From the Desk of Ed Hume: Vegetable Garden Layout

March 15, 2010 at 12:00 AM 2 comments

I hope you’re seriously thinking about planting a vegetable garden this year, because there’s nothing like picking fresh, nutritious vegetables directly from your own garden.

In an earlier article I mentioned the importance of properly preparing the soil, so if you missed it I hope you will go back to my article on this site from February 17th and note the importance of soil preparation.  In my lectures, I always point out that the three most important things are soil, soil, and soil.  If you expect to have good/great vegetables from your garden, you must start with well-prepared planting soil that is rich in organic matter.

Once the soil is prepared and you’re ready to begin planting, here are four serious points to consider as to where and how to lay out the garden:

1) The taller growing vegetables are always planted on the North-end of the garden so they do not shade the other lower-growing crops.  That means corn, pole beans, and tall vining-type peas are all planted on the North side.  Respectively, the medium growing crops should be planted in the middle of the garden and the lowest-growing crops in the South.  Many of you may write this off as common sense, but it’s amazing how often this seemingly clear-cut rule of thumb is overlooked.

2) This is another “common sense statement” on vegetable garden layout.  Whenever possible, run your rows in a North-South direction for best exposure to the sun and for good air circulation.  It just makes common sense that if you run the rows East and West, the first row would shade the second row, and the second row would shade the third row, and so on and so forth.  Remember, you always have to think of not only where the sun is, but where it will travel and consequently how it will hit your garden throughout the day.

Another important factor is wind.  Here in the Pacific Northwest, the predominant winds are out of the Southwest and the Northwest.  By running the rows North and South, one gets the best possible air circulation, or air movement, down each row.  If they were to be planted in the opposite direction, a strong windstorm could break or bend the stalks of corn or blow over one’s peas or beans.

3) I also recommend that the perennial vegetables like asparagus, rhubarb, or other permanent berries or vegetables be planted along the edge of the garden.  This is done so they are not in the way when you cultivate the garden in Springtime.

4) Of course, it goes without mentioning (I hope) that the vegetable garden is always situated in the brightest, sunniest part of the yard.   (Leaf crops like lettuce, spinach, chard etc. can tolerate a little less sun then tomatoes, peppers, melons, and other vining crops, etc.)

This is a wonderful time of the year to take a little time and actually plan the layout of your garden so that you can start planting as soon as the weather is suitable.

Make any changes you think need changing!



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Clip of the Week: Selecting and Starting Seeds Gone Gardening…

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Chadd  |  March 28, 2010 at 1:43 PM

    Just picked up my EH seeds from Freddies and looking forward to planting our very first ‘Victory’ garden in Greenwood. Thanks for all of the great advice and videos… Chadd

    • 2. edhume  |  March 29, 2010 at 1:34 AM

      Hi Chadd,

      Thanks so much for your support! It’s our pleasure to be able to offer this site as a resource to gardeners worldwide. We hope it will continue to assist you in all of your gardening endeavors.

      Best wishes,



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