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High Yield Gardening: Where to put tall veggies in raised bed

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GreenerBeaner
Carrollton, TX
(Zone 8a)

January 29, 2009
9:44 PM

Post #6067857

I have one 4'x4'x2' raised veggie bed and will be adding another one this year. I just read M. Bartholomew's Square Foot Gardening book, and the organization really appeals to me. The only problem is that his book brought up something that I hadn't really considered up until now.

The beds will be about 3' apart and about 6" from a chain-link-like fence that runs N/S (see map below). Even though Life got in the way of actually getting any veggies into my first bed last Spring, I had planned on putting tomatoes up against the fence (for support) and pole beans on either side of the tomatoes so they could use the fence to climb. At the time, I was only thinking about using the fence for support since it's already there. but after reading SFG, it occurs to me that putting the tallest plants (tomatoes) on the West side of the little bed might shade the other plants. It wouldn't be a ton of trouble to construct an SFG-style support on the North side of the beds, but using what you have is always preferable when it doesn't get in the way of growing your plants!

Would you use the fence since it was there and risk shading the smaller plants in the bed, or would you just go ahead and build a support on the North side of each bed? I'd love your thoughts. Thanks!

GreenerBeaner

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Ozark
Ozark, MO
(Zone 6a)

January 29, 2009
10:37 PM

Post #6068062

Beaner - It's hard to allow enough room for full size plants in the planning stage, because they seem so little as seedlings and starts, huh?

I think you only have room for ONE tomato plant in each of those beds, and I'd plant them centered in the beds on the west side, tying up to the fence for support. So far as using the same fence for pole beans - no way. In tying branches to the fence, those two tomatoes are going to take up that whole area of fence and be intertwined with each other.

I bet you could plant some bush beans along the east side of both beds, though, in front of the tomatoes. The beans would get good morning sun and be in the shade of the tomatoes in the afternoons - and that's a good thing in Texas in the summer.
GreenerBeaner
Carrollton, TX
(Zone 8a)

January 30, 2009
3:46 PM

Post #6070650

I guess I ought to have clarified that I am planning on planting bush tomatoes, and not vine tomatoes. The SFG book suggests 4 bush tomatoes per sq ft, but that seemed like a lot so I am only planning on planting one per sq ft and only two per bed.

I never thought about afternoon shade being desirable for veggies - I'll have to look into that, Ozark! Thanks for your opinion.

Any other thoughts?
feldon30
Houston, TX
(Zone 9a)

January 30, 2009
5:20 PM

Post #6071014

SqFG has some great ideas, but their recommendations for tomatoes seem optimistic to me.

The indeterminate tomato plants I grow typically get 6-8 feet tall and 2 feet wide. I space my plants 2-3 feet apart in S.E. Texas to allow proper airflow for moisture on the leaves to have a chance to dry. Crowded plants + Wet leaves = fungus.

You should consider the angle of your garden with relation to the sun. You'll also have to take the change in the angle of the sun depending on the time of year into account.

Some plants really do not appreciate the searing afternoon sun of S.E. Texas. So you'll want to put those plants on the WEST side of the garden and/or near a fence or partly under an awning or tree so they will get partial shade in the afternoon.

You don't want tall plants directly to the EAST of short plants (especially if the garden is near an EAST fence), otherwise those short plants will only get sun when the sun is directly overhead.

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GreenerBeaner
Carrollton, TX
(Zone 8a)

January 30, 2009
5:36 PM

Post #6071099

Thanks for the info on spacing tomatoes, feldon. I appreciate your advice. My fence is on the West side of the beds, though, and planting the tall things on the East wasn't anything I was considering.

I am horrible at being concise, and I'm wondering if my question was too convoluted to make sense. Let me give it another go.

I need support for bush tomatoes and pole beans for two small raised beds, and my two option are on the west and north side of each bed. There is an existing glorified-chicken-wire fence on the west side of each bed. Should I use that for support or go ahead and build a support for each bed on its northern side?

Thanks for being patient with me while I whittle down my question! Your advice is much appreciated.

-GB
feldon30
Houston, TX
(Zone 9a)

February 2, 2009
4:11 PM

Post #6082834

I might be misunderstanding.

I use tomato cages for the tomatoes and tee-pees out of 3-4 stakes tied together for the pole beans.
Ltehouse
Albany, GA

February 2, 2009
5:14 PM

Post #6083149

Haven't had much experience with vegetable gardening compared with flower growing so have questions
on the soil I need. When planting flowers I mix soil such as planting soil with vermiculite and 'seed starter
mix' and use Miracle Grow fertilizer. What is a good mix of soil for planting vegetables such as tomatoes,
lettuce, peas and squash? I plan to start them in the greenhouse and later to outside garden. Thanks for
any suggestions.
feldon30
Houston, TX
(Zone 9a)

February 2, 2009
10:43 PM

Post #6084557

Ltehouse,

Just FYI, as your questions are on a different subject and ideas, you might get an even better response in a new thread, that way we don't have people answering different questions going back and forth getting confused.


Anyway... Peas and Lettuce love cold weather. Peas do not transplant well at all. They are sown directly in the garden as long as overnight temperatures are over 25 degrees. Lettuce you can start some plants indoors but they also like cold weather and will start giving up the ghost in June.

Squash is easy to start outside but you can start inside 1-2 days before bringing them outside if you want. Squash needs a ton of room to grow even with a trellis.

You can certainly use vermiculite, seed starter mix, etc. but that seems an expensive choice for vegetable gardening. I guess if you have a very small area then it does not matter.

This message was edited Feb 2, 2009 4:48 PM

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Other High Yield Gardening Threads you might be interested in:

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