Vegetable Garden

Originally an eroding sloped bed of pachysandra with two oak trees, this is now a mulched sloped bed with 4 ft by 8 ft terraced raised beds for vegetables.  It receives full sun by the strictest definition only — 6+ hours per day since it’s surrounded by trees.  Because most of the trees are deciduous, and the beds are raised, it warms up fairly well even though it’s north of the house.


The vegetable garden consists of 16 beds; twelve of these beds are completed.  It contains 8 central beds that are 4 ft x 8 ft. Each pair of these beds is planted with one or more botanical families of vegetables, etc. and each pair is rotated every year to help reduce pest and disease problems.

The 8 central beds contain these families:

  1. Bed 1 — Solanaceae family (Tomatoes, Peppers, Tomatillos, etc.), basil and marigolds
  2. Bed 2 — Fabeaceae family (Beans, Peas, other legumes, etc.) plus nasturtiums, lettuce (Asteraceae family), and spinach (Amaranthaceae family)
  3. Bed 3 — Curcurbitacea family (Squash, Pumpkins, Cucumbers, Gourds, etc.) and Poaceae family (Corn, Job’s Tears, etc.)
  4. Bed 4 Brassicaceae family (Kale, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Broccoli, Collards, etc.) and

The four year rotation works like this


Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Year 4

Bed A (bottom) 1. Solanaceae 2. Fabaceae 3. Curcurbitacea 4. Greens
Bed B 2. Fabaceae 3. Curcurbitacea 4. Greens 1. Solanaceae
Bed C 3. Curcurbitacea 4. Greens 1. Solanaceae 2. Fabaceae
Bed D (top) 4. Greens 1. Solanaceae 2. Fabaceae 3. Curcurbitacea

In addition to crop rotation and green manures (winter cover crops), beds are top dressed with compost and/or mulched with wood chips each year to maintain soil fertility.  Winter cover crops are planned as detailed in each bed description.  After initial bed setup including micro-nutrient supplementation , fertilization is planned only if symptoms of a nutritional deficiency are diagnosed.

The outer 8 beds are smaller, ranging from about 4 ft x 4 ft to 4 ft x 6 ft.  Each of the lower 4 beds contains a ground cherry plant which will hopefully reseed, and an assortment of reseeding greens, herbs, flowers, and alliums to provide herbs and greens for the kitchen and flowers for the bees and other insects.

The upper 4 outer beds will contain asparagus and a similar assortment of greens, herbs, flowers and allium.  These are the four beds that aren’t finished.

In addition to the vegetable garden, other vegetables may be planted in containers and a variety of edible plants are scattered throughout the yard.

Vegetable Garden before Tree Removal, 6 May 2010

Vegetable Garden Being Laid Out, 2 July 2011

Second year for first two beds & second two beds under construction

Work Notes


FINALLY a Vegetable Garden!


Planted sugar snap peas and lettuce in bottom beds.  These were also DEVOURED by deer


29 Dec 2011:  Initial Plan

17 Mar 2012:  Chief of Implementation constructed beds for greens

Plan to plant white clover between beds in early summer

Had one tree stump ground to simplify putting in raised beds


sprayed new veg garden location with Roundup twice, marked placement, built first two beds, pulling weeds, filling with compost and mulching with wood chips

planted tomatoes, peppers and basil, very late & from crowded pots

Tomato and pepper plants were DEVOURED by deer — fence for next year

edged & mulched with wood chips in winter


Planted a straw bale garden on the driveway

Had two large oak trees removed for future vegetable garden

Last Updated 14 July 2014


One response to “Vegetable Garden

  1. Pingback: 2012 Vegetable Garden Plans | Garden In The Woods

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