Home Vegetable Gardening
A Complete &
Practical Guide To The Planting & Care Of Vegetables,
Fruits & Berries
Chapter 4: The Planting
the garden spot, the next consideration, naturally, is what
will be planted.
The old way was to pick out
some seeds from your local supermarket or garden center, pick
out a list of the vegetables most enthusiastically recommended
by the garden
center clerk, and then, when the time came, to put them in at
one or two plantings, sowing each kind as far as the seed
There is a better way — a way to make the
garden produce more, to yield things when you want them, and
in the proper proportions.
All these advantages, you may suppose, must
mean more work. On the contrary, however, the new way makes
very much less work and makes results a hundred per cent more
certain. It is not necessary even that more thought be put
upon the garden, but forethought there must be. Forethought,
however, is much more satisfactory than
In the new way of gardening there are
four great helps, four things that will be of great assistance
to the experienced gardener, and that are indispensable to the
success of the beginner. They are the Planting
Plan, the Planting Table, the
Check List and the Garden
Don't become discouraged at the
formidable sound of that paragraph and decide that after all
you do not want to fuss so much over your garden; that you are
doing it for the fun of the thing anyway, and such intricate
systems will not be worth bothering with. The purpose of those
four garden helps is simply to make your work less and your
returns more. You might just as well refuse to use a
rototiller because the trowel was good enough for your
grandmother's garden, as to refuse to take advantage of the
modern garden methods described in this chapter.
Without using them to some
extent, or in some modified form, you can never know just what
you are doing with your garden or what improvements to make
next year. Of course, each of the plans
or lists suggested here is only one of many possible
combinations. You should be able to find, or better still to
construct, similar ones better suited to your individual
taste, need and opportunity. That, however, does not lessen
the necessity of using some such system. It is just as
necessary an aid to the maximum efficiency in gardening as are
Don't fear that you
will waste time on the planting plan. Master it and use it,
for only then can you make your garden time count the most in
producing results. In the average small garden there is a
very large percentage of waste — for two weeks, more string
beans than can be eaten or given away; and then, for a month,
none at all, for instance. You should determine ahead as
nearly as possible how much of each vegetable your table will
require and then try to grow enough of each for a continuous
supply, and no more. This is what the planting plan enables
you to do. I'll describe, as briefly as possible, forms of the
planting plan, planting table, check list and record, which
I've found convenient to use.
To make the Planting Plan,
take a sheet of white paper and a ruler and mark off a space
the shape of your garden — which should be rectangular if
possible — using a scale of one-quarter or one-eighth inch to
the foot. Rows fifty feet long will be found, a convenient
length for the average home garden. In a garden where many
varieties of things are grown it will be best to run the rows
the short way of the piece.
We'll take a fifty-foot row
for the purpose of illustration, though of course it can
readily be changed in proportion where rows of that length
cannot conveniently be made. In a very small garden it will be
better to make the row, say, twenty-five feet long, the aim
being always to keep the row a unit and have as few broken
ones as possible, and still not to have to plant more of
any one thing than will be needed.
In assigning space for the
various vegetables several things should be kept in mind in
order to facilitate planting, replanting and cultivating the
garden. These can most quickly be realized by a glance at the
plan illustrated herein.
You'll notice that crops that
remain several years — rhubarb and asparagus — are kept at one
end. Next come those that will remain a whole season —
parsnips, carrots, onions and the like. Finally, those that
will be used for a succession of crops — peas, lettuce,
spinach; moreover, tall-growing crops, like pole beans, are
kept to the north of lower ones. In the plan illustrated, the
space given to each variety is allotted according to the
proportion in which they are ordinarily used. If it
happens that you have a special weakness for peas, or your
mother-in-law an aversion to peppers, keep these tastes and
similar ones in mind when laying out your planting
Don't leave the
planning of your garden until you're ready to put the seeds in
the ground and then do it all in a rush. Do it in January, as
soon as you've received the New Year's catalogs and when you
have time to study over them and look up your record of the
previous year. Every hour spent on the plan will mean several
hours saved in the garden.
Table is the next important system in the business of
gardening, especially for the beginner. In it one can see at a
glance all the details of the particular treatment each
vegetable requires — when to sow, how deep, how far apart the
rows should be, etc. I remember how many trips from
garden to house
to hunt through catalogs for just such information I made in
my first two seasons' gardening. How much
time, just at the very busiest season of the whole year, such
a table would have saved!
Table prepared for one's own use should show, besides
the information given, the varieties of each vegetable which
experience has proved best adapted to one's own needs. The
table shown herein gives such a list; varieties which are for
the most part standard favorites and all of which, with me,
have proven reliable, productive and of good quality. Other
good sorts will be found described in Part Two. Such a table
should be mounted on cardboard and kept where it may readily
be referred to at planting time.
List is the counterpart of the planting table, so
arranged that its use will prevent anything from being
overlooked or left until too late. Prepare it ahead, some time
in January, when you have time to think of everything. Make it
up from your planting table and from the previous year's
record. From this list it will be well to put down on a sheet
of paper the things to be done each month (or week) and cross
them off as they are attended to. Without some such system
it's almost a certainty that you'll overlook some important
Record is no less important. It may be kept in the
simplest sort of way, but be sure to keep it. A large piece of
paper ruled as follows, for instance, will require only a few
minutes' attention each week and yet will prove to be of the
greatest assistance in planning.
Vegetable Garden Record
||Not best quality. Try other
||Rusted. Spray next year|
||Too many. 6 poles next
||Rotted. Try May 25|
||Injured by worms. Hellebore next
Click Here To Go To In-Depth Planting
The above shows how such a record
should be kept. Of course, only the first column is written in
ahead of time. I want to emphasize in passing,
however, the importance of putting down your data on the day
you plant, or harvest, or notice anything worth recording. If
you let it go until tomorrow it's very apt to be lacking next
Try these four
short-cuts to success, even if you've had a garden
before. They will make a big difference in your garden; less
work and greater results.
Send for catalogs. Make planting plan and table. Order
Inside: cabbage, cauliflower, first sowing. Onions for
Inside: lettuce, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts,
Inside: lettuce, celery, tomato (early).
Inside: lettuce, tomato (main), eggplant, pepper, lima beans,
cucumber, squash; sprout potatoes in sand.
Inside: cauliflower (on sods), muskmelon, watermelon, corn.
Outside: (seed-bed) celery, cabbage,
lettuce. Onions, carrots, smooth peas, spinach, beets, chard,
parsnip, turnip, radish. Lettuce, cabbage (plants).
Beans, corn, spinach, lettuce, radish.
Beans, limas, muskmelon, watermelon, summer squash, peas,
potatoes, lettuce, radish, tomato (early), corn, limas, melon,
cucumber and squash (plants).
Pole-lima, beets, corn, kale,
winter squash, pumpkin, lettuce, radish.
Beans, carrots, corn, cucumber, peas, summer spinach, summer
lettuce, radish, egg-plant, pepper, tomato (main plants).
Beans, corn, peas, turnip, summer lettuce, radish, late
cabbage, and tomato plants.
Beans, endive, kale, lettuce, radish, winter cabbage,
cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and celery plants.
Beans, early corn, early peas, lettuce, radish.
Early peas, lettuce, radish.
Early peas, lettuce, radish in seed-bed, forcing lettuce for
fall in frames.
Lettuce, radish, spinach and onions for wintering over.
NOTE.--This list is for planting only (the dates are
approximate: see note I at the end of the chapter).
Spraying and other garden
operations may also be included in such a list.
See Calendar of
Here To Go To In-Depth Planting Tables