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Question on garden layout

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Question on garden layout

Post  amcon2 on 5/31/2017, 12:29 am

I have 2 beds that are 4 feet by 7 feet long that run north and south alongside the wall of my garage. I have planted in this location in previous years with success but am now questioning my layout for this year. The beds do not get morning sun but do get get several hours of sun from noon on.  

I have planted predominately different varieties of indeterminate tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, eggplants, and basil.  Because of my concern for the shading that the tall tomatoes and cucumbers will bring to the bed, I have planted the cucumbers in the northern-most squares to grow up a trellis, and planted the squares next to them with many of the tomatoes. 

Because I have so many tomato plants it seems that most of the bed is made of tomato plants next to each other for several squares.  Does it matter that the tomato plants will all be congested together in the bed? I am allowing one square foot per plant. Should I have broken up the layout and planted the other companion vegetables in between instead?  My concern was that they might not get enough sunlight by being shaded by the taller plants.  

Any thoughts and help is appreciated.
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Re: Question on garden layout

Post  sanderson on 5/31/2017, 1:33 am

Hi, Amcon. You said you have planted in these beds before, with success. What is different with the plantings this year? It sounds like you have the shorter plants in the front (south) and the taller (cucumbers and indeterminate tomatoes in the back (north).

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Question on garden layout

Post  amcon2 on 5/31/2017, 5:58 am

Hi, Sanderson. Thanks for your response. I might not have described it correctly. The length of the garage runs north (front of garage) to south (back of garage)with the 7 feet lengths of the beds running the same way, butting up against the garage wall. The beds are 4 squares deep with the back of the beds facing east, and the front of the beds facing west.

The difference this year is that in the past, I had more of a mixture of plants, and had interspersed them more as companion plants. This year because I have a larger number of indeterminate tomatoes that I know will grow tall, it seems that I have them all clumped together in adjacent squares. I did that because of my concern for the shade that they might cast on other plants if I planted them in between them.  But I didn't know if planting them that way would cause more of a problem with insects or not enough air circulating through.  Not sure if any of this makes sense.  Although I have had success in the past, I am still very much a novice to all of this. (as maybe you can tell!)  Maybe I am overthinking the whole thing. I am just so looking forward to having a productive garden and although there are no guaranties, I don't want to make a foolish mistake up front that might prevent that.
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Re: Question on garden layout

Post  AtlantaMarie on 5/31/2017, 6:47 am

Hi amcon2. Marie here.

You will need to make sure that plenty of air can circulate amongst the plants. So you'll need to keep on top of pruning! But other than that, I'd think they should be all right.

Also keep in mind that they're pretty heavy feeders. Planting them 1/sq will drain nutrients pretty quickly.

Remember, it's all a learning experience. Keep good notes so you know what works for you & what doesn't. :-)
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Question on garden layout

Post  amcon2 on 5/31/2017, 6:58 am

Good morning! Thanks for your response, Marie. I realize now that I will especially have to stay on top of the tomatoes with the pruning. It might get to be a challenge for me but I'll give it a go.  As far as your comment on the nutrients, do you suggest my adding more compost to the squares during the growing season to give it a boost to compensate for the tomatoes' heavy feeding? Keeping notes on what works sounds like a good idea. This brain has a hard  time remembering a lot these days. Rolling Eyes  Thanks for your input.---Ann Marie
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Re: Question on garden layout

Post  AtlantaMarie on 5/31/2017, 11:23 am

:-)

I would, yeah... Or if you have access to worm castings, manure tea, etc... You might look in the archives for Jimmy Cee's posts on nutrients. LOTS of very interesting information & book suggestions....
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Re: Question on garden layout

Post  sanderson on 5/31/2017, 4:29 pm

Amcon, I'll second staying on top of the pruning of the tomato suckers. Now, that said, one SFGner doesn't prune his tall tomatoes much. I'm getting permission first before I post his photo from last summer.

Yes, top feed with compost throughout the season. One member sprinkles a little Espoma Tomato-Tone on the beds. It's organic and slow release, and won't hurt worms and other little organisms in the Mel's Mix.

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Re: Question on garden layout

Post  amcon2 on 5/31/2017, 7:00 pm

Thanks again Sanderson and Atlanta Marie for the replies. I will replenish with compost during the season and stay on top if pruning the suckers.  I had not heard of the Epsoma Tomato-Tone before, but am ordering it now from Walmart. In the past, I had added plain epsom salts that you can pick up most everywhere. I do not know if that does the same job or not, but will try the other, this year. Going to check out the posts on the nutrients that you mention, also. Love to discover new info and learn more. 

Thanks again for your help! Happy Gardening!
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Re: Question on garden layout

Post  sanderson on 6/1/2017, 3:26 am

Here is the photo I mentioned earlier. Wayne Schirner:


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Re: Question on garden layout

Post  amcon2 on 6/1/2017, 6:34 am

Amazing pic ! Now that's some tomato plants! Would need a stepstool to get to the top!
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Re: Question on garden layout

Post  yolos on 6/1/2017, 8:22 am

@sanderson wrote:Here is the photo I mentioned earlier.  Wayne Schirner:

What spacing is he using when planting the tomatoes is this bed.
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Re: Question on garden layout

Post  sanderson on 6/1/2017, 12:29 pm

One per square, 6" of Mel's Mix. I believe he is a SFG Certified Instructor. He also did experiments with 6" and 12" of MM with happy results: the 6" did as well or better. Very Happy

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Re: Question on garden layout

Post  Scorpio Rising on 6/2/2017, 7:46 pm

Hi, amcon2!

I second everything sanderson  and Marie have said.  I personally like blood meal for my nitrogen boost for heavy feeders if you need it.  It is slow release, no burn.  But sounds like you are going to have a terrific garden!  

Post some pics when you can, we love pictures!
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Re: Question on garden layout

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