Twitter Facebook Email Subscribe

Vegetable Garden Plans
How much room will get you HOW many vegetables?!

I hate waking up.  Whenever I see a television commercial where some fresh faced woman sits up in bed at 6 a.m. grinning and stretching  like the very idea of jumping out of bed to meet the glorious day is the best part of her life, I want to kill her.  I understand she’ll be rewarded with  a) a glass of orange juice b) a cup of Folgers or c) the delight of knowing her tampon didn’t leak all night but still …. none of those things warrants a lobotomy grin.

When I used to fight traffic and drive 2 hours into work every morning, waking up meant slumping in the general direction of the floor, angrily putting my feet down and swearing.  Often the f word.  Out loud.  I’d then look back at the warm, dark bed with tears in my eyes and promise I’d jump right back in the very second I got home.  No bathing, no eating, just sleeping.

Now that I make my own schedule, nothing has changed.  It seems no matter what time I get out of bed or what lies ahead of me … I’m angry about it.  It doesn’t last long, but for those first few minutes upon waking … you don’t want to annoy me.  And by  “annoy” I mean exist.

But yesterday was different.  Yesterday I woke up knowing I was going to organize and plant my vegetable garden.  And I was a grinning, lobotomized idiot the second I woke up.  Truth is, whenever I have a huge project ahead of me I’m like the orange juice commercial girl in the morning.  (unless you count months 2 and 3 of building the chicken coop)

 

Planting my garden was made infinitely easier by using a tool I found online at Mother Earth News.

What I found there was a Vegetable Garden Planner. And it’s the most brilliant thing I’ve ever seen or used. Next to hair conditioner. Or as we said when I was 5, Cream Rinse.

The garden planner allows you to pick where you live in the world and the program does the rest from there. It’s basically graph paper that you can configure to be the size of your garden. The top of the program has a huge list of vegetables to drag and drop wherever you want them in your garden. It even automatically shows you how much space that plant will take up and how many you can plant in your specific space, and when to plant them!

The program is free for 30 days, then it’s a cost of $25. Worth every penny.

 

 

My Front Yard Vegetable Garden Plans

 

 

I’ve chosen to plant using a lesser known planting method called Square Foot Gardening.  Instead of planting your crops in rows, you do everything in a variety of one square foot plots.  How much you put in each square depends on how big the plant is.  The Mother Earth News Garden Planner allows you to choose whether you want to use square foot gardening.  All you do is click on the vegetable you want up at the top  of the page, drag it down to your space and the program automatically tells you how many of those particular vegetables can be planted into that square foot.  The bigger the vegetable the less you can put in the square foot.

For instance you can plant one tomato, 9 beets or 4 turnips in one square foot.

Using the square foot method of gardening lets you harvest a lot more than the standard row planting.  You can really smash a lot of plants into a very limited space. So if you want a garden but only have a 4′ x 4′ area, don’t be discouraged. You can get a huge amount out of that little space.

 

 And that’s just the first planting!  Many of the cool weather plants listed can be succession planted or planted again in mid summer for a fall harvest.  If you’re in Southern Ontario and you’d like to start planting right now.  Well damnit, you can.

People seem to think you can’t start planting anything until it’s warm out, but there are many things that can be planted out even when frost is still likely.

These cool weather crops include peas, carrots, lettuces, Kale, Beets, Asparagus, Onions, Radishes, Parsnips, Spinach, Kale and Swiss Chard.  These are all planted and sprouting in my front yard vegetable garden right now.  Many of them will be planted again later in the summer, doubling my crop size for those particular plants.

The more tender plants like tomatoes, squash etc. will wait until a later date to make their garden debut.

Next week I’ll reveal my complete front yard vegetable garden makeover.  For  now.  It’s back to bed.  You know … the vegetable bed.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
79 Comments | Filed Under: Outdoor | Tags: ,

79 Responses to Vegetable Garden Plans
How much room will get you HOW many vegetables?!

  1. Melissa says:

    We started square foot gardening for the first time this year and guess what, we used that same program. I happily forked over my $25. Love the program with only a few minor usability complaints. Still, worth every penny! We have 308 squares at last count. I did not realize a jalapeño plant would produce so much. Sounds like we’re going to have about 1500 peppers between the yellow hot peppers, jalapeño and habanero plants we have. LOL. We have 3 tomatillos too and I’ve read they are heavy producers but I’ve no idea what to expect there for total yield. Good luck with your garden!

