some vegetables need a lot of space; for example, tomatoes and peppers need a lot more space than lettuce and herbs. Even herbs can sometimes grow to a large size. Determine the space limitations; if you don’t have a lot of space, consider raised bed and container gardening. Using containers to grow your VH doesn’t require the space that a conventional garden does.
  5. Type: After you’ve determined which VH you would like in the garden, design the garden around them. While most VH need lots of full sun, some need more shade. Design the garden with these preferences in mind. Most VH are annuals, which means they are planted once and will only produce once. Herbs are more likely to be perennial or biennial (also called biannual) but some vegetables, such as asparagus, last many seasons. This means they produce more than once each season and may last into more than one growing season. Keep in mind that the plant you grow may last many seasons.
  6. Climate and Season: Season and climate can affect design of your VH garden. Some VHs are better for warmer climates while some are better suited for cooler climates. Design of the VH garden should address this situation. For example, you could plant cooler weather plants that are quicker to grow, such as radish and peas, before the warmer weather plants, such as tomatoes and peppers. These cooler weather plants can be planted in the same space as the tomatoes and peppers because they mature before the tomatoes and peppers get a chance to start. Design your garden around your needs and desires and make this year’s VH garden a garden that you will love for years to come.
  7. Changes in Your Sketch: After you have carefully considered these factors, you may have to change your layout. Don’t worry if it’s not exactly as planned. Gardens change just as anything else. Be flexible in the planning, and as creative as you can in choice and layout.
  8. Call Your Friend: After all steps I explained above, you still have got nothing yet. Don’t give up, the last tips I give it to you is to call your friend who know about gardening. Particularly, your friends are a landscape architect who had graduated from Department of Landscape Architecture, Bogor Agricultural University, IPB. Or you just can ask me by this blog. Just remember, the practicing of VH garden is very simple. Each of you can do it!

If you have any problem, don’t hesitate to write down your question here…
Thank you!!



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