How To Plan A Vegetable Garden In The Sierra Foothills


Planting a vegetable garden gets got the romantic appeal of return to the property and to place our hands on the ground. In arrange to make the most of your expertise, preparation and planning is the first order of the evening.

The very first thing to do is pick your garden website, no longer than 100 feet in the property. Plotting out your site on chart paper will help to picture exactly what you would like. Raised beds are advised within our area, because predation is a critical problem; but don’t be intimidated if your budget is tight because of this preparatory period. Chicken cable is a inexpensive material for fencing. Netting is affordable and could be used every year. PVC piping may be used to frame your own garden beds and can also last for several decades. If increased beds surpass your finances, kiddie pools or older baths will do and you won’t require the hardware cloth under these, simply run a few tiny holes for drainage.

For people who wish to spend more, intending a raised bed system which has a 6-foot-tall framework for netting to keep out birds, along with a ¼” hardware fabric under the mattress to keep modest rodents outside. It is well worth the price and effort, and will hold up for as much as 15 decades. Plan for space to walk round your beds and decrease the width of the mattress to four feet broad. Fencing might be essential to keep out deer and rabbits or some bigger creatures. If you only have space for a terrace garden in baskets, you might not need to visit these protective spans, but you need to ensure your plants get at least 6 hours each day of sunlight. A trickle irrigation system is going to be a terrific time saver and based upon the machine, can be simple and affordable to set up. Most systems possess a DIY alternative.

Next, you will want to consider your soil. You will need nutrient-rich dirt that has good drainage. There are many amendments available. You need a good balance of Nitrogen, which promotes leafing, Phosphorus for rooting and fruitingand potassium that helps plants absorb nutrients. Soil in the foothills tends to be acidic. You may need to add some oyster shell to bring your PH up to 6.5-7.5.

Now for the vegetables! How much might you really eat? It’s easier to plant too much than too little. If you are gardening for the first time, it’s best to start small. Remember to allow for recommended spacing. Some plants, such as onions, need little room to grow, while others such as zucchinis and melons will sprawl all over your beds. Also, some leafy plants, such as lettuce, kale, chard, collards and spinach can give a continuous yield when you pick only the outer leaves, leaving the centers growing to provide for additional harvests.

Gardens in our area can be year-round, but if you grow in all seasons, remember to use frost cloth to protect the plants from freezing. There is an excellent Foothill Planting Guide available online. The link for that is the last one at the bottom of this article. To promote good soil composition, contemplate letting 1 or 2 of your beds to go fallow for a season so which they can rejuvenate. You can cover these in a layer of horse manure, or other amendment and add a fantastic layer of straw over which. This helps to increase the loaminess of your soil. Happy Gardening!


Wendy Kubow is a University of California Cooperative Extension Master Gardener of Calaveras County. 

UCCE Master Gardeners of Tuolumne and Calaveras Counties can answer home gardening questions. Call 209-533-5912 or fill out our easy-to-use problem questionnaire here. Check out our website here. You can also find us on Facebook.

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