If you're on a quest for some organic vegetable garden design ideas, here are 3 unique tips to think about when planning a vegetable garden.
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Hey Guys! It’s Phil from SmilingGardener.com and I’m away from my garden for the next month or so. So I was kinda playing around on my computer here and thinking about some organic vegetable garden design ideas and I kinda thought of three ideas I wanna share with you that I’m gonna show you.
Oh! If you haven’t picked up the 15 Vital Lessons for becoming a Better Organic gardener, you can do that at SmilingGardener.com, right on the main page so let’s get in to these organic vegetable garden design ideas here.
My first organic vegetable garden design tip is to remember beauty when you’re designing a vegetable garden. I know a lot of times, right here I am at a Google images and I searched for vegetable garden and you could see here there are a lot of square or rectangular.
Basically, all of these are very straight rows square-rectangular gardens and that’s fine, there are advantages of that, you know there are, it is easier to water when it is a square, it’s easier to measure square footage and things like that.
And actually up here is really a beautiful one that uses squares. So it’s not all bad, I just want you to remember that it doesn’t always have to be a perfect square.
If I go back, if I go to my organic vegetable garden design, I have a drawing here. And basically this is the garden, this site that I put in my garden this year here’s the house, here’s the patio, north is up and there are couple of existing gardens here. And you know it’s a nice sunny spot out here, so I’d be very tempted to, the usual way would be the, put in a rectangular garden or a square or you know maybe you do a series of raise bed or something that are rectangular.
Again, there’s no problem with that. But, I just wanna show you that you can, you know you can think outside the box a little bit and try to make something that looks beautiful too, not that, not that square in formal isn’t beautiful.
But you can do something a little bit more organic looking, so I could instead. You know, I could instead just draw something like this that’s more of an organic curvy nice shape. You know and I could have a path in there and draw something like that. That’s kinda what I’ve done this year is done some more organic kind of shape.
So that’s my first tip is just remember beauty the other thing about that is it doesn’t always have to be just vegetables in your vegetable garden, you can put flowers in there. You know, even shrubs all kinds of cool stuff so that’s my first tip is beauty.
Second one, which is kinda along the same lines but it’s more about function and that’s about proximity to the house. You know, this, this is a really sunny spot out here so be easy for me to put my vegetable garden out there. You know, a vegetable garden often gets from back into a back corner of the property because it’s thought of as an eyesore.
But, I really like to do is bring it up to the house, and if you ever study permaculture one of the first thing you’ll learn is to try to get your vegetable garden and your food garden as close to the kitchen door as possible so that you can, you know right from the kitchen head out there daily to harvest your herbs and vegetables and do any other tasks that are needed instead of having to head to some back corner of your property.
You know, it’s not as big of a deal, if you just, if you have a little 8 of an acre lot or something like that. But it’s still something to think about. So what I, here’s what I did this year, here’s my patio, I had existing gardens here, here and here that didn’t have much in them there are more ornamental gardens.
And what I did with my organic vegetable garden design is I brought it in shape that you’ve maybe kinda seen little bits of if you watched my other videos. It looks something like this and you know I can really take out these existing gardens here and so I, first of all I brought in a nice going back to point number one, a nice curvy kind of shape that looks really nice, fits in with the existing landscape.
And my kitchen door is right here so I have some, I will have some patio pots here with herbs in them and I’ve planted herbs right here and right here so I can just wander out there with my bare feet and get herbs without it being a big issue.
And everything else is right around here too and it’s beautiful because, you know I have flowers that I will be incorporating in there, there’s a tree right here that I you know I can plant some things like a little bit, little bit of a part sun under this tree, such as my greens and some herbs and things like that.
So, that’s my second point is bring it up close to the house, I did the same thing with my compost pile. I did end up moving it but for awhile I have my compost pile right here now it’s just a little bit further away.
But I like to have that right in by the vegetable garden because I like to seed things throughout the year anytime I pull something up, I put seeds something else there and I like to have a little compost for that.
Plus, I like to take my kitchen scraps, you know, my food scraps from the kitchen bring them out here and be able just barefooted throw them right into my compost file. Without having to wander too far to get there because I like to do that you know every few days. So that’s my second tip is bring everything close to the house.
My third tip is to plant things very densely and more informally, kind of keeping up with this aesthetic theme of a vegetable garden design layout but also for their other benefits to doing this.
So what I’ve done here, if we just take a look at this section here of the vegetable garden design layout that is out there in a really niceful sun, often, usually the way it is going to be done is something like this which I drawn in here.
Zoom in here.
See you can see we have straight rows of, you know, maybe our beans and our greens and cabbage and kale and carrots and things like that. Nice straight rows.
