Garden Planning in Upstate New York

Gardening can be a means to produce food for your family, produce to sell, or a personal hobby that you just enjoy. No matter what your purpose, gardening takes planning in order to experience success.  There are not many homeowners out there who have the perfect garden location or all of the necessary knowledge to perfect the art of gardening, but we have put together some of the most critical information to help you make the most out of your plants and enjoy the many benefits that growing vegetables and feeding your family with healthy foods can bring. The perfect location is not always possible, but there are a few important things to remember when planning the area you will use. Sunlight is important and your garden will do best if it gets full sun; 6 hours a day of direct sun is the minimum needed by most vegetable plants for optimum growth. However, according to the National Gardening Association Editors, leafy crops like lettuce and spinach produce reasonably well in a partly shaded location. Root crops such as carrots and beets need more light than leafy vegetables, but may do well in a garden that receives only morning sun. Fruiting plants such as peppers, tomatoes, and beans are sun worshipers and will yield poorly, if at all, with less than 6 hours of direct sun. If your garden is shaded, experiment with the more shade‐tolerant vegetables to see which do best and put the full‐sun plants in containers that can be placed in a sunny area of your yard. Just like some farm animals, there are also some vegetables that when planted next to one another, do not grow well. Companion planning is something that many amateur gardeners overlook but it could mean the difference between producing crops or not. Certain plants love each other and certain plants hate each other. This system of planning can be complex and even overwhelming, but planning and preparation can often alleviate that. As you gain more knowledge and experience as a gardener, companion planting will become clearer. Some planting techniques are related to health, nutrition, physical compliments, weeds, insect and animal relationships.

