Planting a vegetable garden can be daunting, given the myriad of plants available to the modern vegetable gardener. Deciding what to plant, while still fun, can be a little overwhelming. Here are some tips to help you choose and cultivate the best possible harvest!
If you despise zucchini, don’t plant zucchini, because you’re going to get a lot of it. One way to decide what to include is to think about what you’ll be excited to actually consume. Big fan of pesto? Be sure to plant plenty of basil. More the marinara type? Tomatoes it is. Either way, you’ll obviously want to include garlic.
Different plants have different space requirements, so available room will help to dictate what you should grow. Pumpkins and many varieties of squash require a lot of room to spread out, whereas there’s almost always room to squeeze in a little more arugula or one more row of carrots. Sometimes, plants’ growing habits can determine how best to arrange them. Onions and lettuce fit together nicely, for instance; an onion’s tall, thin stems won’t shade lettuce leaves, and lettuce’s shallow root system won’t interfere with the onion bulb’s growth. Don’t forget, you can always go vertical! Planting vines like peas or beans on trellises will give you more space, as long as you position them so as not to shade the rest of the garden.
Don’t limit your garden to just vegetables. Including some herbs and flowers will actually help your crop! Nasturtiums are beautiful, edible, and will attract bees and other pollinators. Marigolds will do so as well, and have the added benefit of repelling certain kinds of insect pests. Planting parsley near tomatoes will attract wasps that prey on hornworms, not humans, eliminating the need to use pesticides.