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4 x 12 Garden Bed

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  • 4 x 12 Garden Bed

    I live alone, so don't need a huge garden. In the distant past my vegetable gardening was done with rows just like row crop farming, and I knew how to plant those. The idea of a bed is completely new, and I have no idea how to proceed.

    I've just marked off the bed and am in the process of putting down plastic edging. I've already spaded by hand one foot at one end, and the physical labor is exhausting. But I'm planning to spade in manure from the horses to add to the tilth. Got an old dog crate that is 4 x 3, I think, which will be erected at one end of the bed.

    So what can one plant in a bed this size? I'm thinking 3 tomatoes, 3 bell peppers, 2 eggplant, and marigolds for insect control will take up 8x4, but what should I do with the other 4 feet?
    "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay."
    Thread killer Extraordinaire

  • #2
    Cucumbers, beans, lettuce all come to mind as they don't require a ton of space like squash does or overtake the garden, like raspberries do.

    Sunflowers are nice as a back row and the birds love them!

    Comment


    • #3
      all kinds of herbs. Chives, parsley basil....

      You don't have to go in blocks though. you can under plant, edge the bed in marigolds, put garlic in, also good for pest control. sunflowers, something for the eye...

      A bit of spinach, or lettuce. though they get to be meh when it gets warm (I just got a bunch of different kinds and mixed it together, my own 'mesclune'.


      What else... drawing a blank here...
      I'd say peas, but it's to late for the english kind now. A couple of strawberry plants for snacking (remember, they are perennial!)
      Originally posted by BigMama1
      Facts don't have versions. If they do, they are opinions
      GNU Terry Prachett

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      • #4
        Personally I love peas and green beans. I would put in a trellis and grow those. You can also do zucchini and cukes on a trellis to save space.

        Comment


        • #5
          oh on Zucs...since you are alone, I think 1!!! mount is plenty....or all your neighbors will hide from you till fall!
          Originally posted by BigMama1
          Facts don't have versions. If they do, they are opinions
          GNU Terry Prachett

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Heliodoro View Post
            Sunflowers are nice as a back row and the birds love them!
            Horses love them too!!

            Comment


            • #7
              My beds are 4x12 on the outside, making them 3x11 on the inside. I can get essentially three rows across.

              They say tomato, eggplant or pepper plant needs about 1 square foot. In my typical "Italian food" bed, I get 7 tomatoes down the center, 8 peppers down one side, and 4 eggplants down the other. I put a marigold on each end, with a basil plant on each corner. I put three nasturtium in the center of each long side. You could also put your 3 peppers and 2 eggplants down one side, and use the other side for a row of beans or carrots or lettuce.
              ::Sometimes you have to burn a few bridges to keep the crazies from following you::

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              • #8
                Try the Gardeners.com planner. http://www.gardeners.com/on/demandwa...ult/Page-KGPJS

                You can enter your bed size, then drag and drop what you want into the grid and it will show you how many go in each square foot. Then you can print it out.
                ::Sometimes you have to burn a few bridges to keep the crazies from following you::

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                • #9
                  You would LOVE to get a book on Square Foot gardening
                  ______________________________
                  The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

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                  • #10
                    Check out Square Foot Gardening and rotational gardening...cool season first (radishes, spinach, lettuce, peas etc) while warm season plants are sprouting in pots and then plant the warm season stuff and harvest and then repeat cool season in the fall. Also in beds you can plant a lot closer together than in rows, use edges for herbs etc. Use poles, wire panels etc to grow vining stuff on so you dont use up square footage...ie...you can grow things like cukes or cantelope up a trellis rather than have them sprawl. Use determinant type tomatoes so they don't grow all over the place (or bush type) or cage them.
                    Colored Cowhorse Ranch
                    www.coloredcowhorseranch.com
                    Northern NV

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                    • #11
                      Or prune them. Tomatoes don't have to be unruly monsters. If you aren't an heirloom fanatic, and just want one good tomato plant for sandwiches and stuff, a single Celebrity plant would probably keep you in maters all summer. I stopped planting that variety because I just couldn't eat them fast enough.

                      Rotating crops just requires a little study and some trial and error. You can plant peas and lettuce in the early spring and have them out of there in time for bush beans or summer squash to have a full season.

                      Cukes don't really want to climb, but with some training, you can keep them on a trellis. For some reason, mine always seem to grow to the east, so I always put them on that side of the bed and police them daily to keep them on the up and up.
                      ::Sometimes you have to burn a few bridges to keep the crazies from following you::

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        Should mention that the bed is oriented North/South. That means shade from tall plants or trellis in either the morning or afternoon depending on which side they go in. I would consider putting in a few okra plants of the classic variety, but they grow very tall. Should I have oriented the long side east/west?

                        Tomatoes will be caged. I only plant Marglobes and Rutgers, the old fashioned hybrids. Might get a Beefsteak for the 3rd plant.

