From the Desk of Ed Hume: Planning Your Vegetable Garden

February 13, 2012 at 4:44 AM Leave a comment

During the past 61 years of vegetable gardening, I’ve observed a few things that will improve your overall gardening success. Of course, garden success starts with soil preparation, crop selection, care, and timing, but the way one goes about laying out a vegetable garden also matters. Which way rows run and where various vegetable are placed can have a great effect on how well vegetables grow.


If possible, plan your vegetable garden so it stretches from north to south. At the north end, plant taller crops, such as corn, pole beans, and vine peas. This way the taller crops will not shade lower growing vegetables.

The medium sized vegetables should be grown in the middle of the garden. These crops include cabbage, cauliflower, chard, and carrots. Plant squash, pumpkins, and cucumbers along the west side of this area, so their vines do not choke the vegetables planted in the center area.

Lower growing vegetables, such as radishes, lettuce, and spinach, should be planted in the southernmost part of the garden. This way all of the vegetables in your garden get the maximum sun exposure. However, if you live in a hot climate, you may want to plant some of your leaf crops in less exposed areas, so they are protected from extreme sunlight.

Perennial herbs, and perennial vegetables such as asparagus, rhubarb, and artichokes, should be planted along the edge of the garden, so they are not in the way when you spade or cultivate the garden.


Rows should be planted from north to south. This is done for several reasons. First, when rows are planted from east to west, the first row shades the second row, and so on and so forth. Secondly, the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, so a north to south planting means maximum sun exposure for vegetables.


If you live in a windy area, and the predominate winds blow from east to west, you may not want to plant your garden based on the ideas above. Winds blowing east to west are apt to blow over tall growing crops like corn, peas, and beans, especially if they are growing in north to south rows. In the case of extreme wind, you may want to plant your tall growing crops from east to west. However, all other crops can still be planted as outlined above.

There’s more vegetable gardening information in my book “Gardening With Ed Hume: Northwest Gardening Made Easy” ($19.95 on our website). Additional information can be found at and Also, you can find ask questions and find even more information on our Ed Hume Seeds Facebook page.


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