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Tuesday, March 03, 2009

How Big Is Your Vegetable Garden

How big is your vegetable garden?

As we all compare notes on seed purchases, tomato varieties, and radish choices, I wonder what size gardens others are planting.

My own vegetable garden is set up as raised beds. There are…

Eight 4’ x 8’ beds, which gives me 256 sq. ft. of planting area, plus…
Three 4’ x 4’ beds, which gives me another 48 sq. ft., plus…
Three 2’ x 8’ beds, which provides another 48 sq. ft., plus…
Two 2’ x 4’ beds, which adds another 16 sq. ft. plus
One 4’ x 6’ bed, which provides another 24 sq. ft.

This gives me a total of 492 sq. ft. of raised bed gardens to plant in.

I should memorize that number because I’m often asked “how big is your garden”.

It actually takes up well over 492 sq. ft. of my yard because there are generously wide paths between the beds, wide enough to move around with a wheelbarrow. There is also an area where there are three side by side compost bins, which are about 9’ across all together, and a couple of other open areas, one of which is behind a large shrub, making it the perfect spot for hiding the compost tumbler from general viewing from the rest of the yard. Oh, and there’s a giant rock that I had to work around.

Once I set up the raised beds, year to year maintenance has been minimal. I usually bring in a few cubic yards of mulch for the paths and make sure the raised bed frames are more or less level and squared up at the beginning of the gardening season.

Last year, I skipped mulching the paths… must have gone to Texas that weekend or something, and soon found out that skipping that mulching was a big mistake. There were weeds coming up all over the place. Yes, I did line the paths with some landscape fabric when I first mulched them, but the mulch has slowly decomposed over the years and now it appears to be an excellent growing medium for weeds.

I’ll fix that this year with… more mulch.

I also need to replace a few of the raised bed frames. I used 1 x 6 cedar boards, but even those don’t last forever. I’ve looked into replacing them with manufactured boards, which should theoretically last forever, but after figuring out how many feet of board I would need and pricing that out, I decided not to do that for now. I’m hoping to get one more year out of what I have, and then look into replacing some of the boards next year.

The big decision to be made in the next few weeks is which bed to plant the early spring crops in, because you know that around here, we like to plant those peas around St. Patrick’s Day, March 17th, and that’s just TWO WEEKS from now!

How big is your vegetable garden?

40 comments:

Ewa said...

that made me realise how small is my vegetable area :(
will try to expand it :)
greetings,
e

Anthony said...

I have about 300 square feet worth of raised beds but I'm always guilty of sneaking more vegetables into my border beds with the flowers.

Colleen said...

Oh, let me think. I have:

Two 4 foot by 8 foot raised beds= 64 sq. feet

One 8 by 10 foot bed (with very narrow paths)=80 sq. feet

One 10 by 3 foot bed = 30 square feet

The new bed, which is 12 feet by 20 feet (it will include narrow paths once I figure out how I want to lay the bed out) =240 sq. feet

Two 6 by 4 foot raised beds = 48 square feet

Total bed space is 462 square feet (minus a bit for paths I still need to add). So, pretty close to the size of your garden. I had half the space last year, so I'm looking forward to having more room this year.

Phillip said...

I only have a very tiny area for a few tomatoes and peppers. However, I'm wanting what you've got but I'm not willing to give up my ornamentals to make room for it. However, there is tons of space at my mother's house and I am seriously contemplating starting a vegetable garden there this year. She has terrible hard clay soil so the raised bed thing is a must. I appreciate the information on the kind of woods you used. I would be interested to hear about your soil mix - did you bring purchased soil in to fill the beds?

Limette said...

I have 7 3x12 raised beds which comes in at 252 square feet.

I also have a 4x40 section that is slowly getting filled with berry bushes.

Then there is the 10x50 section that is waiting to get planted with fruit trees (someday).

I'm also hoping that our ginormous hill (30x15?) will get terraced this year so I can plant that with perennial veg....

Our front yard is just flowers right now but I'm planning on mixing in some peppers and squash and adding a herb bed.

Basically I want to turn all of my 66x140 property into food/flowers.

Lol it might take me awhile.

Connie_P said...

I bought a house with a huge but rocky back yard about 4 months. I bought 8 ft. landscape timbers and stacked them 2 timbers high -- about 9 inches. Then I ordered 11 cubic yards of garden soil delivered to my driveway. The past 2 weekends I have been carted the soil from the front to the back and filling my raised beds.
I have:
two 8 by 8 beds...that's 128 sq ft.
one 8 by 16 bed...that's 128 sq ft.
one 8 by 24 bed...that's 192 sq ft.
Total: 448 sq ft.
I'm planting flowers in some beds and vegetables in others. Plus a bed for hostas, cannas and ferns around a shady pecan tree that's back there. Plus pots.
I'm almost finished carting the dirt and just waiting til the last frost so I can start putting seedlings and seeds in the ground.

. said...

I can picture that: 492 is just over 22' x 22' feet, the size of my kitchen.
So from now on I will think: leek where the cooker is, salad crops around the sink...

Our fruit cage is about that size and I was thinking of replacing some of the weeds ( Campanula persicifoilia actually, so a very pretty weed) with some veggies in addition to the soft fruit.

