Fact Sheet FS129
The most important factor in planning a vegetable garden is location. Choose a site with full sun, good drainage and no standing water, even after the heaviest rain. Keep the garden away from trees and shrubs, which may compete with vegetables for water, nutrients, and light.
If you cannot identify a location with full sun, leafy vegetables, such as lettuce and spinach, require the least direct sunlight, only 4 to 5 hours. Root vegetables require 5 to 6 hours, and fruiting vegetables, such as tomatoes, cucumbers, and zucchini, require at least 8 hours. No vegetables can grow in total shade.
Some other location issues are ease of access to water for irrigation, tools to maintain your vegetable garden, and proximity to your kitchen to quickly prepare or store your harvest. If deer or other wildlife are in the area you might also need to consider fencing to keep them from damaging your crops.
Once you've decided where the garden will go, it's time to choose which vegetables to grow. First, make a list of those vegetables you like. Next, put a plan down on paper. This will help you make the best use of space and will save time when planting by showing you exactly where to place your seeds and transplants. The plan should include the following information: garden size, space between rows and within rows, crops and varieties, planting dates, seeded crops, and transplanted crops. Consider planning for spring planting of early crops and later plantings for late summer and autumn harvest. Use the table included in this fact sheet to help you plan.
If possible, rotate your crops so similar vegetables are not planted in the same location consecutively. Remember to place your tallest growing crops on the north side of the garden so as not to shade lower growing plants. Also allow for good air movement through the garden. This ensures that moisture on plant leaves dries quickly and may lessen disease problems.
When choosing varieties, always look for ones with disease resistance. Although these varieties may cost more than some of the old standards, they more than make up for the cost with improved yields and less reliance on chemical controls. For more information contact your county Rutgers Cooperative Extension office (listed in the phone book under county government) or visit our website at njaes.rutgers.edu.
A good garden design will save you time and make the best use of limited garden space. Most importantly, vegetables grown under optimal conditions, along with the use of disease-resistant varieties, will result in healthy, high-yielding crops.
|Vegetable||Spacing (in.)||Transplant or Seeds||Planting Dates*||Avg. Yield per 10 ft. of Row|
|In Row||Btwn. Rows|
|Beans, Lima, bush||4||24||seed||Ma,Ju,Jl||6 lb.|
|Beans, Lima, pole||36||36||seed||Ma,Ju,Jl||7 lb.|
|Beans, Snap, bush||4||24||seed||Ma,Ju,Jl||6 lb.|
|Beans, snap., pole||36||24||seed||Ma,Ju,Jl||7 lb.|
|Brussels Sprouts||18||30||transplant||Jl||5 lb.|
|Cabbage, Chinese||12||18||seed or trp.||Ap,Jl||10 heads|
|Chard, Swiss||6||24||seed||Ap,Ma,Ju,Jl,Au||20 plants|
|Corn, Sweet||12||24||seed||Ma,Ju||10 ears|
|Cucumbers||36||30||seed or trp.||Ju,Jl||8 lb.|
|Endive||12||18||seed or trp.||Ap,Ma,Ju,Jl,Au||10 plants|
|Kohlrabi||4||15||seed or trp.||Ap,Ma,Jl,Au||20 bulb.|
|Lettuce,Leaf,Romaine||8||15||seed or trp.||Ap,Ma,Au,Se||15 heads|
|Lettuce, Bibb||6||15||seed or trp.||Ap,Ma,Au,Se||20 heads|
|Muskmelons||36||72||seed or trp.||Ju||8 melons|
|Mustard Greens||12||15||seed||Au||10 lb.|
|Onions, dry||4||15||seed,trp.sets||Ap||10 lb.|
|Squash, bush||24||48||seeds or trp.||Ju,Jl||25 fruit|
|Squash, vine||36||72||seeds or trp.||Ju||20 fruits|
|Sweet Potatoes||12||36||transplants||Ju||12 lb.|
|White Potatoes||12||24||tubers||Ap||18 lb.|
*Mr=March; Ap=April; Ma=May; Ju=June; Jl=July; Au=August; Se=September
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