Plan vegetable garden - my first small self-catering garden

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Plan vegetable garden - my first small self-catering garden: self-catering

With a self-catering garden, food scandals and food contaminated with pesticides are losing their horror. In order to fully regain responsibility for your diet over time, having your own vegetable garden is an important first step. Careful planning effectively prevents discouraging failures. This guide sheds light on everything from A to Z, Fence, all stages to your first small self-catering garden. To plan your vegetable garden with expertise.

Acreage - Experience as a planning approach

In order to determine the correct size of the acreage, no general rule of thumb is available. Rather, your individual wishes and requirements determine the size of the first small self-catering garden. For the start, it is sufficient if the acreage ensures a partial supply or extensive self-sufficiency of your family. Once a sufficient amount of experience has accumulated, the step towards complete self-sufficiency no longer requires horticultural force acts. The following information serves as a guide to a practical planning approach for your vegetable garden:
  • Partial self-catering: 25 m² per person
  • Extensive self-catering: 70 m² per person
  • Full self-catering: 170 m² per person
These areas include the cultivation of vegetables and herbs as well as the space required for work paths and compost areas. In the context of complete self-sufficiency, acreage for soft fruit is also planned.

site conditions

cottage garden

If you have discovered a surface with the recommended dimensions, you should subject the light, temperature and soil conditions to a thorough inspection. These characteristics make the ideal location for a vegetable garden:
  • Sunny to partially shaded location
  • Protected against strong wind and yet airy
  • Preferably in the immediate vicinity of the house
  • Loose, nutritious soil, sandy-loamy with low clay content
  • Structure-stable, yet permeable soil
  • Fresh to moist, with no tendency to waterlogging
If the soil quality does not meet the ideal conditions, compensate for smaller deficits with soil additives. With sandy soil, you can use compost, clay soil or bark humus to give you better storage capacity for water and nutrients. Compacted soil will be looser and more permeable if you incorporate quartz sand or fine grit. If you are struggling with too much wind exposure, create a wind-protected microclimate with a hedge of shrubs as the enclosure.

Arrangement of beds - cottage garden with role model function

In order to make an informed decision about the correct arrangement of the beds, please take a piece of paper. Sketch to scale the available garden area, with notes on the local soil and lighting conditions. When planning your first small vegetable garden for self-sufficiency, we recommend relying on the historic experiences of farming and monastery gardens. Based on this know-how, you will develop your individual garden concept over the years. This arrangement of the beds has been proven in practice for centuries for a high yielding vegetables:
  • 4 rectangular beds with a practicable width of 1.20 m
  • In length matched to the available total area
  • Crossroads and a circular path as access to the flower beds
A structured appearance is created with borders for each bed and a fence as a fence for the entire kitchen garden. You can refer back to this plan later for the creation of the planting plan.

Sketch of a cottage garden

Tip: Only with a compost pile and a rain barrel or a water connection is the planning for your first small self-sufficient garden complete. As water and nutrient supply is the mainstay of the care program, liquid water and organic fertilizer should always be within reach.

Path planning - the basis for rational work

The unhindered access of dry feet to the beds in all weather conditions is a prerequisite for the smooth running of planting and care work in the vegetable garden. The width of the paths is sized so that you can easily maneuver here with a wheelbarrow. Therefore, plan a width of 80 to 100 cm for each path. If it is already clear in advance that 2 people at the same time take care of the self-catering garden, we recommend a path width of 150 cm. As a cover you have a wide range of suitable materials available:
  • Bark mulch and sawdust: close to nature, suppress weeds, must be replenished regularly
  • Wood slices laid in sand, gravel or earth: own production and laying possible, but slippery in wet conditions
  • Klee: is sown anew every year, clippings serve as mulching material, let rainwater seep away quickly
  • Lawn: a durable, decorative roadway that needs to be regularly mowed and tipped
  • Sand and gravel: not recommended for the small vegetable garden due to the high maintenance costs
Demanding in the creation are paths made of natural stone slabs. Once the initial effort has been mastered, these linings will remain with you for many years without the need for regular, time-consuming maintenance work. In the ecologically managed vegetable garden, weeds like to grow out between the plates, which underlines the natural character.


By providing each bed with a border, you underline a neat appearance and promote the local microclimate for your vegetables. A variety of decorative options leaves plenty of scope for your personal taste. The following recommendations may serve your inspiration:
  • Wooden boards or mini palisades: stable, durable and easy to care for
  • Clinker or stone: massive demarcation, but expensive to buy
  • Small shrubs and perennials: true to nature, harmonize well with vegetables, require regular care
In the classic cottage garden, small trees were traditionally used as edging for vegetable beds. Since the emergence of boxwood and shoot extinction, other plants have taken over this function. Highly prized for the first small self-catering garden are easy-care species such as evergreen mountain Ilex (Ilex crenata), dwarf privet (Ligustrum vulgare), fragrant lavender (Lavender officinalis) or the adorable dwarf shrub straw flower (Helichrysum italicum).