I searched your blog for 'mulch' but can't find what you use. Just know that leafmold is always full of weed-seeds. I am now reluctant to use it for covering the beds, as it makes the problem worse rather than better.

Dave said...

My garden sounds about the same size as yours. I have a few more beds to build for this year then I'll be done for a while. I'll have to plant the pumpkins and other curbits outside the main garden area since I don't have a whole lot of room for them to roam. Hopefully the rabbits will ignore them!

Dreamybee said...

LOL-My "vegetable garden" consists of whatever fits into an open spot in one of my flower pots! I'm hoping to remedy that one of these days.

Carol, I have an award for you over at my blog if you'd like to come pick it up. :)

Word verification: culturi

Daphne said...

My vegetable garden is around 400sqft, but the growing area is about 250sqft. I suppose I should measure it but it isn't square and I haven't bothered. The fruit garden is easier to measure since it is square. It is about 50sqft. Our traditional date for pea planting is the same day as yours, but we have had such cold and snowy weather. I can tell you now that it just isn't happening. The ground will probably still be frozen by then. Maybe by the end of March they will go in.

Anne (in Reno) said...

I have two 4x4 raised beds and one non-raised bed that is maybe 2x8. I also intersperse herbs and my bean teepees in my perennial border as it gets a bit more shade - by the end of last summer, I had beans climbing off their teepees on to my shrubs and any shrub that gave enough shade had a big bushy basil plant behind it. Our snow is turning in to rain so I am contemplating getting some seeds started - I usually can't get stuff like tomatoes in the ground outside until the end of May/beginning of June but I'm getting antsy!

MA said...

Since you love to mow, can you use your grass clippings in lieu of mulch? NICE garden!

Bren said...

I haven't stopped by in a while. YOu always inspire me. I think I got the BLOOM TUESDAY blogging from you??!!
You have reminded me that I need to work on my raised beds.

Happy BLoom TUesday!

Di said...

Wow mine is tiny compared to yours, but I have plans for more! Right now I have 3 5'x3' beds and a 2'x7' bed along the wall totalling 59 sq ft BUT I have the fruit trees too! And containers :)
I Set out an area in the front garden for veggies, just need to ammend the soil. Pretty much our whole garden is gonna be edibles after I get done. It's just a long project!

Cornelia said...

Let's hear it for urban gardeners! I'm hanging a couple of 5 gallon buckets out the sunny window of my apartment. And this year, I fell for the "as seen on TV" hanging tomato grower. Yup, there's a sucker born every minute, and I'm excited to see tomatoes hanging on the outside of my building, too. Also making kombucha, sprouting, and making an indoor lettuce growing operation this year. See my blog at www.homegrown.org

Alison said...

Wow - my veg bed seems downright puny by comparison! I have one 8x12' bed, so 96 square feet there. Aside from that, I'll be potting up herbs for the front porch, and I have a window box of snap peas in my living room.

AnneTanne said...

I thought our garden was huge to Belgian standards, but I do realize now, it is probably huge to other standards as well.
The part we use as a vegetable garden is 10x20m², so when I have counted that correctly, that's around 2150 square feet.
(counting 1m² = 10.76 square feet)

Pam said...

I think mine might be around 250 or 300 sq feet... our yard is about 20'x50', and I think maybe half of that is food production, and then we have a compost bin on the side of the house.

Kerri said...

Our main veggie garden is 20x100ft. Then hubby has about a quarter acre of squash, pumpkins, rhubarb, strawberries and a few other things mixed in. He's a busy boy! I help with mulching, weeding and picking when I'm not tending flowers :)
It's crazy because there's only 2 of us now that the kids are grown and gone. We give a lot away to friends and neighbors.

Pam/Digging said...

Not everything's bigger in Texas, it seems. No veggie garden at my house, and no plans for one. I mix in a little basil and rosemary, but otherwise it's ornamentals all the way.

Grace Peterson said...

I grow very few vegetables. Beans, tomatoes, asparagus. Lots of fruit though. Your raised beds are wonderful. I'm sure they're a pleasure to work in.

kate smudges said...

Wow ~ I had no idea your veggie garden was so large. (I hate to say that my entire veggie garden space is about 30 sq. feet ~ or will be this spring with a community plot). I'm looking forward to seeing what you will be planting this year.!

Carol said...

Vegetable gardens do come in all sizes! A couple of answers to some of the questions...

Because the soil in my area of the country is generally pretty good, I haven't had to bring in topsoil. I just keep adding compost and whatever is left over from container plantings, and so far that's worked for me.

For the paths, I use a mulch that is designed for walking on called "Playsoft", at least that's what it's called where I buy mulch. I think it also used on a lot of playgrounds.

Ms. Wis./Each Little World said...

That is one very impressive and very attractive veggie garden! I'm with Pam/Digging — herbs here and there, but otherwise ornamentals all the way. My pond is just a tad bigger than your veggie garden (20 x 30) and it's in the sunniest spot so I can grow waterlilies. So I'd have to fill in my pond to get a tomato!

susan said...

