Planning Your Plot

General Information

Planning the layout in the Plot:

  Entrance:

  • Wide enough to bring in a wheelbarrow & move freely
  • Close to the water source

  Pathways: ease of access is important!

  • Main path: a good practice is to make the path a wheelbarrow width from front to back of plot.
  • Ensure a straight pathway for the hose, otherwise, it may travel across beds knocking down crops or edges of built-up beds.
  • Secondary paths—those in between beds, should be wide enough to work & turn around in without running into any plants.
  • Recommended: 14” – 18” pathways between beds & a minimum of 12” around the perimeter of your plot. (This space will help you keep it weed-free.)
  • Consider the area at back (or front) of plot for storage of materials such as hay & mulch. Don’t forget the hose, tools, stakes, etc. 3 feet works great at the back of the plot.

Planning what to plant

  • What do you want to grow?  
  • Know what each plant needs to grow successfully
  • Seed or transplant?
  • Spacing of individual plants?
  • How much overall space should be allotted to each crop?
  • Does the plant require support or trellising?
  • Best practice: Plant tall crops where they will not shade other plants, nor grow into the neighboring plots.

Climate

  • Maritime – we have a “temperate” climate, with varying temperature ranges, depending on where we garden. Oftentimes, we have a cloud cover that keeps the temperature cooler. Heat units don’t normally build up here in our area. We do have an extended growing season because the temperatures are typically mild, so there are many choices for growing, especially the cool-season crops.

When to plant

  • This is completely dependent on the last frost date and most importantly, the current weather conditions.
  • Don’t gauge when to plant by availability of plants at the nurseries & stores. The stores often stock the plants according to what they receive from the growers, and the selections are often geared towards warmer climates.
  • Each seed packet has general information on the back. Typically, there will be a description of the plant; height at maturity; days to harvest; planting depth; light / soil / water & fertilizing requirements; growth habit (upright, open, climber) and suggested uses. When in doubt, ask other gardeners.
  • It is possible to plant earlier, but if you decide to do so, understand the plant’s needs.  Cool-season crops can tolerate low nighttime temperatures, but not warm-season crops (tomatoes, cucumbers, melons, eggplant, okra, peppers, basil and others). Plan on giving the warm-season crops extra protection because they prefer warmer nights. Some plants start into a dormancy cycle at 50 – 55° F. There are various methods for creating a protected, warmer, miniature “greenhouse-type” space for those warm-season crops to ensure success until summer temperatures are consistent. When in doubt—ask!
  • Crop Information 2019

Information provided by MCGA gardener Kate Holliday