This is one part of a series of garden layout plans I created recently. In this image, you can see a potential layout for a small 4×4 ft garden bed for USDA zones 7-8. (I also created sample layout plans for zones 5-6 and 9-10, for full sun and for more shaded spots.)
The client requested layout and planting plans that beginner or intermediate gardeners could follow to grow common annual crops in the different US climate zones. The idea was to demonstrate the basics of companion planting and crop rotation. I also gave information on when various crops should be sown in the different climate zones. I won’t share all of this information here.
But the starting layout is obviously just the beginning. It is also important to think about what comes next. During the summer, quick crops can be sown successionally to fill gaps that open up. Then, in fall, cooler season crops can go in the ground.
In my suggested plans, tomatoes in the image above are followed by Fava beans (known as broad beans here in the UK). Below these, in the south west corner of the bed, I suggested winter peas. These winter legumes will help replace nitrogen in the system.
Where the beans and corn were growing, I suggested planting kale (or another hardy brassica), spinach or chard. Depending on the exact conditions, there may be a range of winter greens that can be grown.
Finally, I suggest replacing the summer squash/zucchini (courgettes) with overwintering alliums (onion and garlic) and carrots (or other hardy roots).
By using a cloche or simple cover for the bed, it is possible to grow food all year round, even in colder climate zones.
The following spring, the plans would change, so that tomatoes and other key crops were not grown in the same place again. If you would like help to work out a planting plan (including companion planting and crop rotation) for your garden, please do get in touch.
General plans like these can be a useful starting point. But over time, it is possible to work out the perfect plan for you and your specific garden.