How would you plant a 24ft x18ft garden bed

Homestead Hubby
Homestead Hubby Posts: 40 ✭✭✭
edited November 2020 in Garden Design

Hey friends.

I have inherited a garden bed that is ready to be planted. I am curious how you would break it up and plant. Its my first year with this size and scope. Let me know if you have more questions. Only one corner is locked in as it is 3 rhubarb plants.

Thanks in advance.


  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,519 admin
    edited May 2020

    @Homestead Hubby Are you asking what type of garden plan, as in, what to plant where (design)?

    I will be revisiting my plan as I start up my large garden from scratch. My plan included a 3 year rotation. I put a lot of effort into trying to figure out what suited my space. I wanted to try wide row planting (take width) mixed with a block bed (say, 4×6) situation. Not all plants did well with this idea. Peas in particular did not. It was easy to sow, but not easy picking.

    I had a walking path down the length. I had beds around the perimeter with a fence to keep the dog out & for climbing plants. I planted in blocks of 4×whatever they were (my "rectangle" gets wider to one end) with paths separating them. I wanted to be able to reach into the middle of each bed. Length wasn't a huge issue. I wanted the paths to be able to accommodate a tiller/push mower. I used sticks & colored twine to mark my beds initially, and brought in old dead slender trees to more permanently mark my spaces through the season. These were removed in fall. I might skip doing the dead tree thing this year. Those were heavy to move and grasses & weeds like those more protected spaces beside the logs.

    I kept in mind where there was shade, part shade & sun, where the soil was heavier due to clay, heights of plants, heavy feeders & those that build soil, which plants do well together & those that do not. Tall plants (corn) were to the north. Other years, these would shift east-west, but remain to the north. My garden is east-west length wise. My rows were oriented north-south like my Grandpa's always was.

    I interspersed flowers so as to encourage bees & beneficial insects as well as add interest.

    Some things in my plan will certainly change this year, as I am focusing on what we most need as opposed to extras, and somewhere I want to have a medicinal herb component. Some of these will need a permanent space. Peas didn't do well in a wide row block situation. I will make sure that they are set up in rows maybe in the middle of each block this year.

    I am leaning toward also having the inside perimeter tilled on a regular basis to keep external invasive grasses from creeping inward. It's hard enough fighting what is already in the garden area. I may not do a center path but instead, have it look more like a super wide ladder, with the ladder's wooden parts being the paths and the rungs being close together. As I said, I will be reworking my plan. I still have a bit of time. My garden is still too wet to plant & for us, it is still too cold.

    I have had chickens in some of the space & 2 young heifers grazed down old grasses, added spots of manure & actually broke up some of the grassy layer. We just need to spread some of the chicken waste out and mix everything in.

    I may/may not do a small chicken tractor to put chickens in to move up & down the rows.

    In fall, I hope to plant a winter cover crop to till down when it is time in spring. I considered planting a cover crop that would be in my paths, that I could mow. That is where a mower comes into my thinking.

    I had wanted to try a hugelcultur bed, but I am doubting that will happen this year.

    Hopefully this gives you some ideas. I would be interested in what you found helpful or any suggestions. Let me know how you proceed too. Learning from others is good.

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,640 admin

    My advice is to make sure you leave enough room for any perennials you choose to grow. They are generally such little babies when you bring them home but they will quickly take over the space you have allotted for them. They are very satisfying because you have an instant garden as opposed to waiting for seeds to pop up.

    For your first time gardening stick to what you know and like and then venture out into other species that are new to you.

    Lots of soil preparation! Dig deep the first time you dig. Add lots of compost and/or composted manure.

    As @LaurieLovesLearning has mentioned, watch for the sun passing over your garden; note when and where the sun is and where you have shaded areas. Lettuce does not do well in the heat of afternoon sun.

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,519 admin

    As @torey mentioned, garden soil prep is very important. It can save you a lot of work later. She has good advice in her post.

    Lettuce can often be grown in the shade of other garden plants.

    I am sorry, I never even considered that this could be your first garden. If that is your situation, start small. Maybe plant a section of garden (basics) & build the soil in the other section for a first year. If you go too big too fast, you could become discouraged. Don't overdo it. Have fun!

  • OhiohillsLouise
    OhiohillsLouise Posts: 120 ✭✭✭

    Such a big question that could probably be answered in many different ways. So much good advice is already listed. Decide what you want and your preferred way of growing. Raised beds, in blocks, rows etc. I prefer beds for many things like greens, but still revert to row planting for other things like tomatoes. Whatever you decide just make sure you write it all down. It is so important to know what you planted where for planning the next two years. Whew, so much more but I will leave for others.

  • dipat2005
    dipat2005 Posts: 1,279 ✭✭✭✭

    @Homestead Hubby You are so lucky to have a garden prepped and ready to go. There is a lot of good advice about how to pl ant your garden and which way for the garden to face. It is important to remember and think about what works best for you. If it was me I would break it up into more manageable pieces with paths in between. You might want to try several different things and then next year use what you have found. In the past I have tried 6 foot and 4 foot gardens and found that the stretch didn't work for me. Then I tried 6 foot by 3 foot gardens with paths in between. The latter one worked so much better. I have a tendency to mark my garden into 1 foot spaces. The amount of food you can grow in a one foot space is amazing!! Good luck with your large garden space. Keep us posted on what works and what didn't work.

