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Designing a vegetable plot from scratch

Having moved to the new house I am planning on putting in a vegetable plot and am starting from a blank canvass so to speak. I want to get this right so have been trying to think of all the factors I need to take into account.

I have a reasonable amount of space although the sight is on a slope so am thinking about putting in raised beds (also helpful when I am getting older and wont like the bending so much).

As a starter I amk thinking I need to incorporate:


Water supply

Three seperate veg beds for rotation purposes (do I need a fourth?)

Soft fruit area

I dont need to worry about fruit trees (already have 51 of those) and flower beds as I can incorporate them elsewhere in the garden.

Ok what would you add to the list of things I should incorporate into my planning?


  • Kitty 2Kitty 2 ManchesterPosts: 5,150

    Compost bins, maybe some sort of storage for tools etc and the all important seat for tea breaks.

  • Cold frame is very useful feature to have

  • Yes I am currently building myself a three compartment compost bin and I have three shed already (maybe I need a larger forth shed though). I need to think about where to collect and store the leaves given that we have so many trees.

    Cold frame, yes I had forgotten that, thank you.



  • Kitty 2Kitty 2 ManchesterPosts: 5,150

    Lovely leaf mold Richard image You can make a simple cage with posts and chicken wire if you have lots of space. I use the black bin bag method, I'm short on space and leaves.

  • It took me ages to suss rotation Richard, but think the essentials are:

    Number of beds - irrespective of the crops grown, you're effectively giving yourself that number of years for any beasties/funguses to die off without their host food, so the more the merrier.

    Where I got befuddled was in that the areas all need to be the same size, or you'll be rotating eg 100 onions into space for 50, or 150!). So, if there are space restrictions, you're kind of commiting to devote as much of your plot to brassicas are you are to onions, which may not suit.  Of course, beds can be shared, but then there may be a slight compromise on the rotation.

    Given the above, it's easiest if the beds themselves are the same size, and best if they each contain a single group of (rotation-needing) crops.  So I think I'm right in saying that brassicas, potatoes, alliums & legumes are usually considered as needing rotation, so you'd need 4 beds of a size big enough to grow what you need of any one of these - potatoes I think take the most space per kg of crop, so the number of potatoes you want may dictate the size of your overall plot.  You may then find yourself with more onions than you could sell at a weekly market stall(!), but you can plant half the onion bed with non-rotating crops (eg I stick a courgette in with mine, and one in with my legumes), or leave it fallow.

    I think (but I haven't done this myself) that halving the size of, and doubling the number of, beds should make things easier as it must be more flexible.

    Good luck!  Finally, I've found Joy Larkcom's book indispensible - crammed with, not pictures, but words, lots of lots and them, on every aspect of growing crops!

    Last edited: 26 September 2016 15:09:55

  • Decide whether you need rabbit fencing.

    Work out the biggest greenhouse you can afford, then choose a bigger one - no gardener ever said 'I wish my greenhouse was a bit smaller'.

    Don't waste too much space on over-wide paths between beds.

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