Once you have your raised bed garden set up and have filled it with dirt, it is time for planting. This always has the potential to cause a little anxiety. What to plant? Where to place plants? How to space the plants? Asking youself a few simple questions and utilizing some simple tools will assist you in your decision making.
I ask myself a few questions. The first is "What do we like to eat?". This may seem obvious, but I grew cucumbers for years even though we really don't like them very much. But, I had always seen cucumbers in gardens. I no longer waste garden space with cucumbers. For your first garden, I would choose either a garden salad or a stir fry salad. Just ask yourself what you enjoy in your favorite salad or stir fry and go from there.
If I have to start eliminating items, I usually eliminate those things that cost the least at the produce stand. I always plant tomatoes, red bell peppers and eggplant because they can be quite expensive in stores and at produce stands. I also always plant an herb bed. Fresh herbs can be very costly, yet they are very inexpensive and easy to grow.
Placement of your plants is also important. Some plants thrive better when placed next to others. The best resource I have found regarding plant placement is The Vegetable Gardener's Bible. There is a link below for obtaining this book for over half the cost as a Kindle ebook. (If you don't have a Kindle, you can download a free Kindle app to your computer. It is pretty cool.)
You want to consider how tall your plants will grow so that you will have good access to all of your plants. If your plants have running vines (squash, beans, cantaloupes), you will want to put in place a trellis or tomato cage at the time of planting for the vine to grow up. Always plants with the full size plant in mind.
Another great tool can be found at Gardeners.com (Gardener's Supply Company-link below). This site has a free tool, The Kitchen Garden Planner, that helps you create a plan for your garden. You can print it and take it to the bed when you plant. Try it. It's fun!
Backyard garden and chicken consultations are $60 in the Metro Atlanta counties of Gwinnett, Fulton, DeKalb, Rockdale and Henry. We are willing to travel outside of these areas for an additional travel fee.