Now that we have gone over the beginning steps in preparing your garden, we can move on to planting.
The first thing I suggest when planting a garden is to plan out where you would like to place the vegetables. You just cannot start planting anything, anywhere. You will have to determine the size of the plant. Will it over shade a neighboring plant?. Or are the plants just simply incompatible?.
The truth is some plants flourish and grow better when placed in the company of another similar plant. I have listed some of the most popular plants, and what companion plants to use next to them.
Tomatoes are best when planted next to cabbage, carrots or onions. They do not do well planted by corn.
Lettuce does the best when planted by beans, carrots, onions or radishes. It however does not have any bad companions, but make sure whatever you plant around lettuce doesn’t shade it from the sun.
Carrots do great planted around beans, onions, lettuce and radishes. They do not do well around Dill.
Onions do well around lettuce, carrots, celery and cucumbers. They do not do well around any kinds of peas or beans.
Peas do great around beans, corn or cucumbers. They do not do well around onions.
Corn is best planted by beans, cucumbers or melons. It does not do well around tomatoes.
Another important tip when gardening is to space your vegetables according to the directions on the seed package. I have made this mistake more then a couple of times. I thought that the more I planted, the more vegetables I would get. Unfortunately that is not how it works. The crowded plants compete for water and soil nutrients. They have to work extra hard to produce anything, and the vegetables often come out smaller than usual. The best way to do it is to space the plants out. The bigger and healthier plant will produce more vegetables then five little plants that are too close together.
Lastly, if during the growing season your plants start to turn yellow or brown you might need a fertilizer. There are many kinds to choose from. All can be very beneficial as long as you do a soil test to determine exactly what you need. But here is an even better idea, that I do every year.
At the end of fall I spread cow manure over my garden. I raise cows so I have an over abundance of it. You can also use horse, sheep, goat or poultry manure. Don’t have access to manure?. Do not worry. You can also use wood ash, compost or fish emulsion. Although I strictly use fertilizer in the fall, it can be used anytime during the growing process.
It is never to soon to plan out your garden. Just make sure that you follow these simple tips to insure success. Gardening is fun but time consuming, and you never want to waste a moment making a mistake, that can cost you time and money in the end.