the essentials in brief
- Vegetables need sun to thrive; sunny to semi-sunny locations are therefore ideal
- For every 10 square meters you should expect half an hour of gardening per week
- the soil should be loose and rich in nutrients
- a planting plan is important in order to observe mixed cultivation and crop rotation
You don't need an ominous “green thumb” to garden successfully. Enthusiasm, care and attention are sufficient.
- Optimal planning in the vegetable garden with a cultivation plan
- This is how you plan your vegetable garden - effectively for more yield
- Properly caring for the vegetable garden in August: this must be done now
Creating a vegetable garden for beginners
Unfortunately, it is not enough to just dig up a piece of the garden and plant vegetables on it; It doesn't matter whether you just want to create a vegetable patch or a large kitchen garden. In order for zucchini, tomatoes and co. To grow optimally and produce lots of delicious fruit, they need the right conditions for their growth. You can create this by carefully planning your future vegetable garden and choosing the optimal location. The following chapters show you how this works and what you have to consider.
The following short video also provides great tips for simply creating and planting the vegetable patches:Youtube
The gardener understands the term “location” to mean, above all, the light conditions in the space provided for the vegetable patch. A rough distinction is made between:
- Full sun : the sun shines unhindered on the bed for at least six hours every day
- Sunny : at least four hours of sunshine a day
- No sunshine : bright, but not directly sunny
- Partial shade : duration of sunshine up to four hours a day, especially in the morning or evening
- Light and shady : the bed is temporarily shaded
- Full shade: the bed is permanently in the shade
Locations that are partially shaded to sunny are ideal for a kitchen garden. Full sun beds are only suitable for vegetables that need very warmth, such as tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, etc., and there is also the risk that the plants in them will dry out quickly, especially on hot days.
Sunny to partially shaded locations, on the other hand, offer the best conditions for most vegetables and herbs, especially if the beds are shaded over the hot lunchtime. Light, shady beds, on the other hand, are only suitable for a few crops, as the light intensity required for fruit development and ripening is often not achieved here. For this reason, you should never create vegetable patches under trees or similar places.
Which plants for which location?
The table below gives you a handy overview of the optimal location for some of the most popular vegetables.
|Sunny||Partly to light shade|
|Eggplant||Asian salads (Pak Choi, Mizuna)|
|Beans||Leaf salads, plucked and cut salads, cauliflower, broccoli|
|Cucumbers||Garden cress, kale|
|Potatoes||Garlic, kohlrabi, leek|
|Melons, carrots||Swiss chard and other leaf stalk vegetables (e.g. turnip stalk), parsnips|
|radish||Radish, rhubarb, beetroot, Brussels sprouts arugula|
|tomatoes||White cabbage and other types of cabbage|
|Zucchini, sweet peas||Onions|
Size and time required
This point is especially important and worth considering for new gardeners, because the daily workload of a large kitchen garden is often greatly underestimated. Keep in mind that such a garden requires a lot of planning, maintenance and physical effort - and accordingly you need to have both the necessary fitness and the time for it. Digging up vegetable patches is exhausting, but planting and weeding can quickly hurt your back.
- What you want to do with your vegetable garden : Are you planning a self-sufficient garden because you no longer want to buy vegetables in the supermarket or do you just want to grow a few special species? Or even start your own breeding of old vegetables?
- How much time you can spare : You should plan around half an hour of work per week for every ten square meters of garden. For a kitchen garden of around 400 square meters, this results in a total of around 20 hours - which also extends to almost every day of the week, including the weekend.
- What about your physical fitness? A vegetable garden not only needs time, but also physical effort. If you have problems with your back and / or your knees, raised beds are recommended instead of the classic garden beds.
How big does a self-sufficient garden have to be?If you want to provide your family with fresh vegetables from your own garden, plan at least 20 square meters for each person who eats. For a family of four, such a kitchen garden should be 80 square meters, not including the area for fruit trees. If you also want to harvest apples and berries, another 20 square meters of space is required.
Most crops have a medium to high nutrient requirement and therefore prefer a humus rich, nutrient-rich soil. This should also be loose and deep so that roots and vegetables growing underground have enough space to grow. Firm, loamy soils, on the other hand, tend to become waterlogged and are therefore less suitable. However, like poor soil, they can be upgraded with appropriate measures. This includes, for example, the creation of drainage and the introduction of compost or good topsoil.
Create a vegetable garden in the new development area
Such a soil revaluation is of great importance especially in new building areas, after all the soils here are strongly compacted by the use of heavy machinery and have to be loosened. Sometimes it can also be necessary to remove the upper layers of soil and fill it up with fresh mother earth - the remains of various building materials, especially calcareous ones, quickly settle in the ground and upset the acid-base balance there. In principle, the soil in a vegetable garden should have a pH value that is as neutral to slightly alkaline as possible so that the plants can optimally absorb nutrients and moisture. Also make sure that some plants do not tolerate lime and only a few species feel comfortable in acidic soils.
Create beds and paths
Vegetable plants grow in specially created beds, which are usually rectangular. Narrow paths run between the beds that ensure access to the vegetated areas - after all, the plants have to be looked after and cared for so that you can look forward to a plentiful harvest later. With regard to the size and length of the beds, there are certain guidelines that should make it easier for you to work on the areas:
- Vegetable beds should not be wider than 120 centimeters
- this makes it easier to maintain and harvest the areas, as you can get anywhere without any problems
- small people should reduce the bed width again
- the length of the beds, however, is entirely up to your own wishes and the available space
- However, a uniform size of all vegetable beds makes sense
- this also facilitates planting planning in later years
- a good bed size is six square meters (1.20 meters wide x 5 meters long)
- 25 such beds plus paths fit into a 150 square meter vegetable garden
The paths divide the bed areas evenly into segments, with the side paths remaining quite narrow with a width of around 60 centimeters. The main paths should be planned and paved a little wider at around one meter so that you can easily walk them with a wheelbarrow, for example.