I seem to have one of the bigger gardens: 1340 sq ft of beds plus stone walkways (the stones came from the beds when dug) plus compost piles, mulch pile, burn area, fruit trees and bushes, herb garden (16 sq ft) plus--soon--chicken coop. It helps to live in the country.

Jamie said...

My vegetable garden area is about 50' x 20', so that's about 1000 sq ft. I usually grow corn, tomatoes, peppers & salad greens - all for dinner picking :)

This year, however, several family members and I are going to put in a large canning garden at my parents' farm. It will be huge - no idea how to estimate it. I'll be over there tomorrow, maybe I'll have a chance to walk it off and see!

ConsciousGardener said...

Wow. Mine is tiny compared to that, not to mention everything is mixed in cottage style. The only separation I have is greens on the side of the house...it's been awhile since I posted about my veggies...must do!

Cindy, My Corner of Katy said...

Like Philip, I'm not willing to give up any of my ornamentals for veggie beds, at least in the back garden. I do have room in the front but I need to see what my deed restrictions say.

Pat Leuchtman said...

I actually went out last Sunday to try and measure my beds - overall and planting area - but alas the snow was still to deep to make this possible. And more snow since. I have enlarged my garden, to give room for paths whick will make it easier to work, and make it more attractive. I started out with a 12 x 12 plot, added on a similar area of raspberries, and by the end of last summer had somewhat more than doubled that whole area. I think.

healingmagichands said...

Our vegetable garden is 8 raised beds, each one 4x20 feet, which makes 640 square feet. Over the years we have been upgrading it so that now all the beds are raised behind concrete block and the grass paths between them are sandstone flagstones. The entire garden is enclosed in a rabbit-proof deer-proof turtle-proof fence. Sadly, it is not yet bird proof so the cardinals help themselves liberally to cherry tomatoes, but then again I have wrens and bluebirds eating the bugs.

healingmagichands said...

our peas and lettuce and beets are in. Not up yet, but planted. Of course, I haven't looked today. Maybe they are up. Hmm. Must leave computer now.

Chookie said...

My official vegie growing area is about 30 sq. m. including paths. I think that's about half the size of yours, but I grow a few things outside those areas too. What is the total size of your block of land?

Sue said...

My vegetable garden is about 15 by 45 feet, with about 8 by 8 dedicated to the compost area. I'm thinking I have around 600 square feet of growing area. I have from time to time put peppers or tomatoes in the flower bed areas, and may this year. I also have an 8 by 8 foot herb garden in my back yard that I've grown tomatoes in before.

I liked your post about making the garden larger, also. Great tips!

garden girl said...

Hi Carol, Ours is small, can't remember the exact dimensions - 4 x 12 I think, or maybe 4 x 10. I have a few more feet available - didn't want the Lawn Man to panic so I thought it would be best to do it in stages. He's already received notice it will probably be getting bigger this fall so he can say his fond farewells to a few more square feet of prime lawn real estate before I mercilessly smother it.

grofys said...

I'm in the city, so although I'd like about 2 or 3 acre garden (I'd love to grow wheat), I have to settle for a 1400 square foot garden. I am going to add a few raised gardens in the front yard, as well as some more bean supports. And I'm going to try to clear out the overgrowth in the back, so I can extend the growing space at least 300".

I live in Pittsburgh and am going to be selling organically grown tomatoes directly from the garden...probably for only $.80/lb. I'll have about 100 plants. I'm also finally getting a few chickens and building a cob bread oven in a shady part of the yard.

Gotta Garden said...

I love your veggie garden! I wish! Mine is...very tiny...but, I am going to try peas again this year as they were so delicious, but, alas, far too few....and lettuce! Good luck with everything!

mss @ Zanthan Gardens said...

I'm finally catching up on some blog reading...

Let's see. Last fall we put a 4x12 raised bed for fall veggies = 48 sqft (It's in the shade in the summer, though so I use it for seed starting then). I just put in a 3x5 raised bed for raspberries = 15 sqft. In the front yard I have another 3x3 raised bed = 9 sqft.

Subtotal raised beds: 72sqft.

Last fall I also made an herb circle...about 24 sq feet (or is that round feet?)

However, I also tuck vegetable plants in the garden anywhere I think there might be some sun. This year 6 tomatoes are in an old rose bed. Add another 24 sq feet.

Total: 120sqft.

Until we get some sunlight in this yard we aren't going to be self-sufficient anytime soon but I find grofys comment above to be very interesting and inspiring.

AR said...

A little over 100' devoted strictly to vegetables. I assumed more, but that's what my calculations tell me. Of course, I have a separate plot just for tomatoes and I try to mingle in vegetables wherever else I can.

Enlighten said...

Most of us traditionally do a spring clean up to discard the accrued yearly waste from previous wintry storms. We seem to try outdoing the neighbors in the bag count we can fill, being oblivious of their true contents. Maybe we don’t realize the value and worth of it all.

Gold is in Those Yard Clean-up Bags

grofys said...

Enlighten, funny you should say that. I wait for high-wind storms around here and then knock on doors asking if I can have the huge branches that have fallen for the garden. People are just glad to have someone take them, and I can build more bean and pea structures.