Growing a vegetable garden is a wonderful experience.  If you are a beginning gardener you may feel a little overwhelmed when thinking about where to start.  How do you make a vegetable garden plan?  How do you decide which plants can or should be planted next to each other?  What type of watering system needs to be in place?

 So many questions.  If you find yourself asking these questions, then you are in the right place!  Here are a few tried and true methods for planning a vegetable garden that will bring your successful results and a bountiful harvest.

        The first step to success is to pick the right location and have a specific layout for your garden within that space.  There are a couple of key considerations here: make sure that your chosen location gets plenty of direct sunlight (at least 6 hours per day) and, if you are a beginning gardener, a garden plot of approximately 16×10 feet is a reasonable place to start.  

When you plan out your vegetable garden on paper, lay out your rows going north to south in order to take full advantage of the available sunlight.  A garden plot of 16×10 feet will fit 11 rows (10 feet long) and within that space you can plant enough garden plants to feed a family of four for an entire summer!

        Next, did you know that even vegetable plants have ‘friends’ and ‘enemies’, or likes and dislikes!  Every vegetable comes from a group, or family, that includes like/similar plants that will do well when planting next to each other.  When planning your garden plot, make sure to spend some time doing research into the plants that you have chosen and if there are any of them that should not be planted right next to each other as that can yield stunted growth and sub-standard harvest.  

There are even some herbs and flowers that, when spread and planted throughout your garden plot, will assist in insect and disease prevention and promote healthy growth overall.

        A final critical element to a successful vegetable garden is the irrigation requirements.  As a general rule of thumb, vegetable plants do not thrive in standing water.  They do have consistent water requirements, but also thrive in well-drained soils.

 When the top inch of soil is dry to the touch, water is needed.  A great way to deliver consistent water to your plants in a controlled way is to install drip irrigation lines.  This system will deliver the water right to where it is needed without a large quantity of waste and runoff.

        By following these simple and straightforward steps you will be well on your way to a successful growing season and delicious harvest!