Laying out your plot – how much, what & where?

If you are quite new to growing your own you may feel a little overwhelmed when it comes to working out how much to grow – it can be tricky to know how much will fit, and where to plant things. These 5 steps should help.

  1. Sketch out your growing space – all this needs to be is a simple drawing with rough measurements, or if you prefer, a list of beds/pots and their sizes.
  2. Note down key observations – if there is a bed that is in partial shade, or an area that is more exposed to wind, or an area that is a real sun trap. This will help you to plan where to plant certain crops. For example, tomatoes will love the sun trap, leafy veg will tolerate a little shade, it might be better to grow root veggies in the windy spots rather than planting your climbing beans there.
  3. Make a list of all the plants you’d like to grow – Now, have a look at our Veg Plants at a Glance which shows plant spacings and sunlight requirements. If you only have a little space, you may want to strike a few of the space-hungry crops off your list at this point, or consider other ways of growing them (e.g. growing squash vertically)
  4. Start allocating veg to your growing space – you don’t have to draw it into your sketch perfectly, but roughly mark out rows or blocks of veg making a note of spacings. Eg – 1 row of beetroot, 10cm apart (or if you’re growing in pots just mark 5x beetroot, or 10x beetroot against the allocated pot.) It makes sense to group plants together by type – e.g. all root veggies together, all lettuces and leaves together, all brassicas together.
  5. Running out of space? We all want to grow more than will fit in our plot! If there are a few extra plants that you would love to grow but don’t have space for, ask yourself if you can squeeze a few extra things in amongst flowerbeds, or in a couple of grow bags perhaps.

Hopefully the above will get you started. Rest assured, planning your plot does get easier with experience. It can be overwhelming in the first year, but you’ll get the hang of it. There’s no right or wrong, and it’s always worth giving things a go! You will find more tips on this layout illustration.