So while Free garden plans are good they are limited especially if a gardener wants to practice cover crop planting. I am not sure that an electronic planner could help much with true cover crop organic garden planning.
Whether you have a raised bed vegetable garden, container vegetable garden, small vegetable garden or large vegetable garden, I think the best way, is to lay out a garden on paper. Although with vegetable planning software whether free or purchased the spacing is already programmed; so if researching each plant is a problem the best solution would be a vegetable garden planner and why not they're Free.
Organic gardening is the same whether it is in a pot, in a raised bed or just tilled up ground. Soil and plant health are key.
In general terms the following information is needed:
- Type of vegetable you want to grow(cool and.or warm)
- How much space does is take (it’s footprint)
- How much time to maturity
- What is the best time to plant (cold weather crop or warm weather crop)
- What are the companion plants
- What does the soil require for the plant
Once that is decided the rest comes together.
Second question is How much space do I have? And since that depends on what you want to grow we will look at species first.
Vegetable gardens for most of the world can be broken down into two planting types; Cold weather crops or vegetables and Warm weather crops or vegetables.
Planting cold weather vegetables is done twice per year in areas with longer growing seasons (6 months or more). Planting can be done just as soon as ground is plantable (unfrozen). Ground is not warm to the tough but is workable (not overly muddy).
Planting warm weather vegetables is done after the ground is warm, the days of sunshine is longer and ALL danger of frost has past.
COLD WEATHER ORWINTER WEATHER VEGETABLES
RADISHES TURNIPS BEETS ALL LETTUCE’S KALE
SWISS CHARD COLLARDS BRUSSELS SPROUTS ONIONS
If you are planting any of the above vegetables they are the first ones you will plant and the first ones that will finish. Most cool weather vegetables are mature and out of the garden within about 25 to 45 days; a month to month and one half; which is usually perfect timing for the warm weather vegetables to be planted.
Here in MO, I am in climate zone 5b so my cold weather vegetables get planted in about the second week in April and are done by the end of May. The middle to end of May is when the warm weather vegetables are planted usually in the form of seedlings. This is perfect timing!
Each climate zone will have different times to plant so check your ZONE, here is the USDA chart .
You can click on your state to see what zone you are in.
For a Freeze chart map go to http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/freezefrost/frostfreemaps.html
Click on high resolution and further click on VIEW, ZOOM IN to see clerly the last Frost date in Spring or Fall.
WHY CHECK THE FREEZE CHART? The last freeze date will change each year. This chart gives you an approximate 2 week window. For cool weather vegetables I use the first date because I learned that cool weather crops survive mild frosts so if the chart is slightly off or we get a freak frost it is doubtful that the vegetable will be ruined. No worries.
COOL WEATHER PLANTS...HOW TO DECIDE WHICH ARE BEST FOR YOUR AREA. Go to cool weather vegetable plants.
WARM WEATHER OR SUMMER VEGETABLES:
TOMATOES PEPPERS BEANS CORN SQUASHES
BROCCOLI OKRA EGG PLANT MELONS CUCUMBERS
WARM WEATHER PLANTS...HOW TO DECIDE WHICH ARE BEST FOR YOUR AREA. Go to warm weather vegetable plants