    • Langela says:

      I learned that if you want more heat to your peppers, they need no fertilizer and little water. The more water and fertilizer they get, the sweeter they will be. Just thought I’d pass that along.

  2. Carly H. says:

    If only I had this sooner! My boyfriend and I JUST planted the garden on Sunday, and I’m pretty sure we didn’t maximize our space as well as you…

  3. Tanya Stewart says:

    I so wish i was your neighbor…i would try to sneak some beets while you sleep…lol

  4. Jenny says:

    I use a modified square foot system in a raised bed. Last year’s was 4×8 and this was result: http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y271/jennylives/DSC_0885.jpg
    http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y271/jennylives/DSC_0009.jpg

    The tomatoes did come from a separate area. The raised bed contained peas, bush beans, red onions, green onions, yellow onions, romaine lettuce, bell pepper and a zucchini. I had containers for garlic in front and potatoes planted behind.

  5. Valerie says:

    The whole plan really looks quite fabulous.
    You may need more room for the asparagus as it will spread and in a few years you may need to relocate the peas and zucchini areas. Adding a scarecrow would be a nice touch….get a blonde wig for the scarecrow…and the crows will be impressed that you are out there 24 hours a day.

    • Karen says:

      Valerie – I plan to rotate everything every year. Well … that’s the plan anyway. Except for the asparagus obviously. I’m willing to take out everything to make room for asparagus. :) ~ karen

  6. Jenny says:

    And the expansion this year as I take over every inch of lawn I can get away with. http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y271/jennylives/Gardening/DSC_0316.jpg

    The main bed contains peas, red onions, purple carrots, orange carrots, romaine lettuce, bell peppers, Swiss chard, spinach and a rogue garlic. Two potato boxes behind surrounded by Scarlet runner beans with another smaller raised bed in front with mesclun, green leaf lettuce and bush beans. Tomatoes are in another area with mostly Brandywines. I am in the Okanagan, I planted on April 21st this year.

  7. jo says:

    I have been a square foot gardener for 15 years now. Only way to grow. You are going to love it. Congratulations on your new adventure!

  8. Amber says:

    Thank you! I just KNEW there had to be a garden planning tool like this and was poking around the Internet unsuccessfully… Until now. So happy!

  9. J9 says:

    I do not have a green thumb (more like a black thumb of death) but I am enjoying reading about your venture. Also, I too become very angry upon waking up, which only gets worse with every passing day that I do it. I thought it was abnormal to have that emotion, so I’m glad I’m not alone. K…back to bed.

  10. Susan says:

    Thanks for the map! I will try not to disturb you when I raid your plot! Tee Hee! Looking good! :-)!

  11. mimiindublin says:

    And by ”annoy” I mean exist.
    LOVE it! I’m exactly the same, so it’s great to know I’m not alone.
    I stupidly moved my lettuces out on saturday, they’re looking very limp and sodden cos it hasn’t stopped raining since then.
    I think I’ve proven that lettuce CAN get too much rain!

  12. Amanda says:

    wow I need to plant… trying out bag gardening as I rent my house… I am not worried about the neighbors laughing at all the bags on my lawn as I am hoping they all think that I have finally gone over the edge LOL Ha Ha!!

  13. Deborah says:

    Awesome, awesome, awesome! Muchas gracias for the website! That is SO FRIGGEN COOL! :) thanks for tuning me into that program, I am now officially a grinning, lobotomized garden fanantic :D Oh, and yes, watch out for the jalapeno and serrano plants, they will easily produce over a hundred each plant (especially the serranos), I was inundated with peppers from 4 serrano plants last year and pickled sooooo many peppers! and I am down to my last jar now though, so obviously not enough! :D

  14. mary c says:

    Cream rinse. I am still chuckling over that. And likely will be all day. Thanks-a-mucho.

  15. Kim Merry says:

    I am using the square foot gardening also. We have been having nice weather for about a month now so I planted my lettuce early and I will be able to pick some this week!!!! I also planted potatoes on St. Patrick’s day and they are looking great! I planted them in a old metal trash can and a big leaf bag, you just keep adding soil as the plant grows and they are supposed to keep producing potatoes all the way to the top. I will let you know how this works out!

