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What's your vegetable garden style?

One size does not fit all.There are many garden styles - traditional single rows, wide rows, intensive planting in blocks, raised beds, level beds...the list goes on. You may want to incorporate paths in the garden, especially if it's large and tillers and wheelbarrows are needed. You may want to use mulch so you can do less weeding and watering. Garden plans are definitely not "one size fits all." Often a gardener's true style is one that takes more than one year to develop, even a lifetime as time and food requirements change. A raised bed isn't practical for space-consuming crops such as corn, potatoes, and many vine crops, but they're great if you only have a small space available. Raised beds are also easy to tend, and because they warm up quickly, can be planted earlier in spring. Some crops thrive when planted close together in blocks, while others such as tomatoes don't like to be crowded and like sun all around them. Planting in single rows makes mulching easier. Perhaps several different gardens will work best, such as a small salad and herb garden near the house. If your garden is clearly visible to onlookers, consider combining ornamental flowers with your vegetable crops. A vegetable garden can even be grown entirely in containers, especially with the new space-saving varieties being developed.

There are an infinite number of vegetable garden schemes, but the one best suited for you will be dependent on your garden space, climate and personal preferences. Our advice if you are a beginning gardener is not to dig up the entire yard right away, but to start small. You'll find it much more fun and rewarding if you aren't overwhelmed, and you'll be pleasantly surprised how much produce even a small garden yields, especially with good planning and succession planting. Experiment with different garden styles and discover the combination that works best for you.

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