Companion Planting Chart for Vegetables

Plant (Vegetable)
Good Companions
Bad Companions
Asparagus
Tomatoes, parsley, basil
Beans
Potatoes, carrots, cucumbers, cauliflower,
cabbage, eggplant, summer savory, most
other vegetables and herbs
Onions, garlic, gladiolus, chives
Beans, bush Potatoes, cucumbers, corn, strawberries, celery, summer savory Onions
Beans, pole Corn, summer savory, sunflower Onions, beets, kohlrabi, cabbage
Beets Onions, Kohlrabi Pole beans
Cabbage family (cabbage, cauliflower, kale, kohlrabi, broccoli) Aromatic plants, potatoes, celery, dill, hyssop, chamomile, sage, peppermint, rosemary, beets, onions Strawberries, tomatoes, pole beans
Carrots
Peas, leaf lettuce, chives, onions, leeks,
rosemary, sage, tomatoes
Dill
Celery Leeks, tomatoes, bush beans, cauliflower,cabbage
Chives Carrots, tomatoes Peas, beans
Corn Potatoes, peas, beans, cucumbers, melons, pumpkins, squash Tomato
Cucumbers Beans, corn, peas, radishes, sunflowers, lettuce Potatoes, aromatic herbs
Eggplant Beans, potatoes, spinach
Leeks Onions, celery, carrots
Lettuce Carrots and radishes (lettuce, carrots, and radishes make a strong team grown together), strawberries, cucumbers, onions
Melons Corn, Nasturtium, Radish
Onions(garlic) Beets, strawberries, tomatoes, lettuce, summer savory, leeks, chamomile (sparsely), pepper Peas, beans
Parsley Tomatoes, asparagus
Peas Carrots, turnips, radishes, cucumbers, corn, beans, most vegetables and herbs onions, garlic, gladiolus, potatoes, chives
Potatoes Beans, corn, cabbage, horseradish (should be planted at the corners of the patch), marigolds, eggplant (as a lure for the Colorado potato beetle) Pumpkins, squash, cucumbers, sunflowers, tomatoes, raspberries
Pepper Onion
Pumpkins Corn Potatoes
Radishes Peas, nasturtiums, lettuce, melons, cucumbers Hyssop
Soybeans Grows with anything, helps everything
Spinach Strawberries, eggplant
Squash Nasturtiums, corn Potatoes
Strawberries Bush beans, spinach, borage, lettuce (as a border), onions Cabbage
Sunflowers Cucumbers Potatoes
Tomatoes Chives, onions, parsley, asparagus, marigolds, nasturtiums, carrots Corn, Kohlrabi
Turnips Peas
  Table courtesy of http://www.thevegetablegarden.info/companion‐plants Knowing your hardy zones can also help give you an idea of when to plant vegetables. While many factors such as temperatures, weather patterns and your specific area can determine more details about your planting, it is still helpful for all gardeners to know what to expect and when. Our particular area in South Glens Falls is categorized as a 5A zone. Each USDA planting zone has its own schedule for sowing seeds. If you’re new to vegetable gardening, you’ll want to know that there is a right time to sow each variety of vegetable seed. By following the rules for both cool and warm season vegetables, you’ll be sure to sow your seeds in the correct window of time, enabling optimum sprouting and yield. Where and when you plant is vital, but it is also important for gardeners to understand other environmental factors that could hinder crops. Most insects found in gardens are not pests. Many are beneficial, preying on pests or performing other useful tasks.  Many experts agree that gardeners should know the strategies for dealing with insects. This begins with learning about insect life cycles, behaviors, habitats, and diets, and to recognize which are pests and which are actually lending you a helping hand. Experts also suggest the following gardening tips to damage caused by insect pests without harming beneficial insects or drowning your food in harsh chemicals.
  • Grow vigorous, healthy plants.
  • Rotate crops.
  • Choose varieties carefully.
  • Use proper sanitation practices.
  • Check over transplants.
  • Time your plantings carefully according to season and growing patterns.
  • Pick out pests and remove by hand when possible.
  • Use barriers.
  • Consider the use of row covers.
  • Mulch with aluminum foil for small area.
  • Take advantage of natural enemies.
  • Consider natural pesticides when all else fails.
Remember, however, that when managing pests, beneficial insects will move elsewhere if there aren’t enough pests to feed on. Also keep in mind that most pesticides don’t discriminate between beneficial insects and pests. Follow all label directions carefully! Sometimes, vegetables also get sick and gardeners need to know how to fend off disease‐causing bacteria, viruses, and fungi. But if conditions favor the disease and your plants are weak, the disease sometimes gains the upper hand, often leading to early death of the plants. To minimize the effects of plant diseases on your garden by keeping plants as strong and healthy as you can and to minimize the conditions that favor disease and make it easy to spread. Vegetables need room to eat and grow and flourish amongst your garden. Square foot gardening is one technique and one way to plant your vegetables. One way to ensure a constant harvest of vegetables is to plant using the square foot method. Select a 4‐foot‐by‐4‐foot section of your garden and divide it into 16 squares (each section is 1 square foot). Each square will have a different number of plants, depending on what you’re growing. Gardening author Charlie Nardozzi suggests:
  • 1 plant per square: Tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, eggplant, corn, melon, squash
  • 4 plants per square: Lettuce, garlic, Swiss chard
  • 8 plants per square: Pole beans, peas, spinach
  • 16 plants per square: Beets, carrots, radishes, onions
Unless you have a large area for gardening, you are probably confined to a smaller space like most people. The best way to keep a successful garden with organically grown produce on your dining room table is to grow as much as you can, and preserve plenty to eat for when your garden isn’t producing. Consider growing vegetables in 3‐ to 4‐foot‐wide beds with paths in between instead of just creating one large area for your garden. This will maximize space and still give you an opportunity to grow your favorite variety of vegetables. Grow what you can and grow what you love, but have fun doing it and know that you are doing something healthy and positive for your family when you can put homegrown, fresh vegetables on the table straight from your own garden. When you find vegetables that excel in your garden, growing as much of them as your family can eat will take you a huge step closer to food self‐sufficiency. At the same time, think about what you and your family really like to eat before planning your garden. Vegetables will go to waste if what you grow doesn’t match what you eat. Organic, homegrown produce is more nutritious, delicious and sustainable than the typical store‐bought fare. As you attempt to grow more organic food, be realistic about the time you have to maintain your garden and manage its harvest, and don’t bite off more than you can chew. Enjoy your garden and reap the benefits by preparing ahead of time, learning as you grow, and finding the little successes when helping your garden reach its potential.
Garden Planning was last modified: November 3rd, 2016 by toadflax