  16. Gettinby says:

    I forgot that we called it cream rinse. Even crazier, I live in Texas. I wonder why I stopped calling it that…

  17. ev says:

    Super organized! Wish we had had that program years ago when we gardened big time. Still might do the square foot thing. It has been around a long time. Like me! Thanks Karen. Oh, and I too do not wake up as a social human. Never did. Grrrrrrr….

  18. ev says:

    Oh, and how will you keep the squash well behaved? We are going to plant hubbard squash this year and wonder how we will keep it confined. Whip and a chair maybe?

    • Karen says:

      I’m a bit worried about that to be honest. But I’ll reveal my plan for the squash next week. ~ karen!

    • muttering says:

      i was wanting to plant hubbard squash (i have the seeds) but i’ve never even seen one! what is the plant like? big and bushy like a yellow squash? or huge and viney like pumpkins? and whats the veg like itself? i hear its big.

      • Karen says:

        Muttering – A hubbard squash is big and huge with a skin so thick you need a saw to get through it. Stick with a butternut or acorn squash if you ask me. ~ karen!

  19. Barbie says:

    My neighbor has a sq foot garden and has a tiny little area compared to us! We have 3000 sq feet!!! I SWEAR her garden is so much PRETTIER! and produces an amazing amount of veggies! I’m thinking I may try this method if I can talk my husband and 88yr old Uncle to go along with me on it. (my 88 yr old Uncle may be a hard one to convince) He does most of the planting and maintaining and he is “old school” we will see! I am so excited to see your sprouts when they come up. LOVE your new front yard idea! Can’t wait to see more photos! :)

  20. Sandy says:

    This is good to know! Thanks so much.

  21. Brian says:

    “Veggies by Karen” roadside store? I get royalties from the name!:)

    • Karen says:

      Brian – I’m fine with that, as long as you don’t mind being paid in jalapeno peppers. ~ karen!

  22. Jeanne says:

    I am impressed. I am a flower and herb person so I would plant some Nasturtiums, Marigolds, Chives, amongst the plants; buy a bucket of Lady Bug Larvae
    to ward of unwanted bugs. A Praying Mantis for luck.
    They will stay year after year and eat any aphids that wander in from the neighbors. No powder dust and chemicals. LOL

  23. Karen I cannot wait to see this… remember I planted the garlic same time you did. This year I also have a raise bed I have planted beets, and some herbs but I also added some flowers cannot wait to add the vegetables… your looks GREAT very inspiring…

  24. Jennifer says:

    Looks Amazing! But, what?? No Brussel Sprouts??? :-)

    (I’m going to try growing peanuts…they are apparently amazing fresh…like peas!…and cotton is also fun to grow…but too late to start this year…)

  25. Mary Kay says:

    THANK YOU, thank you, thank you for the link to Mother Earth Garden Planner. I was trying to do this on pen and paper and let’s just say THANK YOU. We have been winging the garden thing the last couple of years and this year I told the hubby we needed to get serious and plant a rightous garden. With you as inspiration and this awesome software I think we might achieve that this year. Did I thank you? THANK YOU!

  26. Heather says:

    I LOVE Mother Earth News! I cant wait to see the pics and hear all your stories. My friend and I started a garden club to bring the joys of gardening to the masses and it is becoming a huge success. We are making water barrels from trash cans mid may and then having a potluck lunch to celebrate. We are teaching ourselves and each other all sorts useful (and fun) stuff. Wish you were closer, I would love to add your imagination and energy to the bunch. Keep up the good work!!!

  27. Beth says:

    This will be my 3rd year of square foot gardening. I have better and bigger yields from SF gardening than I ever did with traditional row gardening. Which is good, because I am really way too lazy for row gardens.

    • Sally says:

      Me too, Beth! Once I started SFG I was amazed at the amount of food that I could grow in just 51 square feet. And, since I have a chronic back problem, the amount of labor saved is a God send.

