This is the pencil-and-paper stage of planning, and if you use graph paper, you'll find it easier to work to scale. Don't be intimidated by all this talk about drawing and sketching. Your garden plan doesn't have to be a work of art—just a working document. Drawing to scale, however, is helpful. A commonly used scale is one inch on paper to eight feet of garden space — adapt the scale to whatever is easiest for you.
Draw up a simple plot plan giving your garden's measurements in all directions. Remember there's no law that says a garden has to be square or rectangular. Your vegetable garden can be round, triangular, curved, or any shape that fits your landscape and takes best advantage of the space you've got. When you've drawn the outline, sketch in all the nongrowing areas where you won't be able to " plant — trees, shrubs, sidewalks, sheds, buildings, walls, and the garage. Indicate any areas that are particularly shady or poorly drained and, therefore, aren't suitable for fussy crops.
Planning for three stages. It's helpful to draw three plot plans: The first will show the garden at planting time in the spring; the second will show the garden in the summer; and the third will show the garden in the fall. These plans will reflect the changes that take place in your garden when you harvest early crops and replace them with new plantings. Make two copies of plans; keep one set inside where the plans will stay dry, clean/and legible. Use the other set in the garden — where it probably won't stay dry, clean, or legible for long. Plans have also been known to blow away in a spring breeze — a disaster if that's your only copy.
Putting the plants into the plan. Once you've outlined your plot and indicated all the nongrowing areas, get down to detail. Use the accompanying illustrations as a guide, and divide the plot among the vegetables you want to grow. The individual descriptions of vegetables in Part 2 give detailed information on the amount of space each vegetable needs for growth. For a quick check on spacing refer to the chart at the end of "Planting Your Garden." Don't try to economize on space — better a smaller number of healthy plants than a lot of starved ones.
Using your space efficiently. Take care in placing the vegetables. Place the taller plants on the north or northeast side of the garden so that as they grow they won't shade the rest of the garden. In a large garden where you've got plenty of space, the most convenient way to lay out the vegetables is in rows and hills. Straight rows and hills are easier to water, weed, cultivate, mulch, and fertilize. If you are going to use a rototiller, make sure the rows are large enough to accommodate the machine.
In smaller gardens it's more space-efficient to plant in wide rows or in solid blocks four to five feet wide. You must always be able to reach the center of a wide row comfortably from either side and to get between the short rows in a block. You can also save space in a small garden by using vertical space — growing vining crops up a trellis, for example, rather than letting them spread all over the
ground. Similarly, tomatoes can be staked or caged to contain their growth.
Adding dates and details. Finally, indicate whether you're planting from transplants or seeds, and add your planting dates for each vegetable; now your plan is complete, and you can see exactly what you'll be doing come spring. You'll also have compiled a good mental library of incidental knowledge about plants and how they grow and how your climate affects them; this knowledge is going to stand you in good stead throughout your growing season.
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How would you like to save a ton of money and increase the value of your home by as much as thirty percent! If your homes landscape is designed properly it will be a source of enjoyment for your entire family, it will enhance your community and add to the resale value of your property. Landscape design involves much more than placing trees, shrubs and other plants on the property. It is an art which deals with conscious arrangement or organization of outdoor space for human satisfaction and enjoyment.