Making Your Vegetable Garden the Right Size

by April Reinhardt
(last updated October 7, 2015)

So you've decided to grow your own vegetables, and have already polled your family about what types of vegetables they like, so you have an idea of the varieties of vegetables you will plant. But what about the size of your garden? If your garden is too large, it will take a lot of space and much of your time to maintain it, while yielding enough food to sustain several families. But if you make your garden too small, you won't have enough food left over to store away.

Making your vegetable garden just the right size involves a little planning, including how many people you will feed, how much time you are willing to spend tending to your garden, and whether you want to can or freeze the surplus. Here are some great tips for making your vegetable garden the right size for your needs:

  • Determine the size of your garden. Perhaps you live alone in an apartment, and need to grow your vegetables in containers. Or maybe you have a large family and a house with enough land to plot a large garden. Determine how many people you will feed. If you want to grow surplus to store away, add that amount into your equation. Typically, a garden to feed four people should be about 500 square feet, or a plot that is 20 feet by 25 feet. Adjust the size of your garden to accommodate the number of people who will eat the vegetables.
  • Vegetable types. Figure out what kinds of vegetables you will grow based on what everyone likes. It won't do much good to plant a row or container of tomatoes if no one likes tomatoes. Grow only what you and your family will eat often. Don't use valuable space and energy cultivating squash if you only eat it once a year.

Before you start digging your yard or adding topsoil to that garden container, plan where to dig or set your containers so that your plants receive adequate sunlight. Most vegetables require a minimum of five hours of direct sunlight each day, so it's best to plant vegetables away from fences, trees, tall ornamental grasses, or anything that might shade them from the sun throughout the day. Optimally, it's best to face your plants south and never plant a garden next to trees, since the tree roots will compete with your plant roots for water and nutrients.

Author Bio

April Reinhardt

An admin­istrator for a mutual fund man­age­ment firm, April deals with the writ­ten word daily. She loves to write and plans to author a memoir in the near future. April attend­ed More­head State Uni­ver­sity to pursue a BA degree in Ele­men­tary Edu­ca­tion. ...


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