  28. Pat says:

    I used the original square foot gardening book years ago when I was gardening to help feed my two growing step-sons. It is a great method that saves space and time. Sounds like this is the new “updated” version of that same method. I am all for getting rid of the lawn as I walk my neighbourhood and see people using all those egocentric “drugs” to make their green grass the best. Front yard or golf green?

  29. Meagan says:

    Saw your money saving quote in the Globe today :-) I hope it brings many new do-it-yourself readers to your blog! They will no doubt be further impressed by your ability to feed yourself from your own city lot. Can’t wait to hear about your yield this year!

    • Karen says:

      Oh really? I haven’t even seen it yet, LOL. Preet (who wrote the article) was a contestant on a show I hosted for W Network a few years ago. That’s how we know each other. :) ~ karen

  30. Lisa says:

    My asparagus plants take up way more than 1ft during the summer! They are huge, and flop over everything. They’re also heavy.

    Now, I see you have a tomato in the middle of the asparagus?? I thought that you shouldn’t plant tomatoes near asparagus because the asparagus ferns attracts some kind of beetle…. hmmm.

  31. jen says:

    this is fantastic! we plan to convert most of our 1/4 acre plot to garden. fortunately i live in a city where that’s pretty normal. i will definitely use the square foot gardening method, thanks for the link!

  32. Lori says:

    I have just recently discovered the joy of vegetable gardening in the last two years. My first year, I planted a few tomato plants and basically left them to do their thing (I didn’t know that you were “supposed” to pinch off parts, etc.). Everyone and their brother who had ever grown a tomato plant told me that I should have pinched stuff off (I was just tying the crap out of all the branches/stems). Anyhow, I ended up with the most monster crop of tomatoes – sweet and delicious. My family all had mega cankers from eating so many tomatoes, but they were awesome. So basically, SUCK IT, tomato-pinching haters! :)

  33. Lita says:

    30 pea plants. Oh dear, you better recruit some help come harvest time!

  34. claire says:

    A very similar online tool – always free! – is Kitchen Garden Planner from the nice folks at Gardeners Supply Company in Vermont.

    http://www.gardeners.com/on/demandware.store/Sites-Gardeners-Site/default/Page-KGPJS

    You can print, save, email your garden plan to yourself and also find other excellent gardening advice pages as well as very good garden supplies to purchase in their extensive website. I have zero affiliation with the company, just happened to find them one day when googling for raised bed kits.

  35. Jessica in WI says:

    My husband and I have had a garden every year for the past 7 years or so and this is the first year we have done square foot gardening. He has been busy as a bee for weeks now, preparing the soil, starting seeds, and planting. It is really exciting to have things (other than weeds) actually growing in the garden already and it is only the first of May! Peas, onions, lettuce, and spinach are already up. Excitedly anticipating each installation of your garden, Karen!

  36. Sally says:

    I sent you a photo of my SFG not too long ago. The yield from this garden will be amazing! Your next big project may be how to build a roadside vegetable stand! You are gonna eat like a KING!!!!

  37. Agnes says:

    “It doesn’t last long, but for those first few minutes upon waking … you don’t want to annoy me. And by ”annoy” I mean exist.”

    My boyfriend is the exact same way in the morning! lol

    Loved today’s post :)

  38. Amy in StL says:

    I’ve often wondered if I could use the sfg method planting in containers, as I rent a condo and have an obnoxious number of large planters on my deck. Also, beware the dill. My boyfriend’s aunt had dill which spread in the same way that mint does. I’d totally plant some behind the condo in the mulch beds if I wasn’t afraid of being poisoned because they spray everything here.

  39. Katrina says:

    HOLEE COW! This is the best thing ever. Now I just need a patch of dirt to call my own.

  40. Penney says:

    I also wake up most days ready to rip the face off the world. Always thought I could blame it on hormones but they are all gone now. Love your garden plans, keep sharing.

  41. Emily says:

    My family called it Cream Rinse, too!!! I haven’t heard that in years. It’s the little things that excite me these days.

  42. Jacqueline says:

    Cream rinse. Heh.

    The boy has big plans for a garden this year, so far we’ve bought enough seed for a couple of acres. He has an 10 x 8 plot. I’ll show him this online planner. His head will explode.

