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Garden Plan

Design your garden to meet your needs. Careful planning reduces work and can make the garden more productive. Planting seeds and plants at random frequently results in waste and disappointment.

Consider the selected method of cultivation in designing your garden. Where the work is done with a tractor, long rows are practical; but when cultivation is by hand, short rows give a sense of accomplishment as work on each is completed.

Consider the slope of the land; run rows at right angles to the slope, especially on sandy-textured soils that tend to wash and erode. Where the land is uneven, contour the rows.

Rows for vegetables with small plants (carrots, onions, radishes, and others) can be closer together for hand cultivation than for power equipment. Planting double rows or a broad band on a bed can increase the yield from a small garden plot. Closely spaced rows and vegetable plants help shade out weeds, but the close spacing makes weeding difficult when plants are small.

Closely spaced plants reduce water loss from the soil surface by protecting the surface from drying winds and hot sun. The reduced air movement, however, may increase chances for diseases.

Plant perennial vegetables like asparagus where they won’t interfere with yearly land preparation. Plant season-long vegetables like tomatoes, okra, peppers, and eggplant together where they won’t interfere with short-term vegetables and replanting. Plant corn, okra, pole beans, tomatoes, and other tall vegetables on the north side of the garden so they won’t shade or interfere with the growth of shorter vegetables.

Sweet corn produces fuller ears when planted in a block of rows than in a long single row because of better pollination. When possible, group vegetables according to their lime and fertilizer needs, and treat accordingly. Southern peas, lima beans, snap beans, and peanuts do not require as much nitrogen fertilizer as some other vegetables.

See a sample garden plan.

Successive Planting, Long Season Can Reduce Garden Size

Gardening in Mississippi provides the opportunity to have something in the garden almost every month of the year.

The long growing season combined with successive plantings (growing more than one vegetable in the same space during the year) enables gardeners to reduce the size of their gardens.

As soon as one vegetable is harvested, clear the space and prepare to plant another vegetable. Empty row space produces nothing and provides a place for weeds to grow, while a small garden intensively planted and managed can be very productive.

For example, follow a spring planting of English peas with a late spring planting of cucumbers; then replant the space with fall bush snap beans, leafy greens, or late southern peas.

Another example is to follow early sweet corn with winter squash and pumpkins in early July. Spring Irish potatoes can be followed by lima beans or southern peas, which are followed by fall greens.

Practice crop rotation (planting nonrelated plants in the same location in successive plantings) where garden space permits. Crop rotation is a good practice to follow when you use the same garden site for several years because it helps prevent the buildup of diseases in the garden soil.

When growing only for fresh use, make small successive plantings of vegetables like snap beans, sweet corn, lettuce, radishes, leafy greens, and southern peas. Planting at 2-week intervals provides continuous fresh vegetables.

Plant only as much as your family can eat before the next planting begins to produce. If you plan to can and freeze as well as use fresh vegetables, plant more vegetables at one time to provide enough at harvest for preserving.

Expected yields are given for the different vegetables in the Planting Guide. Keep in mind that the yields given for some vegetables (tomatoes, peppers, okra, pole beans, and eggplant, for example) are for multiple harvests over a period of time.

Vegetables with extended harvest periods require only one planting during the season. However, with tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant, a second planting made in midsummer provides good quality vegetables for harvest in fall.

A second planting of okra, about 6 weeks after the first planting, has some benefit for late-season harvest, but you can get the same benefit by cutting the first planting back to a height of 3 to 4 feet in late summer.

Plant your garden according to a detailed plan on paper. A finished garden plan shows these things:

  • which vegetables to grow
  • number of different plantings of each vegetable
  • time and location of each planting
  • distance each row is to be planted from one end of the garden.

 

Spring Planting

onions, cabbage, lettuce, corn, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant

Summer Planting
lima beans, squash, cucumbers, peas, okra

Fall Planting
spinach, mustard, turnips, cauliflower, carrots, broccoli, beets

 

Related Vegetable Groups

Tomato

Eggplant

Irish Potato

Pepper

Snap Bean

Lima Bean

Peanut

Southern Pea

Cucumber

Squash

Pumpkin

Muskmelon

Watermelon

Cabbage

Broccoli

Turnip

Mustard

Collard

 

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Publications

Publication Number: P1782
Publication Number: P3076
Publication Number: P2364

News

Colorful flowers are planted next to a sign at the entrance of the North Bay Elementary School garden.
Filed Under: Master Gardener, Herb Gardens, Vegetable Gardens, Youth Gardening May 11, 2018

BILOXI, Miss. -- Students at North Bay Elementary School in Biloxi got another hands-on learning component this spring with the addition of a school garden.

Filed Under: Agriculture, Agricultural Economics, Flower Gardens, Herb Gardens, Vegetable Gardens May 7, 2018

GULFPORT, Miss. -- Mississippi producers and gardeners who want to learn more efficient planting methods are invited to a May 18 field day.

The Alliance of Sustainable Farms will host “A Garden Tour and Square Foot Gardening/Intensive Planting Demonstration” at the 34th Street Wholistic Gardens and Education Center. The event will focus on the square-foot gardening method, which is designed to save time, work, space and water.

A piece of hardware cloth encircles a small, layered pile of organic waste.
Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens, Vegetable Gardens March 20, 2018

Compost is a great soil conditioner. It helps the soil hold water and improves clay and sandy soils. Starting your own pile is easy and can help keep organic waste out of landfills. (Photo by Gary Bachman)

Miniature green bok choi plants grow in small window box containers.
Filed Under: Flower Gardens, Herb Gardens, Vegetable Gardens February 26, 2018

Intimidated by gardening? Yes?
Our advice: start small. You don’t have to commit to a half-acre garden. Try planting a few of your favorite vegetables in containers.
(Photo by Gary Bachman)

Long, narrow lavender flower petals open wide among the dark green leaves.
Filed Under: Master Gardener, Flower Gardens, Vegetable Gardens February 20, 2018

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- The Everything Garden Expo, presented by the Oktibbeha County Master Gardeners, will return to the Mississippi Horse Park on March 24 and 25.

Watch

Sharpening Your Tools
Southern Gardening

Sharpening Your Tools

Sunday, March 11, 2018 - 5:00am
Southern Blight on Tomatoes - MSU Extension Service
Extension Stories

Southern Blight on Tomatoes

Wednesday, May 3, 2017 - 3:45pm
Tomato Tips  - MSU Extension Service
Extension Stories

Tomato Tips

Tuesday, April 25, 2017 - 3:00pm
Winter Gardens
Southern Gardening

Winter Gardens

Saturday, January 16, 2016 - 6:00pm

Listen

Monday, April 2, 2018 - 3:00am
Thursday, February 1, 2018 - 2:00am
Wednesday, January 31, 2018 - 2:00am
Thursday, November 16, 2017 - 2:45am

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Your Extension Experts

Extension/Research Professor
Greenhouse Tomatoes and other vegetables, Field Vegetables, Mushrooms