  • silvertipgrizz
    silvertipgrizz Posts: 1,990 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Homestead Hubby Is the bed raised with side walls? Or is it prepped ground/soil? Can you post a pix, if you have time?

    The number one rule when planning a garden is 'plant what you and yours will eat'. Although now in the times we are facing, I would certainly plant 'nutrient DENSE' veggies! Always make sure, if you can, to plant more than one or two species of the same veggie so if one is afflicted with some kind of kill off varment/bugs/fungus...etc, you and yours do not starve because of it, like in the Irish Potato Famine.

    If it were my garden bed, I would section it off depending on what I was planting and companion plant as much as I could and keep a good record for reference over the winter so you can always be 'improving' it in what ever way you think might be necessary, aesthetically speaking as well.

    Do you know what the last crops were that was planted in the bed and has that been recent so you can rotate if necessary?

    Have great fun and reap great harvests how ever you plant to build your space and keep us updated as you have time.

  • kbmbillups1
    kbmbillups1 Posts: 1,377 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Like others have said you should plant what your family will eat. You need to know what grows well in your area at this time of year. In my area I still see a lot of different greens, broccoli, cauliflower, etc available but until recently I've had much better luck growing those in the winter. The moths and butterflies love laying eggs under the leaves and if you don't check the lower leaves once a week caterpillars galore! This year I'm still growing all of them but soon I will have to amend my bed for summer veggies.

    Also like others have said if you don't know what was planted in each spot last year you might get lucky and have no issues or you might not. I rotate where I plant my tomatoes every year to try to keep blight at bay. Last year was my best year yet even though the blight won in the end.

    I know others have said to plant flower as well as planting companion plants. I'm still learning which ones grow best with other too.

    Good luck!

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,519 admin

    @Homestead Hubby As was stated, keep a record...or your plans & take notes through the season. Make sure the variety of each is listed along with problems that might arise. Mark if the plants grew poorly (and why, if you know), if they were spectacular, and things of that sort.

    Some people make a little cubby or use a handy mailbox to store their notebook & pencil & handy little tools right at the garden entry to keep them both available for quick notes & reference & to keep them dry. I think it's a great idea & can be simple or a nice garden feature.

  • Homestead Hubby
    Homestead Hubby Posts: 40 ✭✭✭

    Thanks all. I do have experience but appreciate the in depthness. I have some good things to think about. Mainly I was hoping for more layout suggestions and I do believe I have some things to work with here.

    It is ground level and not a raised bed. See below for those that asked. @silvertipgrizz

    I record keep in a notebook and on Goodnotes an app I can draw in and on pictures and works on all my iOS devices

    Thanks again.

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,519 admin

    I will be trying square foot planting with a homemade tool patterned after the seeding square design. I am hoping to interplant/companion plant using this to save on space & hopefully increase yield & cut down on weeds.

    With my extra space that I hope I find, I want to use it for a small patch of grains. My youngest boy wants a field of his own. 🌱🚜🌱😀 His dream is to have his own farm.

  • Homestead Hubby
    Homestead Hubby Posts: 40 ✭✭✭
  • Homestead Hubby
    Homestead Hubby Posts: 40 ✭✭✭

    Forgot my pics

  • silvertipgrizz
    silvertipgrizz Posts: 1,990 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @LaurieLovesLearning What is a seedling square tool?

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,519 admin

    @silvertipgrizz It is a 1' ×1' square with holes in it so that plants are planted at proper spacing in each square of a square foot garden bed.

  • silvertipgrizz
    silvertipgrizz Posts: 1,990 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @LaurieLovesLearning I thought that might be it but didn't want to miss learning something new so thanks much!

    So how was the banana split cake?

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,519 admin

    @silvertipgrizz I haven't made it. We've been cutting back on a lot of "sweets" baking.

  • DebiB
    DebiB Posts: 92 ✭✭✭

    @Homestead Hubby That is a nice looking garden bed with well defined edges, black soil and a small helper who looks ready to help dig up the bed for you. I love all the suggestions thus far and I have to admit that the direction you go with this garden depends on what you are looking for in a garden. Personally, I would make sure there is a pathway in the garden bed so you don’t have to walk on the planted areas when you are taking care of the garden. Then I tend to plant in blocks, kind of like an expanded version of square foot gardening. An example would be instead of intensively planting a 1 foot block of beets it might be 2 or 3 feet wide depending on how many I’m looking to grow and how much space is available. If the small helper in the picture wants to help with gardening you may want to give him/her a spot to grow things they like. My son always wanted to grow big sunflowers, he thought they were the neatest things. Just some ideas...

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,519 admin

    @Homestead Hubby To build on Debi's idea, plant some fast growing snack type plants, nice smelling herbs for tea, or tasty (to nibble on fresh) or large (pumpkin for jack-o-lantern) to wow your tiny gardener. Put a few flowers in as well. Make sure they are edible types.

  • Melinda
    Melinda Posts: 123 ✭✭✭

    This is my plan for a similar size. But you should totally only plant what y’all will eat.

  • Obiora E
    Obiora E Posts: 517 ✭✭✭✭

    @Homestead Hubby I would recommend dividing up the large bed into various sections and planting a small garden in the section(s) that you create. I did the first time that I grew food in a raised bed some years ago and it worked well. I ended up having 5 gardens in one bed using principles of companion planting.