    Thanks Karen! (for the gardening tips, not the head explosion)

  43. Evalyn says:

    Seriously, you grow rutabegas? I love rutabegas but my area has wireworm so bad I don’t even try. Same with radishes and turnips. My root vegetable life is reduced to beets and carrots.

    My mornings are much like yours, I do much better if there’s a task in place.

  44. Evalyn says:

    You plan to get through the summer on 20 cucumbers? What are you punishing yourself for?

  45. Kate S. says:

    I started using the Mother Earth News planner last year and LOVE it. Just the ability to move things all over the page without erasing and making a big mess is fabulous.

    So excited to see your garden! I think you should do a reader-submission post and we can all send you pictures of our gardens, too.

  46. Carol Ann says:

    I am in awe.

  47. Erin says:

    It’s so great to hear everyone’s experience with square foot gardening. SFG is also a good gardening system if you are new to gardening and just need to learn what different veggies look like during different stages. It is truly amazing the amount of food that can be produced in a small area.

    Once we went rural, we looked to other methods – actually having a wider spacing and allowing more root development. (Because, I am basically lazy and don’t want to spend a lot of time watering.) I was shocked at the size of our “spaced out” broccoli heads and tomato plants.

    Fresh veg however you grow it is the best. Karen your plan looks great and I know you’ll enjoy every bite! I’m off to pot up tomato seedlings now…

  48. Sam says:

    Thanks for the resource–I’m doing a seminar on urban veg gardening in a couple of weeks and I’ll pass it on if the sizes etc work for Winterpeg :). I am very, very, very jealous though… My stupidly huge project (bread oven) got cut short by an emergency belly surgery–the same damn weekend I was clearing the spot for it… So now I’m stuck with the subsequent “you can’t do anything or lift anything for six weeks”. Stupid dead intestine! Better than not being here, but still sucks being laid up for spring (or ever!). So now I’m gonna live vicariously through your project for a couple more weeks :). I guess it will give me time to modify the plans I found on paper, instead of on the fly… But where’s the fun in that? I’ll send ‘em when they make sence… Kinda like “inventing” your chicken coop?

    • Karen says:

      LOL. Well good luck with your belly. If we combined my chicken coop and your bread oven we’d have a REALLY good sandwich. ~ karen

  49. Judith says:

    Read this post this morning, made a mental note to give the garden planner a looksie when the day wound down, and went about my business. Now I’m sitting here playing with the trial and I’m the orange juice commercial girl too! Shaking my head and smiling at the computer – who the hell does that in real life? Me with my new favorite toy, that’s who. Thanks for the tip!

  50. Amber says:

    This is awesome, thanks for the tip on the software. Your garden is about the size of our dining room, and that is a lot of food. It’s making me rethink whether I really want a vegetable garden that large! Maybe it would behoove me not to be as efficient as you! We didn’t get on it soon enough this year (we’re in NC, where asparagus is already done and we’re starting to get onions and strawberries already). You’re not allowed to do front yard vegetables in our city (unfortunate, because we have a sunny hill that’s a pain in the ass to mow) but the side yard and a square plot between the garage and deck are possibilities for next year. I’ll be sure to bookmark this for later.

  51. kelliblue says:

    Wow…that’s what I call a big a** garden! Didn’t look like you had that much space from the pictures you posted but hey…you go you garden girl!

    Like you, a morning person I ain’t. Sometimes I wonder if I’m adopted: I’m a night owl (everyone else in my fam are morning larks); I got the big German bones (everyone else – skinny minnies); I got brown hair (everyone else – blondeish). Might have to have a chat with Mom.

    What? no rhubarb or kohlrabi on that list?

    • Karen says:

      Kelliblue – The rhubarb is already growing. Been there for years, hidden in a different area of the garden. ~ karen!

  52. Gayla T says:

    Mother Earth News gone digital! How times have changed. It looks like a wonderful program. Once all this comes to fruitation, maybe you can do a rutabaga cooking segment. I ate them in Ireland and loved them but trying to work with them once I got back was another story. It takes a chain saw to peel and cut them up. Then I boiled it with a little butter and it was ok but not the flavor I remembered. In the old hen/new tricks department, I just learned about determinate and indeterminate tomato plants. It sure would have saved me a lot of grief when my plants stopped producing. Nothing, including hand pollination, would get them going again. Duh!!! I’m almost as excited about your garden as I am about mine. You are doing great. Me,not so great.

