Help with garden plan

robert2014 zone 5b(5B Central IL)February 19, 2014

Hi all,

I got lot of great advice from you all on my first post. So hoping I will get it again, here is my question,

Last year I planted pretty much without planning. The results were decent, but now I want to be better at it. I have a 10 by 20 feet space. I want to grow cucumber, chard, okra, bush beans, sugar snap peas and zucchini. What would be the best plan? The space receives full sun light throughout the day.

We are 2 people, me and my wife.

Thanks everyone.

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grandad_2003(9A/sunset 28)

Robert, not sure there is a "best" answer to your question. There is probably going to be a large dose of "preference".

However, in general you should factor in the height of the adjacent plantings so as to use or not use the shade created by the adjacent vegetables. For example, I try to plant taller plants adjacent to bell pepper plants so that they can get some shade. Otherwise, our mid summer heat tends to "bake" the bell pepper plants. (This would probably not be a factor in region 5B.). Okra and squash do best for me with maximum sunlight, so I try to keep them shade-free.

Also, assuming you are planting in rows then 10 ft rows vs 20 ft rows may give you a bit more flexibility in allocating the area. But then again, you probably want to consider the "sunlight factor" mentioned above when selecting the orientation of your rows.

How much of each of the above to plant will depend on how much you would like to harvest. I usually get far more cukes than I know what to do with from the 80 sq ft dedicated to cukes .

If you add quantity of desired harvest and row orientation info to your post I'd guess others may chime in with their opinions. ..

This post was edited by grandad on Thu, Feb 20, 14 at 14:25

    Bookmark   February 20, 2014 at 2:23PM
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gjcore(zone 5 Aurora Co)

Putting plans down on paper with pencil I've always found useful. Get fairly close measurements of the garden and it's orientation (north, south, east, west).

Figure out the spacing needed and what crops will finish before season's end. Peas will quit in early summer and beans may start petering out in August.

Zucchini will take alot of space and unless you are growing bush cucumbers they should be trellised.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2014 at 7:46PM
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robert2014 zone 5b(5B Central IL)

thanks for your reply.

North and South sides are 10 feet, east and west sides are 20 feet. I am not sure about the quantity. I do not think this small space is going to be enough (for the 2 of us) for all the veggies that I want to plant. I just want a decent amount of each.

This post was edited by robert2014 on Thu, Feb 20, 14 at 19:50

    Bookmark   February 20, 2014 at 7:48PM
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nancyjane_gardener(Zone 8ish North of San Francisco in the "real" wine country)

Mother Earth News has a free for 30 days garden planner. I think HD might also. I'm not aware of any that are free forever, but there might be.
You probably want the tallest plants on the North side so you aren't blocking the sun for others, unless, like grandad you need the shade for part of the day.
You also want your beds to be no more than 4' wide, so you can reach in to weed or pick without stepping on the soil.
I'm all for at least 3' wide paths in order to maneuver wheelbarrows and wagons around. Especially if you're going to have raised beds! If they have to be wider, I've found that a small path of pavers helps to keep you out of the soil.
I love using flowers, herbs, and decorations (gnomes and such) tucked away to be found by surprise, but that's me! I would NEVER plant Nasturtium or Morning Glories IN a vege garden! Too invasive! They are great around the outside, though!
Be sure you know what herbs are planted where! I keep mine in pots now, after just planting them willie nillie in a 3x3 bed when I was just starting. They ALL went wild and I didn't know what was what! Had to pull everything up eventually and start over! I think I still have lemon verbena creeping in from time to time!
Have fun! Nancy

    Bookmark   February 20, 2014 at 9:11PM
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robert2014 zone 5b(5B Central IL)

This is what I have come up with so far.
North is to the left

What do you think about this layout?
I used the following spacing,
okra - 12 inch between plants, 24 inch between rows
Zucchini - 36, 36
cucumber 12, 24
peas - 12,12
chard - 12,12

the plot is accessible from all 4 sides.

This post was edited by robert2014 on Fri, Feb 21, 14 at 14:08

    Bookmark   February 21, 2014 at 10:11AM
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gjcore(zone 5 Aurora Co)

You have a mix of cool and warm weather plants. The cucumbers should be on 4-7 foot trellises. Later in the season they will blocking sun to the zucchini. Having the peas to the south of the cucumbers may not be so good. Peas are cool weather and will be shading the cucumber soil and cukes prefer warm soil. Chard is best in cooler conditions taste wise. Radishes are fast growing cool weather plants.

I think I would move the chard and peas to the north and the warm weather cukes and okra to the south. Radishes can go anywhere they fit. I would grow just 3 zucchini plants fairly close together and beware that they can get huge.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2014 at 7:57PM
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gjcore(zone 5 Aurora Co)

deleted repost

This post was edited by gjcore on Sat, Feb 22, 14 at 10:59

    Bookmark   February 22, 2014 at 10:56AM
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kathyb912_in (5a/5b, Central IN)(5a/5b)

Robert, can we assume you want enough of each crop to can/freeze a lot for the winter? Because I'm looking at 30 chard plants and thinking, "Wow, that's a lot of chard for two people!" LOL. But obviously it depends on how you plan to use them (harvesting entire plants small vs harvesting full sized leaves all summer) and how often you want to eat chard. For my husband and me, 4-6 plants gives us enough for fresh eating July-Nov plus some for the freezer, but that's allowing the plants to get full sized and harvesting the large leaves all season long. You, of course, may eat a lot more of it than we do or prefer to harvest the entire plants while small. But I just wanted to double check that you've looked at how much each of your plants typically produces while planning out your space.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2014 at 8:17PM
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nancyjane_gardener(Zone 8ish North of San Francisco in the "real" wine country)

6 zuks for 2 people? Hearty laugh! Most years 1 zuk and 1 yellow crook neck do the 3 of us just fine! We don't have the dreaded SVB though!
Squash doesn't freeze very well except grated for stews, soups, breads etc.
We get along with just a few chard plants, but they grow year round here and I don't freeze (don't they get soggy?)
Be sure to seed radishes every few weeks so they don't all get to size at once! I guess you could make a radish slaw if you got too many at once! Hmmmm, that sounds good!
WHAT! No tomatoes???????? Nancy

    Bookmark   February 22, 2014 at 8:46PM
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robert2014 zone 5b(5B Central IL)

gjcore, kathy and nancy thanks a lot for your valuable inputs.

gjcore.. i thought I need to plant the taller plants on the north side and shorter on the south. I will take your suggestions and change the layout.

kathy .. last year we planted 3 rows of chard (in the same spot) and we ate it without much problem. We also gave some to our friends.

Nancy, we lost our zuks last year to svb and squash bugs. It was very disappointing. And we love zuks. Thats why I was thinking to plant more, so even if we get hit by the svb, we still will get some before it hits.
regarding tomato, I have a 12x12 feet space just for tomatoes.
I also have another 10x20 feet bed, which I need to plan as well.

This post was edited by robert2014 on Sat, Feb 22, 14 at 21:48

    Bookmark   February 22, 2014 at 9:47PM
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