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Productivity Tips on How to Lay Out a Garden

Jason Matyas
Seeds for Generations

Jason is a 2022 Superfood Garden Summit presenter.

“Starting Seeds & Caring for Seedlings”

Jason Matyas is a husband, father of seven, homesteader, lifelong gardener, 20-year Air Force veteran with 9 worldwide deployments including two tours in Afghanistan, and visionary entrepreneur and public speaker. He is the founder of a family business with his children called Seeds for Generations that provides heirloom garden seeds and inspiration for gardening as a family. Jason is also the Executive Producer of the documentary film Beyond Off Grid, and founder of the Return to the Old Paths project devoted to inspiring and equipping you to reduce your dependence on the modern economy and seek true freedom by Returning to the Old Paths of productive households and local community interdependence.

In previous posts (see entire blog series here), we’ve already discussed the most important planning considerations for your garden, but there are a few other considerations that you may find helpful as you’re finalizing your plot. Keep these things in mind while considering how to lay out a garden.

Considering Garden Size

In an earlier post (see entire blog series here), we touched on garden size (i.e., available space), but it’s worth repeating here. The size of your garden is determined by which growing method you use. There are many different methods, but the most basic methods are row gardening, square foot gardening (popularized by Mel Bartholomew), and container gardening. You can also use vertical growing methods, which are great for small spaces.

Regardless, you’ll want to maximize your planting area by placing paths only where absolutely necessary. Generally, you don’t want more than four or five feet between your paths, because most people can only reach two and a half feet, so keep this in mind.

Laying Out Your Garden

Once again, your layout entirely depends several factors, including sunlight. Like we mentioned previously (see entire blog series here), you’ll want to orient your plot towards the south to get the maximum sunshine potential, which will help plants grow better. If you’re growing plants that may struggle in a lot of direct sun and heat or bolt (i.e., go to seed) in hot conditions, consider planting those varieties where they’ll be protected from afternoon sun.

Positioning Crops in Your Garden

How you position crops together may impact their productivity, so consider using companion planting techniques to create synergy and play off of natural relationships between different plants. Plants like basil and tomatoes grow well together, for example.

In addition, sometimes you can plant two different crops in one space during the same growing season, such as lettuce with cabbage. If you do this, you will have harvested the lettuce before the cabbage grows completely into its space. If you don’t know how many days the plant takes to grow to maturity, check the seed packet–that information should be listed there.

Also, while planting, ensure that you have adequate access for harvesting later. If you don’t harvest winter squash or corn until late in the year, for example, you usually  don’t need to make it very accessible during the spring and summer. But tomatoes and cucumbers that will need picked every other day? You’ll need to access them easily, without crushing other plants.

Productivity Tips on How to Lay Out a Garden – Conclusion

Garden size, garden layout, and garden plant positioning. That’s all you really need to know when it comes to learning how to lay out a garden. Now get planting!