Garden Design Tips

If you are laying out a new veggie garden then there are some basic tips that are well worth considering. Many of these I have failed to do in the past and have paid for.

Spend time getting to know your site. As a general rule, one year living in a place lets you know how it performs in all of the seasons. Of course like me, you won’t be able to wait so long to get some plants in. The spot for the main garden bed will most likely be obvious straight away (where you get the most sun) so start there. Containers of plants can be shuffled to your hearts content. Maybe think about holding off before you build infrastructure like raised beds and glass houses until you get the feel of how your site works. Even with my experience landscaping I still look at my garden one year on in this house and think that I could lay things out better. My next project is to re-lay the far end of my garden to accommodate a covered berry patch. This means undoing some of the work I have done and re-positioning some of the berry bushes. Oops.

Feed your soil. Throw all the goodness you can at the soil. Healthy soil gives healthy plants which gives healthy people. Goodness includes mulch, worm wee, compost, seaweed brew and so much more. Products like Seasol  works wonders and is readily available in most garden depots.

Put your garden in a sunny spot.  Pretty simple but fail to do this and doom will come upon your garden… Not entirely true but good sun will certainly help things grow. Even in my new house I put a garden out the front that is shaded by some tall trees. The plants here are on average less than 1/3 of the size of the ones planted at the same time from the same seed in the main veggie garden.

Plant according to size and regularity of picking. Plant tall plants at the back (south side) of the garden where they will catch the sun but not shade the rest of the garden. Plant things you pick every day like herbs and salad greens towards the edges for easy access.

Identify micro climates. I really fell in love with micro climates when I was working as a kayak guide. Certain spots lie out of the wind offering shelter and warmth. Like people, plants love those special spots. There could be a cosy and warm spot against a brick wall that allows a passion fruit to grow (in Christchurch).  Or a damp place that is great for celery or mint.

Grab some paper and a pen, think about the plants you want to grow, sketch out a few ideas. Look up garden layouts online or in books and magazines or peer over your neighbors’ fences. (This last idea is a good one to let you know what grows well in your local area).

Happy planning.