Who doesn’t dream of a self-sufficient garden? We give you tips on how to best layout the garden so that nothing stands in the way of your project. Whether you can supply yourself partially or entirely with your vegetables and fruit from the garden depends not only on the garden’s size but also on how much time you can or want to spend on the self-sufficient garden.
SIZE OF THE ACREAGE
Partial self-sufficiency: If you only want to partially supply yourself with vegetables, herbs, berries, and fruit, count on 25 m² of growing area per person.
EXTENSIVE SELF-SUFFICIENCY: With an area of 70 m² per person, you can harvest many fruit and vegetables.
COMPLETE SELF-SUFFICIENCY: For full independence, you need at least 160 m² per person. 20 m² of this is for vegetable patches, 40 m² for storage vegetables, and 100 m² for fruit. Partial suppliers have a much smaller area to work on (approx. 100 m² for four people). You cannot feed yourself entirely from your harvest all year round, but from spring to autumn, it is possible to eat fresh fruit or vegetables from your garden every day. If stored properly, vegetables and fruits will be available until late in winter.
The best thing to do is to take a large piece of paper and draw in the area under cultivation and the compass’s direction. When planting, it is essential to pay attention to solar radiation because not all plants like direct sunlight.
There should be a water connection near the beds. An automatic irrigation system would also be possible. This saves a lot of time, and the plants are optimally supplied with water from below. Possibly plan a compost heap in the immediate vicinity.
GOOD GARDEN SOIL IS AN ESSENTIAL REQUIREMENT.
Good garden soil is an essential requirement for healthy plant growth. The soil should not be too sandy or too loamy. Enhance the ground with, for example, evergreen garden soil and compost.
So you can be quite sure whether the soil is optimal for your vegetables and fruits, you can have a soil test to perform. With the test result, you receive not only a soil analysis but also a fertilizer recommendation. You can read here how it works.
HOW MUCH SPACE FOR FRUIT AND VEGETABLES IN A SELF-CATERING GARDEN?
The beds should have a maximum width of 1.5 m and be easily accessible from both sides. Plan a walkway of 40-50 cm between the beds. The paths are always easy to walk on; you can lay boards or sprinkle them with bark mulch.
Put together a wish list with the fruits and vegetables you like to eat that are easy to care for and fit into the region. Vegetables that take up a lot of space, such as pumpkin or zucchini, need a little more room. Grow your vegetables according to the rules of mixed culture. This type of cultivation prevents one-sided nutrient deprivation of the soil, disease and pest infestation, soil fatigue due to root exudates, and low yields.
Fruit trees and berry bushes require almost 100 m² of space. You can save space in the beds if you have a suitable place in the garden for the fruit trees.
A cold frame or a small greenhouse should not be missing in any self-sufficient garden. You can use it to grow your plants and then plant them directly in the bed. Most plants cannot tolerate frost and should only be planted outdoors after the ice saints (mid-May).
No self-sufficient garden should be without herbs. Since the herbs are needed for cooking, the herb garden should be laid out near the house. Most herbs need a lot of suns. Therefore, a southern location is ideal for them.
Which vegetables and fruits to grow?
There are high-consuming, medium-consuming, and low-consuming plants. Make sure that you do not plant the same plants in the same bed every year.
It may even be worth considering investing in some indoor gardening self-watering planters to continue growing year-round.
Don’t undertake too much to start with. Start with just a few types of vegetables and fruits and then add 2 – 3 varieties a year. Let the garden grow. In the spring, most work is required, such as beds, to prepare and sow pre-cultures. The harvest season begins in summer and can last until late in autumn. The grounds should also be loosened regularly, cleared of weeds, and watered daily. Vegetables that have already been harvested can be re-sown or planted out. In autumn, it is boiled down and stored.