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If you want to plant a vegetable patch in your garden, you must work out a good concept in advance so that your project will be successful for years to come. The individual vegetables require different amounts of nutrients. In addition, in monocultures or constantly the same planting often deficiency symptoms or diseases. Therefore, it is important to know in which combination and order the different vegetables should be grown in the vegetable patch.
Good planning is a prerequisite
If you intend to plant a vegetable patch in your garden, you should start planning in the autumn to winter of the previous year. Already now the future cultivated areas can be prepared. Choose an area in the garden that is easily accessible and meets the necessary site conditions. In addition, the bed can already be dug up in the autumn, the soil improved undeventuell stable manure or compost can be incorporated as a nutrient suppliers. Newcomers should rather start small and slowly work their way into the vegetable concept. Work that can be done in advance:
- soil improvement
- Planning of the planting sequence and mixed culture
- Get seed
- In February, the pre-breeding of the plants on the windowsill begins
Almost all vegetables prefer a sunny to partially shaded spot in the garden. Some species also tolerate the midday sun. Overall, however, a bed would be optimal, which provides shade for a few hours a day.
- sunny to partially shaded
- at least five to six hours of sun a day
- in drafty places, a windbreak may be necessary
Two things are especially important for the vegetables to grow really well:
- a good soil
- high quality seed
- alternatively preferred plantlets from the nursery
Good water-permeable, humus-rich garden soil is particularly suitable for a vegetable patch. If the soil is not optimal, it must be prepared accordingly before cultivation. If you are not sure what quality your garden floor has, you can order a soil analysis for just a few euros (sets available in garden centers or the pharmacy).
- Fertilize soil in autumn with compost
- possibly incorporate sand
- Dig in the spring again and loosen soil
- Remove stones, roots and weeds
Once the acreage has been determined and possibly already prepared, the actual, creative gardening begins. The selection of vegetables is made according to your own taste, so a gardener should think about which types of vegetables he would like to grow. Subsequently, the plants are divided into two groups:
- 1. Vegetables with long growing time (main crop): such as potatoes, cabbage, cucumbers and carrots
- 2. Vegetables with short growing time (pre- and postculture): such as spinach or bush beans
Tip: In order not to miss the time of sowing, planting and harvest, the dates should be noted early in the calendar.
Cold frame and raised bed
Covered beds or even a raised bed have been found to be ideal for the culture of cold-sensitive salad and vegetable plants. Here already in early spring, when the rest of the soil in the garden is possibly still frozen, already prevail higher temperatures, which prevents frost damage. Ideal to give the plants a good lead over the outdoor plants and harvest them early.
Mixed culture - what fits together?
In addition to the correct site conditions and soil characteristics, when planting a vegetable bed, the compatibility of the individual vegetable varieties with each other must be taken into account. Here one differentiates:
- Neutral plants: Can easily be combined with other plants
- Promotional plants: Certain combinations have a positive influence
- inhibiting plants: combinations that hinder each other's growth
- Carrots with chard, garlic, peas, radishes, tomatoes, salsify, onions
- Potatoes with beans, kohlrabi, horseradish, caraway
- Cauliflower with celery, peas and bush beans
- Zucchini with onions, runner beans and basil
- Cucumbers with fennel, cabbage, beetroot, lettuce, peas
Another important role in vegetable farming plays the crop rotation. By crop rotation is meant the order in which the vegetables are grown one after the other in the same bed. So not only can the nutrients in the soil be optimally utilized, but also diseases can be avoided. If a vegetable patch is laid out correctly, it contains high nutrient contents in the first spring. Therefore, it makes sense first to grow those types of vegetables that are heavy-consuming, that is, to extract high amounts of nutrients from the soil. Has proven the three-year crop rotation:
- First year: Mainly growing heavy-eating vegetables
- Second year: Plant medium-eating vegetables
- Third year: Cultivate medium to low-growing vegetables
Which vegetables can not be grown one after the other?
Plants belonging to the same plant family may not be planted on the same bed the following year. Here are two plant families particularly affected:
- Goosefoot plants (Chenopodiaceae): Swiss chard, beetroot, spinach
- Cruciferae (Brassiacaceae): radishes and radishes, all types of cabbage, turnips (such as turnips)
Four-field economy or four-year crop rotation
If you have more space in the garden, you should divide your bed into four areas or create four different beds. In the case of the four-field economy, the crop rotation model is applied to each of the four beds, each time shifted by one year. While a bed has a high nutrient content and is planted with high-depleting plants, there is also a bed of medium-draining plants and one that is cultivated with low-growing vegetables. The fourth bed is fallow for a year or undergoes a green manure to regenerate.
- Beet 1 green manure: growth conditions for future crops are optimized. In addition, a green manure suppresses the weeds and protects against soil erosion.
- Beet 2: first year of the triennial crop rotation
- Beet 3: second year of the three-year crop rotation (Mittelzehrer)
- Beet 4: third year of the triennial crop rotation
Which vegetables are among the heavyweights?
Particularly high nutrient contents in the soil require the following varieties. Therefore, they are planted in the year after the green manure or after fertilization with compost on the vegetable patch, for example:
In the second year, vegetables are needed that require medium nutrient levels. These include:
In the third year, only low levels of nutrients remain in the soil. In order to make optimal use of these as well, the following plants are recommended:
Examples of two flowerbeds:
- 1st year: cauliflower and broccoli
- 2nd year: strawberries
- 3rd year: strawberries
- 1st year: kohlrabi and savoy cabbage
- 2nd year: Chinese cabbage and endives
- 3rd year: annual herbs
- 1st year: potatoes
- 2nd year: celery and tomatoes
- 3rd year: salad and peas
Creating a vegetable patch is sometimes not that easy for beginners. The best way is to start small and cultivate only a small area, which is planted with different vegetables for crop rotation and mixed cultivation over three years. It is best to create an accurate three-year plan from the beginning, which should be followed meticulously during this time. More experienced gardeners can then include an additional pre- or postculture in the second year.