People sometimes will have a path going down between every rows so they can get right up to the plants, which is usually gonna be a waste of space in my opinion. But sometimes you know often they will, all the plants will grow perfectly nice together if you space them properly.
Now this is fine to plant things like this. It’s the traditional way of doing it. It kinda reminisce us how farm works, a field! You know you have the nice roads so that you can drive down them.
Well that is fine but what I want to do is something a little different with this vegetable garden design layout. So if I remove this, here is what I’ve done next as I planted more densely and much more informally.
So I’ve taken all those same plants, same number and I’ve just put them all in together very randomly and first of all I can get things more closely together if I plan cleverly so I can get a lot more out of space.
Now plants won’t necessarily get as big or produce as much on their own but, overall for this square footage I can get more products, more food coming out of there.
There are other benefits though, we have plants if we do this intelligently we can plant things so, some taller plants provide a little bit of afternoon shades for some smaller plants. Things like corn can act as a treluce for beans; or grass can act as treluce for vetch if you are doing more of a cover crop.
You know the soil is gonna stay covered a lot better. It will be moister, weeds would be controlled, plant predators will be controlled better, because there is so much diversity going on in here that you know, there is just not anyone pest is going to, would get a hold of something as well because you just have so much diversity going on.
Of course incorporated in here won’t just be vegetables, I would like to put some flowers in there that attracts certain beneficial insects and that maybe deters some other insects. Things like that! So I like to plant densely and informally like that too.
If you want to go a little more formal which is just fine, I’ve done another one here. You could see I am a little bit of a computer geek. I’ve done one here and I do a lot of my drawing in paper too for when I am designing but this is just easier to show you.
So here I’ve taken the exact same plants but I group them more like you might find in nature. And so kinda group things in cluster like you were going to do a few designing of your garden and that looks really nice. But it provides a little bit more of a naturally looking system and more density and you get a lot more plants in there than if you are just planting in rows, so lots of benefits to doing that.
So there are my three tips. The first one is trying to go forth or consider going for a more informal, nice curvy organic garden that really fits in with your existing garden instead of sitting out there on its own as a perfect breath taker.
Next one is bring it closer to the house. Right near the kitchen door if possible, bring your compose pile close there too, have your rain water barrel right there too. You know, think about all that kind of ecological design stuff where everything is right close nearby.
And then third one here is this. Plant densely, plant informally, get a bunch of stuff in there. As soon as I harvest something in during the summer, I am going to be seeding something or planting something else in there which is why I like the compose pile nearby.
So, always keep that nice dense, informal planting going on. So I hope those organic vegetable garden design tips have been helpful for you. If you have not picked up the 15 Vital Organic Gardening Lessons for Becoming a Better Organic Gardener, you can do that at smilinggardener.com right there on the main page. And I hope that’s been helpful for you, I’ll see you next week.
1. Remember beauty. Search "Google Images" for the term "vegetable garden" and you'll get hundreds of photos of square and rectangular vegetable gardens. And sure, there are a couple of advantages - they can be easier to water and measure.
But let's remember that it doesn't always have to be so formal. Your organic vegetable garden design layout can be beautiful. Your beds can be curvy and fit in nicely to your existing landscape. They can have some flowers in there for beauty and insect attraction. Remember beauty when planning your garden.
2. House Proximity. Likewise, vegetable gardening doesn't have to be banished to a back corner of your yard. If you study permaculture, you'll learn that the best place for an organic vegetable garden is often right outside the kitchen door - close by for daily harvesting and other tasks.
I like to integrate my vegetable garden designs into the landscape, right by the house, interspersing vegetables with flowers, shrubs and trees. I keep my compost pile close by, too, rather than hiding behind the shed. That way, I have compost nearby all season, which is handy because it allows me to regularly throw in my kitchen scraps without trudging to the back of the property, and I like to keep seeding some vegetables throughout the year. That brings me to planting...
3. Plant Densely And Informally. Still thinking about beauty, but also other benefits, I like to mix many species of plants together more naturally when planting a vegetable garden rather than having straight rows with just 1 species of plant each. The straight row approach is reminiscent of a farm field, while the mixed species approach is more of a natural, organic vegetable garden design layout.
You'll create a diverse soil food web ecosystem that keeps plant predators and weeds under control, and keeps the ground covered, cool and moist throughout the growing season. If you choose your plants carefully, they will benefit each other with shade, wind protection, nutrition and natural trellises (for example, beans can climb up corn and vetch can climb up ryegrass). Often, when I harvest something, I seed something else to replace it.
Do you have any design tips to share with us? Tell us something you always try to remember in your organic vegetable garden designs.