Gardening 101: Plant Layout

The simple way to plan your garden layout is to pick up a pencil and paper and start drawing!  That's it.  You don't need a computer program, an app, or special sketching skills.  Those things are tools that you can use, but that are not required.  

The image above shows our layout using the Basic Crop Rotation layout I wrote about last week titled Gardening 101: Crop Rotation. If you missed this post I recommend reading it first before continuing this one. This post shows you how to space your garden and finalize your plan in six easy steps using the SFGM (Square Foot Gardening Method). 

STEP 1: Draw the outline of your garden.  
I will draw one of our 4 x 8 size raised beds for example. 
Typically if this is your first year gardening I would recommend starting with a 4 x 4 raised bed. 

Vertical Frames at the end of the raised beds

Also all plants that vine (cucumbers, peas, squash, vine beans and vine tomatoes) are grown using a vertical frame at the end of the raised bed (which saves a tremendous amount of space).  Add a vertical frame at the north end of your raised bed. Here is a link to my other post on Building A Vertical Frame for a Raised Bed

Drawing outline of garden

STEP 2: List all the vegetables you plan on growing:

Vegetables to grow (shown in green)
STEP 3: Determine your spacing recommendations for each vegetable. Below you will see a chart that lists the spacing using the (SFGM) Square Foot Gardening Method.  On your list of vegetables add a column called "plants per square" and fill in the correct number of plants using the chart. For example when I look for Carrots the QTY says 16 plants per square.  So that tells me that per 12" x 12" space I will plant 16 carrots.  Continue this for each vegetable you want to plant.

Adding a column called plants per square

STEP 4: Add a 12 x 12 grid over your garden plan. 

12 x 12 grid drawn in light blue

STEP 5: Using a pencil draw or write the vegetables into their proper squares. 

Drawing plant spacing using the grid as a guideline NOTE: The peas will be grown on the vertical frame

STEP 6: From this drawing and list you can estimate how many seeds and plants you will need to buy in the early spring.  

Carrots- 64 carrot seeds 
Lettuce- 32 lettuce seeds
Onions- 128 onion sets (I choose to buy sets they are easier)
Peas- 30 pea seeds
Zucchini- 2 zucchini seeds or 2 zucchini plants 

STEP 7 (OPTIONAL): Its up to you but if you want you can plant 4 times a year!  (I will be honest we choose only to plant in the Spring and Summer, although we planted Garlic this fall).  If you want to do this each time you harvest a crop of vegetables in your garden simply replant!  Look at the type of plants you can grow according to the season and have extra seeds on hand to plant when a square becomes available.  (This is actually the heart of the SFGM because you are able to make the most of your garden). 

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