Cooperative Extension
MG Manual Home
Vegetable Garden


  MG Manual Reference
Ch. 10, pp. 2 - 4


• Plan the garden on paper first. Draw a map showing arrangement and spacing of crops. If you wish to keep the garden growing all season, you may need a spring, summer, and fall garden plan.
• Most garden catalogs have seed available year round but they have last years seed available at the first of the year. Plan the garden and order seeds by January or February. Some plants may be started indoors as early as 12 weeks prior to being set out in the garden. See table 10.4 for temperatures and times required for growing plants for field transplanting.
• In your plan, place tall and trellised crops on the north side of the garden so they won't shade the shorter vegetables.
• Group plants by length of growing period. Plant spring crops together so that later crops can be planted in these areas when the early crops mature. Consider length of harvest as well as time to maturity. Place perennial crops to the side of the garden where they will not be disturbed by annual tillage.

• Vegetables grow best in a level area with loose, well-drained soil, and at least 6 hours of sun (8 to 10 hours is ideal).
• Use contour rows or terraces on sloped or hillside sites to avoid erosion. South-facing slopes are warmer and less subject to damaging frosts.
• Avoid placing the garden in low spots, at the base of a hill, or at the foot of a slope bordered by a solid fence. Such areas are slow to warm up in the spring, and frost settles in these places, since cold air naturally drains into low areas.
• Avoid windy locations; if you must plant in a windy spot, build or grow a windbreak.
• Locate near a good and easily accessible supply of water if possible.
• Choose a spot near your home so it is convenient to work in the garden when you have a few minutes.
• Avoid planting near trees and shrubs; they compete for nutrients and water, and may cause excessive shading.
• Sites too near buildings may result in plants not receiving enough sunlight. Observe shading patterns through the growing season; if possible, before starting the garden. If you have a shaded area you wish to use anyway, plant shade-tolerant crops. Increase effective light, if needed, by providing reflective surfaces around plants.
• Try not to plant vegetables from the same family in exactly the same location in the garden more often than once in 3 years. Rotation prevents the buildup of insects and disease. Use old plans as guides for rotating crops. (See table 10.0 for vegetables that are in the same family.)
• Avoid locations near busy roads. Airborne lead from automobile exhaust can contaminate vegetables, especially leafy types. If you must plant in a lead-prone area, try planting a hedge to trap lead in the air.
• Avoid locating the garden on a site where buildings with lead paint have stood; soil lead may be present in toxic amounts. If you are unsure about your chosen location, have the soil tested for lead content, or have tissue analyses done on some leafy vegetables.
Table 10.0

Vegetable Grouped According to FamilyTop

Family Vegetable
Amaryllidaceae garlic, leek, onion
Chenopodiaceae beet, spinach
Compositae endive, lettuce, sunflower
Cruciferae broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, Chinese cabbage, collards, kale kohlrabi, mustard, radish, rutabaga, turnip
Cucurbitaceae cucumber, muskmelon, pumpkin, squash, watermelon
Gramineae corn
Leguminosae bean, pea, peanut
Liliaceae asparagus
Malvaceae okra
Solanaceae eggplant, pepper, tomato
Umbelliferae carrot, celery, parsley, parsnip

Search Index Comment

This site was developed for the Arizona Cooperative Extension, College of Agriculture, The University of Arizona.
© 1998 The University of Arizona. All contents copyrighted. All rights reserved.