                        Definitely green beans and or limas on a trellis, but wondering again about shade. Haven't planted crawling ones, but always went with bush beans We used to plant lady peas or crowders, but they crawl everywhere. I guess there's a reason they are called field peas.

                        It's too late here to plant cool season veggies--that means lettuce, radish, carrots, green peas, etc. are out. It's almost too late for summer squash and zucchini. One of each should be more than enough. I've heard that planting tomatoes on the outside of a compost bin is a good thing, so I could spade around the dog crate and plant there.

                        I'm so used to having so much gardening space for everything that trying to imagine how to grow sprawlers in a small space is mindboggling.
                        Last edited by vineyridge; Apr. 7, 2011, 04:21 PM.
                        "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay."
                        Thread killer Extraordinaire

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                        • #13
                          have heard on several gardening shows (Victory Garden for one) that '3 sisters' works great -- corn, beans, squash grown together -- the beans use the corn as a trellis and the squash grows around the bottom -- and each provides aid to each other
                          Nothing says "I love you" like a tractor. (Clydejumper)

                          The reports states, “Elizabeth reported that she accidently put down this pony, ........, at the show.”

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                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            Thanks for the Gardener's Supply Website. It's really helpful.
                            "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay."
                            Thread killer Extraordinaire

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                            • #15
                              You can grow sprawlers on the edge if you don't mind stepping over them.

                              My beds run pretty true north to south with a little extra sun on the west side, so with the tomatoes down the middle, each side gets a little shade. I've found bell peppers actually prefer a little filtered sunlight on the east side. Bush beans though, did better on the west side for afternoon sun than they did on the east side. If you plant your tomatoes across the north end instead of down the middle, you won't have to worry about it at all.
                              ::Sometimes you have to burn a few bridges to keep the crazies from following you::

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Hard to have success with corn in a small plot.

                                My bed is about 8x8 and I normally do one tomato, 3-4 bell peppers, one whole row of broccoli, one cuke, one zucchini, some leeks, and the rest is for experiments. Not all of which work out, like the asparagus that the dog used for a nest and the "mini" pumpkins that sprawled everywhere!

                                One corner is for basil and parsley, and the mutant potted strawberry plant that will NOT DIE. I may do some bush beans this year--not wild about things that climb.

                                My garden sits on the east side of my barn and really likes the afternoon shade. Our summer days are LOOONG and it's just too much sun for a lot of veggies.
                                Click here before you buy.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  ahh deltawave -- you are much wiser than I (my thumb is fairly brown -- I have to plant only indestructable varieties)

                                  http://www.reneesgarden.com/articles/3sisters.html
                                  says at least 10x10 for success


                                  I currently have some tomatoes, fennel, herbs in pots and have not yet killed them -- but give me a little more time
                                  Nothing says "I love you" like a tractor. (Clydejumper)

                                  The reports states, “Elizabeth reported that she accidently put down this pony, ........, at the show.”

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I tried 2 of the 3 Sisters last year - pumpkins planted at the base of sweet corn.

                                    Something ate the corn before it had a chance to grow more than a foot tall.
                                    But the pumpkins were HU-MONGOUS!
                                    I planted both on my compost-based "barn garden" - really just a pile of stall cleanings right outside a fenceline.
                                    This year potatoes are going there along with another try at sweet corn.

                                    OP:
                                    I have a small Just Me garden - maybe 16' square with four 8' square beds at each corner & paths across the middle.
                                    I get plenty of produce from these beds & really only plant 3 of them as the 4th has a rhubarb plant that takes up the space.
                                    3 or 4 tomato plants give me enough for eating & surplus to freeze, a couple zucchini plants more than keep me, friends & coworkers in zukes.

                                    I've experimented with eggplant (fail), bell peppers (fail), onions (major fail) & potatos (Success!) along with basil & butternut squash (Major Success!!).

                                    This year I wintersowed seeds for carrots, beets, corn & cucumbers.
                                    All sprouted and as soon as we have our last frost (near Mothers Day) the seedlings will go into the ground.

                                    Don't worry about planting more than you can use. You can always freeze the surplus - I don't even bother to blanch or cut up things - just wash & fill freezer bags.
                                    *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
                                    Steppin' Out 1988-2004
                                    Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
                                    Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      1 cucumber and 1 pepper will feed a person easily, but the cucumbers I have had have needed more space than the squash! How to I grow them on a trellis? I love fresh green/yellow beans, so they are a must for me. Cantaloupe?

                                      Comment

                                      • Original Poster

                                        #20
                                        If I were to make a bed of nothing but barnyard muck, which is mostly composted manure + a bit of soil + straw and hay that the horses have scattered around, can I grow a couple of watermelons?

                                        From my choice of veggies, you certainly can tell what region I hail from. Some of them didn't even make the Gardener's Supply website, although I'm not sure that limas aren't included in generic "beans". They don't even have field peas mentioned on their website.

                                        Has anyone here tried Jerusalem artichokes. Native, tall sunflowery looking plants that have tubers. Down here, once started, they are very, very perennial.
                                        "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay."
                                        Thread killer Extraordinaire

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