Victory Garden
Staggering Results

Is your Tomato Victory Garden set up for staggering results?

Staggered planting is the key to constant food production for vegetable gardens. Staggering seeding times and plant placement are essential for getting the most out of limited space. Knowing the needed space and harvest time of each variety will make Victory Garden planning more effective.

Here are some other important things to consider:

Growing for recipes

Allocated Space

Mix of Varieties

Size Location

Planting Sequence

GROWING FOR RECIPES - The main goal of the victory garden is to supply food. But, what types and how much food? How many people will be supplied by this garden? What are the key vegetables and herbs used in favorite recipes?

Understanding your family's consumption potential is the key to garden planning.

Everything-Tomatoes garden recipes use tomatoes extensively. Support vegetables are lettuce, garlic, onions, and carrots.

Of the support vegetables, lettuce has the shortest shelf life and is one of the best examples of a staggered planting cycle. Estimate how much lettuce will be used every two weeks. Seed new plants every two weeks until the last month of the growing season.

This will accomplish two things. Garden space used for lettuce can be limited allowing for a variety of other plants and a staggered planting cycle provides a constant supply of lettuce throughout the growing season.

Garlic and onions are used more often. Because of their storage potential and small footprint in the garden, garlic and onions can be grown in larger quantities. Garlic, if dried properly or dehydrated, can be stored up to a year. Onions store well in a cool - dry place and carrots refrigerate well.

Tomatoes take up a large portion of the garden. Approximately 10 -12 tomato plants can supply a family of four for the whole season. Planting more will allow for freezing or canning. Indeterminate tomatoes provide a constant supply throughout the growing season. When using determinate tomatoes, timing a second crop will be necessary.

ALLOCATED SPACE - Tomatoes will use an average of 2 - 3 feet of garden space. In a small garden plot conserving space around the tomatoes is important when planning a garden. Open spaces between tomatoes can be planted with parsley, cilantro, herbs, basil and predator plants. Onions, garlic and carrots are great for filling the border areas along pathways.

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