CHAPTER 3: Planning Your Garden And Choosing Your Plants

Before choosing your plants, it’s essential to understand the conditions of your garden, which
can influence what will grow best. Consider the following:

  • 1. Sunlight: Most vegetables and fruits need at least 6-8 hours of sunlight per day, so
    observe your garden throughout the day to determine the sunniest spots.
  • 2. Climate: Your local climate, including your USDA Hardiness Zone, affects which plants
    will thrive. Consider factors such as frost dates, rainfall, humidity, and temperature highs
    and lows.
  • 3. Soil: While you’ve added high-quality soil to your raised bed, understanding your natural
    soil type can still be useful, especially if you plan to garden beyond your raised beds.

    When choosing plants, consider the following:

  • 1. Your Preferences: Grow what you and your family love to eat!
  • 2. Plant Size: Be mindful of the space each plant needs to grow. Overcrowding can lead to
    competition for light and nutrients.
  • 3. Companion Planting: Some plants grow well together (companion planting) because
    they help each other by deterring pests or enhancing growth.
  • 4. Seasonality: Many plants are seasonal. Consider when certain plants need to be planted
    and harvested.

    Once you’ve chosen your plants, it’s time to plan your garden layout:

  • 1. Plant Height: Place taller plants on the north side of the bed to avoid shading shorter
  • 2. Spacing: Proper spacing is crucial for healthy plant growth. Check seed packets or plant
    tags for spacing recommendations.
  • 3. Accessibility: Make sure every plant is within arm’s reach for easy maintenance and

    Finally, consider rotation and succession planting for a continual harvest and to minimize pest
    and disease issues:

  • 1. Crop Rotation: Avoid planting the same family of crops in the same location year after
    year to prevent the buildup of pests and diseases.
  • 2. Succession Planting: Planting new crops as others are harvested allows for a continual
    harvest throughout the growing season.
  • By understanding your garden’s environment, choosing the right plants, planning your layout,
    and practicing rotation and succession planting, you’ll be well on your way to a successful and
    bountiful harvest from your raised bed garden. In the next chapter, we’ll talk about maintaining
    your garden for a healthy, thriving plant life.


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