Never plant the vegetables directly on a hedge, because the shadows cast and the competition for water and nutrients will mean that they will not grow well here anyway. Instead, create a path between the bed and the hedge, also because you have to reach the hedge easily for pruning anyway.
Create a composting place
Compost is indispensable for every vegetable garden, after all the plants need a lot of nutrients for their growth and the development of their fruits. With your own compost heap, you can provide valuable, biological fertilizer and at the same time return organic waste to the natural cycle. A win-win situation for both you and nature. The following tips are useful when planning the composting site:
- not too small : space for at least three sufficiently large compost bins is necessary
- Easily accessible : The composting area should be easily accessible from the main path
- In the shade : the composting area is best in the shade of a large tree so that it does not dry out too quickly during the hot summer months
- a little away from the vegetable beds : place the compost on the north side of the kitchen garden so that the containers do not cast a shadow on the beds
Do not seal the subsoil of the composting area as earthworms and other soil organisms are essential for the decomposition of the material and its conversion into humus. These penetrate the compost through the soil.
Irrigation is essential for the vegetable garden, since without an adequate supply of water all plants will perish. Insufficient irrigation also ensures that the fruits remain small and the harvest is correspondingly puny. If you don't want to constantly haul heavy watering cans, you can lay special irrigation systems in the garden. These are usually connected to the main water pipe (if one is available) and run underground next to the main paths. It is best to lay out the selected system at the same time as the beds and the paths to save yourself multiple work.
Create a planting plan
So that you can make optimal use of the available bedding area throughout the season, you should draw all beds and paths in a plan and determine when and where which vegetables are to be planted or sown. The following tips will help you:
- Mixed culture : Do not plant monocultures in the garden, but combine different vegetable plants in one bed. This is for plant health, because it means that pests and pathogens have little chance of spreading. Note, however, that not all types of plants get along well. Mixed culture tables give you a good overview of who fits together and who doesn't.
- Subsequent culture : The different types of vegetables grow at very different times. While some ripen at the beginning of the year, others are only put into the bed in summer. With what is known as a subsequent crop, you can use the vegetable patch all year round, for example by planting spinach and radishes in spring and zucchini on top in summer. But here too, the following applies: Some plant species do not get along, which is why vegetables from the same plant family cannot follow one another.
- Nutrient requirements: Divide your beds into three sections, in which you cultivate high-consumption, medium-consumption and low-consumption separately and change the beds for each growing season. In this way, the soil does not leach out excessively, but can relax in between.
A practical example of a successful mixed and subsequent crop with Phacelia as green manure can be found in this illustration:
Creating a vegetable garden - examples and ideas
No question: simple, rectangular vegetable patches with side paths and a well-paved main path can be easily planted and cared for. This traditional shape has long since proven itself and is still used today - it is especially pretty when the individual beds are surrounded by low box hedges, as has always been done in traditional cottage gardens. But herbs and low perennials (for example lavender, marigolds, marigolds etc.) are also very suitable for an enclosure.
If that is too boring for you, you can also create the vegetable beds round, oval, triangular or in other shapes or use systems such as hill beds, straw beds or layered beds. Modern raised beds or lower box beds, for example, are good and practical, especially for small gardens. Vegetable beds can also be placed in tractor tires and other unusual enclosures.
Kitchen garden or mixed beds?
Nasturtiums, marigolds, marigolds, lavender and other flowers not only look pretty, but also provide valuable protection for the vegetable plants in the kitchen garden: Lavender, for example, reliably keeps aphids away, and nasturtium also drives various common garden pests - and is also a valuable snail-catch plant. The voracious reptiles like to enjoy the bushy growing nasturtiums and leave their vegetables alone. Tagetes - the marigold - is also an effective distraction food and at the same time keeps flies and even voles away. Therefore, put not only useful plants in your vegetable garden, but also various (supposed) ornamental plants.
frequently asked Questions
When is the planting time for vegetables?
When to plant or sow the different vegetables depends on various factors. One of the most important is the plants' natural resistance to cold: some plants thrive in early spring or even in late autumn, while others are only allowed into the bed after the last frosts. The information on the seed sachets or, in the case of purchased young plants, on the labels provide reliable clues for the best time to plant.
Which vegetables and herbs can be grown on the balcony?
If you only have a small garden or even a balcony or terrace, you don't have to do without your own garden. Almost all vegetables and herbs can be grown in buckets, pots, boxes and other vessels, but they require a lot of attention. Regular watering and fertilizing is extremely important because the plants cannot take care of themselves. The cultivation of irrigation-intensive and very large vegetables such as zucchini can therefore be difficult - but not impossible.
Which vegetables are suitable for children?
All the fast-growing snack vegetables such as radishes, carrots, sugar peas etc. are very suitable for children, as the little ones have quick successes with them and can eat the harvested vegetables right there and then.
Which plants keep pests away?
Not only do some flowers such as marigolds, nasturtiums and the like keep pests away from the vegetable patch, allium plants such as onions, garlic and leeks also have a deterrent effect on uninvited visitors and many pathogens. Note, however, that onions and garlic do not go well with some other vegetables and should therefore not be planted together.
Write down from the beginning which vegetables you planted in which bed and when. In this way you have a better overview and can plan the crop rotation more easily for the next few years.