Inspiration and Tips For Designing Your Large Backyard 4'x8' Garden Bed
Are you new to plants, intimidated by expert-gardeners? Designing a garden to grow your own food is one of the most fulfilling hobbies and it's not as difficult as you may think to get started! The most important thing to keep in mind when planning your first (or 100th!) garden, is to learn from other growers' mistakes. With our tips, you'll cut the line to expert greenthumb-status.
Planning and planting a garden can be done in large or small spaces depending on what you have available. Here are our best tips for designing a large garden to be able to reap your own backyard bounty.
The growing window for plants can be anywhere from 1 week to 3 months of adequate temperatures in order for your plants to have time to mature to a harvestable size. When designing your large garden bed, keep in mind the climate zone you're in, and plan your garden accordingly. If you are planting in the early season, do not worry as much about the different varieties you are planting. However, when planting mid-summer or fall, check out what plants you can squeeze in before a potential frost!
Growing Speeds + Spacing
As stated above, some seeds take longer to grow and mature than others. When planning out your large garden make sure to think about varieties that may grow faster than others and will need to be harvested before the rest of your garden.
- Plan to harvest everything at once because of an impending end to the growing season. Plant smaller, fast-growing greens, herbs and radishes to pick in just a few weeks.
- With a longer lead-time, plant fruiting varieties such as tomatoes, cucumbers, or peppers with other long-producing plants like flowers and herbs.
- You can also stagger plants and harvest at different times with another technique. Try planting lettuce between rows of cucumbers and dill in your Backyard Seedsheet. Then, harvest the heads of lettuce first to give cucumbers and dill more space (where the lettuce was growing) to grow in and harvest later!
Along with different growing times, certain plants also have spacing requirements to account for. Take the guesswork out of gardening, Seedsheet already accounts for the spacing! Simply select the seed varieties you'd like, and we'll arrange them in your Seedsheet for the perfect row-plantings and a photo-ready garden.
PRO TIP: Cut the Backyard, 4'x8' Seedsheets to fit into your preferred garden bed size to customize the shape. Since we've already taken care of the in-row spacing, arrange the pre-portioned Seedsheet however you like based on the dimensions of your garden bed!
Certain seed varieties actually grow healthier when planted near others. Plant "companion species" together in your large garden bed and allow the plants to help one another grow. Some varieties have this symbiotic relationship to deter insect pests. Others work together with the nutrients in the soil, taking more of some nutrients in the soil and less of others. Certain varieties grow taller to shade others, creating a desirable cooler "microclimate" in the garden for shade-tolerant plants to thrive.
Examples of companion plants include:
- Tomatoes + Basil
- Tomatoes + Marigolds
- Corn, Beans, + Zucchini
- Lettuce + Onions
- Nasturtiums + Cucumbers
- Radishes + Spinach
- Cucumbers + Dill
- Carrots + Beans
- Beets + Kale
- Carrots + Cucumbers/Melons
PRO-TIP: When planting sweet corn in your large garden bed, make sure to plant in at least two neighboring rows so the corn silks can cross pollinate and produce more harvests. YUM!
Don't forget to plant flowers in order to attract pollinators to the garden! Cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, beans, and others rely on pollinator-visits to be able to produce their delicious fruit.
Calendula, zinnia, sunflowers and marigolds are beautiful, fast-growing flowers to plant. Blossoms in a large garden bed will not only draw beneficial insects (honeybees, ladybugs, etc), but will also add vibrant color to your bounty!