    • Karen says:

      Gayla – Rutabaga can be tough and icky if they’re left in the ground too long. Cut it in half, peel it, dice it, boil it in salted water. Add a shitload of butter and either some brown sugar or maple syrup. ~ karen!

  53. Fun to realize you’re not a morning person either ha ha… Thank you for sharing the veggy planner. I’ll look into that. Talkinhg about how much space gives you what: did you see this article re. vertical gardening ( http://www.finecraftguild.com/vertical-gardening/ )…. ha ha… it may skew the program…. What do you think of it?

  54. Jordan says:

    I love reading your blog, and am especially excited that you can plant kale AND kale.

  55. How exciting! I started my very first veggie garden this year, a 4×4 SFG that is coming along swimmingly. I planted three months ago and can you believe it was already too late for spinach? My seeds sprouted but never made it to edible status. I’m in south Louisiana, though, so obviously our climates differ in some significant ways.

  56. angie says:

    Hi, I just wanted to let you know, http://www.smartgardener.com is free and it does the exact same thing. It takes into account your zip code, which way is North in your garden, and the tallness and harvest dates, and types of your plants and then it will lay them out for you in their ideal locations. You can tweak the layout however you want, or go rogue and make your own plans. After setting up your plots, you tell it if you’re using containers or beds in the ground, or any combination of the two, then you’ll get a weekly reminder in your “garden journal” of what you’re suppose to be doing that week. Soil prep, start seeds indoors, transplant squash, sow spinach, etc. I think it’s pretty awesome….and free, did I mention that it’s free?

  57. angie says:

    Sorry, I forgot to mention that smartgardener.com also uses a square foot planting model and that it has a plant calculator. You tell the program how many people you want to feed from your garden, and it tells you how many plants of each variety you need to plant, so that you actually have enough food for your family.

  58. Sherry says:

    Okay I have a question… I have a few patches of ground in the front of my house (in winnipeg) south facing and I want to plant tomatoes and peppers _ I would love asparagus, onions, lettuce, not alot, but… I have evergreen trees and the last tomatoes I planted ( first two years were fantastic and abundant) have rotted before they ripened… I tried all the ‘product’ to save them, but I want to know what to do to make the soil garden friendly without cutting down all my trees. the square foot garden sounds perfect for the front of my house and I would love to try it.

    • Karen says:

      Sherry – It’s hard to say how to deal with your problem without actually seeing it, but one thing I can tell you for sure is that you can’t plant the same vegetables in the same spot for more than 2 years. Most vegetables are prone to some sort of disease and growing them in the same spot encourages that. Also, different plants like different types of nutrients and *leave* different types of nutrients, so you always need to rotate your plantings. So … move your tomatoes. Also, you can amend your soil with things like peat moss and compost. Compost is the best thing you can do for your garden soil. You can either make your own, find a farmer who has some to give away or buy it by the bag (like you would potting soil) at a garden centre. Just throw the bag on your garden and dig it into the top 6 or so inches. You can also “top dress” with compost, just mulching around the plant with a few inches of compost. That’s it for now. Good luck! ~ karen

  59. Sherry says:

    Okay!!!! that is helpful and encouraging!
    Thank you

  60. Karen says:

    Karen, your first paragraph almost gave me an asthma attack trying not to laugh out loud bc my fella’s asleep in the next room…
    Just sayin. :)

  61. Karen says:

    Actually a more regular occurence while reading your blog is wondering if he thinks I’ve lost my mind because I’m sitting here laughing out loud all by myself… :) hilarious!
    Oh, and the subject at hand… I’ll be trying a sfg again this year – last summer that was my plan (which I did the old fashioned way on graph paper – can’t wait to try this program!), but in practice I kind of only did it halfway and ended up spreading the plants out more. I find the bigger plants like tomatoes tend to get so huge by the end of the summer it’s all overgrown. So glad you posted this… post, thanks!

  62. muttering says:

    Cream rinse! Glad my family wasen’t the only ones! Where did that come from anyway?

  63. Pingback: Vertical Vegetable Commercial Cheap Gardening Supplies Online | Home Best Garden Trellis

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>