Einfrieden Gemüsegarten - Tips for the ideal fence

Staketenzaun with ivy

With a fence you visually distinguish your vegetable garden and keep uninvited guests away. Even if your small self-catering garden is located inside an already fenced area, we recommend an enclosure, which may be lower in this case. The following tips show the wide range of attractive and practical fences:
  • Wooden fence made of spruce or larch slats and oak corner posts, 120-150 cm high
  • Wicker fence made of willow branches or hazelnut branches between vertical posts
  • Staketenzaun, hunter fence made of larch slats between oak posts with brackets made of ash
  • Living fence in the form of a hedge of evergreen and / or summer green shrubs
A simple wooden fence gives you a picturesque accent with flowering fence sugar. Sunflowers (Helianthus), clematis (Clematis) and hollyhocks (Alcea) are very beautiful here.
Tip: One or the other space problem is solved with a vertical bed. Here, fences, pergola or house wall turn into a space-saving acreage. A variety of sophisticated, weatherproof planting systems offers the specialized trade. From the plant bag to the man-high, vertical raised bed, the selection extends.

Mixed culture - ideal planting system in the vegetable patch

As a planting system for your first small self-catering garden we would like to recommend the proven mixed culture within the individual beds. This term describes the cultivation of different crops with similar nutrient requirements in the immediate vicinity of the same bed. By changing the bed in the context of the crop rotation, high, medium and light eaters each year, the soil is not leached and it can accumulate no pathogenic agents. The aim of this cultivation is therefore the targeted prevention of soil fatigue, diseases and pests.
The following examples illustrate the procedure for an effective planning of the planting within the individual beds: Onions and carrots divide the bed, prevent onions the carrot fly. A dream team are cabbage and celery, because they protect each other from the cabbage white and celery rust. If you add radishes to lettuce, you will not be able to find crafty earth fleas. Also advantageous is the mixed culture after rooting.
Deep roots, such as beans, squash or savoy cabbage harmonize wonderfully with shallow roots, such as peas, spinach or lamb's lettuce, because their roots do not come into the enclosure. Of course, there are also neighbors who interfere with each other in the vegetable patch in growth and yield. In the expert mixed culture, therefore, peas are not planted next to beans or tomatoes in close proximity to potatoes.

Plan crop rotation of heavy and light eaters properly

cottage garden

Within each bed, the mixed crop guarantees the best harvest results for the current season. In addition, by taking into account the proven crop rotation from year to year, you make another contribution against soil fatigue, diseases and pests. For this purpose, in the first year, plant bed 1 with heavy eaters, bed 2 with medium eaters, and bed 3 with low-growing vegetables. In the following year, Beet 3 picks up the starvation markers, Beet 2 picks up the feeble-eaters, and in Beet 1 the medium-depleting plants thrive. If you continue in this change, you will rarely have to complain about diseases, pests or miserable harvests in your first vegetable garden.
  • Starkeeper: celery, all types of cabbage, squash, tomatoes, zucchini and potatoes
  • Mittelzehrer: Runner beans, onions, leeks, peppers and chard
  • Weak drawers: peas, carrots, bush beans and most herbs
If you have planned a fourth bed in the plan, grow here multi-annual, true to the original vegetables, such as rhubarb. In addition, a niche should be planned for stinging nettles and comfrey to produce rich, organic fertilizers in the form of plant manure from these plants.
The art of expert planning lies in the sensible combination of mixed culture and crop rotation. Plants with the same nutrient requirements are not always suitable as bed neighbors. The pea and bean socialization is a typical example of an unfavorable mixed culture, although they are both among the weakworms.
Tip: Mix flowers under the vegetables, not only beautify the appearance. With the right combination of ornamental and useful plants you can optimize the immune system against diseases and pests. Thus, tagetes and marigolds have been shown to prevent lice, nematodes and viruses.
With the planning of the first vegetable garden, the dream of a self-sufficient garden is within reach. Already an area of ​​25 square meters per person is enough to regularly enjoy fresh vegetables grown on their own. Four equal sized beds with a crossroads and an enclosure give the first step to a self-sufficient life structure and form. Plan for planting a mixed crop with annual crop rotation, soil life remains active and pathogenic pathogens have bad maps. If the debut succeeds, over the years you will gain valuable experience in organic vegetable farming for a completely independent self-sufficiency.

Video Board: My Mother in Law's Inexpensive Raised Bed Garden - No More Poor Soil!.

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