I’m building new garden beds this spring and created this planting plan. I have two 4×6 beds that are two feet tall. Your beds don’t have to be this tall, but I grow a lot of summer vegetables such as tomatoes and peppers, which like a deeper bed. 12 to 18 inches would also work, but I like the taller beds which are easier on the back. By the end of April, I plan on having two more built for a total of 96 square feet of gardening space.
I have two beds with a two foot mulched border all around the garden, and a three foot mulch path in between the beds. An alternative to the mulch would be 3/8 gravel. The 3 foot paths make it easier for a wheelbarrow to pass through. Stepping stones will go down the middle of the bed, and I have three blueberry bushes at the side.
I am entering the cool season, and by the end of February, I will start planting cool season crops. Cool season crops are most often those that develop edible roots (such as carrots, beets, onions etc), stems, leaves (spinach and lettuce), or buds. The only exception would be the sugar snap peas.
My suggestion is to plant what you eat. I love salads, so the cool season vegetables I could plant included lettuces, spinach, sugar snap peas, carrots, onions, and herbs. Other vegetables I could have chosen for cool season planting included kale, broccoli, kohlrabi, parsnips, cabbage, and beets, and a number of others. I don’t like beets, or particularly care for kale, and broccoli is too fussy for me.
When choosing what to plant be sure you are choosing varieties that are suitable for your area. If you are buying from a local nursery, they should be carrying local varieties. If you are purchasing from a catalog, read the information to be sure and read the information carefully. All of the plants in my planting plan are from seed which will be sowed directly in the ground, with the exception of the herbs, and violas. I will purchase plants for those.
- Sugar Daddy and Sugar Sugar Snap are suggested for Georgia gardens, so I purchased a pack of each. What I don’t use this spring will be saved for the fall garden. They will mature in about 60 days. Since I am planting them a couple of week before my lettuce and spinach, they should all mature about the same time. Peas are considered a “medium” size plants. They will be sown in the middle of my bed with a trellis to climb. You can plant 4-6 peas per square foot. In a bed 6 feet long I can plant about 16-24 peas. These are so delicious, I can’t resist eating them straight from the vine.
- My spinach is Bloomsdale Long Standing. It is an heirloom variety. In the south, it’s usually recommended to sow lettuce and spinach in the fall because it can really start to get warm in May. Lettuce will start to bolt around 75 degrees. The days to harvest is 40 -45 days, so I plan to sow it the end of February or first of March, with a harvest mid April This spinach variety states it is slow to bolt, so you can harvest over a longer period of time. Shade cloth can always be used if we have warmer days. I also have Salad Sensation Spinach which can be harvested extra early as soon as 30 days for salads. Spinach is considered a “small” plant and I can plant 9-16 seeds per square foot.
- I have a couple of varieties of lettuce. Salad Bowl and Red Velvet. Both mature in about 45 days, and Rocket Arugula which has a peppery taste. Salad Bowl is an heirloom variety.
- The carrots I plant are mostly for soups and stews, but I do like to use them for eating with dips. I like to use the short varieties. In raised bed gardens with loose soil, the long ones aren’t as likely to split or become deformed, but the little short varieties are great for home gardens. I planted Danver’s Half Long last year and they did great. Carrots take about 70 days to mature, so these won’t be coming in the same time as my salad ingredients. This year I chose Red Cored Chantenay. They grow about 5 1/2 inches long.
I drew my garden plan on graph paper so I would know how many plants per square foot. Each outlined square is 1 square foot.
This is a close up of the plan. Lettuce and carrots can be staggered. Another planting of carrots in 3 weeks after the first planting, and lettuce again in 7 days. Staggering your planting extends the harvest, and keeps your vegetables from coming in all at once.
January is the perfect time to plan your spring garden. Plan your garden around what you eat, and put your ideas on paper. It’s a great way to save time and money.
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