Cabbages are a great recipe crop but should be kept in a separate plot away from tomatoes. Cabbages in Florida are only planted once during the Fall/Winter season before the weather heats up. Replace cabbages in the second half of the season with broccoli, a cabbage companion.
MIX OF VARIETIES - Once the type of vegetables, herbs and predatory plants are selected they should be arranged to best benefit each other.
Predatory insect attracting plants of some style should be mixed in with edibles. They play an important role in the garden Eco-system.
Some favorites are; Borage and Nasturtiums because they benefit plants growing in their vicinity, deter many garden pests,
attract predatory bugs and the flowers are edible. A visual bonus for the garden is that Nasturtiums attract humming birds which also like to eat whiteflies. Marigolds' (calendula) scented varieties discourage many damaging insects and the root system will kill bad nematodes. A known negative is that marigolds attract aphids and spider mites. The good news is that aphids and spider mites are food for the predatory insects being attracted by the other predatory plants. Without food,
predatory insects will leave the garden to seek meals elsewhere.
Herbs are important garden partners and add flavor to recipes. Basil helps the flavor of the growing tomatoes as well as being a sweet herb for recipes. Coriander (cilantro) are dual purpose plants when used in recipes. Their leaves (cilantro) and stems add a wonderful taste to many recipes and when left to seed (coriander), the seeds are used whole or ground for a sweet, pungent seasoning. Cilantro benefits aren't just for cooking. The plant also repels aphids and spider mites.
Carrots, onions and garlic serve as tomato companions both in the garden and in recipes. Mint is a good deterrent for ants and cabbage moths. It should be planted in containers though, because mint is capable of taking over a garden if left unchecked.
SIZE LOCATION - Seeding and planting the tomatoes should be done in advance of the other plants. Young tomato plants shouldn't be covered by the foliage of other plants. For plots without access from two sides, larger plants should be planted in the back with tomatoes. Plant smaller varieties closer to the edge of the garden.
Onion, carrots and garlic are great border plants due to their small footprint. The border plants should be planted in a logical order. Too many carrots planted together will form a wall of green foliage limiting access to plants in the back of the garden. This is where position staggering comes into play.
PLANTING SEQUENCE - Border plants should be seeded at approximately 2 - 4 week intervals allowing for size balance and light access along the border. A popular idea used in Victory Gardens is to start the border planting line farther from the sun and progressively adding new plantings. This allows the younger plants to receive the sun they need. Planting new additions randomly in the shade side of existing plants may dwarf the young plants and harvest results could be diminished.
Planting borders in mixed groups is another good idea. A group
pattern found effective is three or four plants each of garlic, onions and carrots in a row. Start with an open area equivalent to the group size, then plant the group in the next section. Use the alternating sequence along the garden border. Time the planting of new seedlings in the open areas. Harvesting the first planting will leave new open spaces. Planting using this pattern will also allow access to the larger plants in the rear of the garden for pruning, weeding and harvesting.
Staggering a Victory Garden will provide constant supply of favorite herbs and vegetables throughout the growing season without waste. An exact formula will depend on individual conditions. Other patterns may work as well. Experiment and discover what works well. The point is to think through the process in detail so there are no surprises. Read the growing information of the selected plants varieties in order to better
understand suggested growing times and space requirements of the plants.
Once you have everything well thought out and a sound garden plan start a Victory Garden and enjoy.
Here's where you can learn
Victory Garden Basics.
Want to see the step by step conversion of a 20' X 30' lawn space into a Victory Garden?
Everything-Tomatoes' latest Victory Garden experiment is here just in time for the Spring / summer growing season. The good, bad and ugly of gardening will be demonstrated in detail.
Developing a seemingly ordinary plot of ground can be full of surprises. Here is Everything Tomatoes
Victory Garden Project