Grow your vegetable garden plan

January is usually the month when gardeners begin to feel that gardening itch again. As the day length ever so gradually starts to grow, we feel the excitement of a new gardening season beginning to grow within us.

But, since we can’t actually get out in the garden yet, one of the most productive things gardeners can do now is plan, plan, plan.

Great gardens certainly do require plans, and once the spring season arrives, no one will want to be indoors planning. So, get those plans made now. But remember to keep it fun, if planning isn’t your thing that is ok. It is really the joy of gardening and the benefits of being in nature that count the most.

Things to consider

What do you like to eat? It seems like a no brainer, but choose to grow what you will actually enjoy, eating and sharing. Here’s the good news, in Kansas a WIDE variety of vegetables can be grown. Everyone can find something to grow that they will enjoy. Don’t be afraid to experiment with unfamiliar vegetables, but plan to be able to use most of the vegetables you produce.

How much space do you have? Space available and individual preferences play an important part in deciding what to grow. Beans, beets, summer squash, peppers, tomatoes, lettuce, onions, radishes, and turnips are well adapted for growth when space is limited. Sweet corn, vine squash, cucumbers, pumpkins, and melons require more space for growth and should be considered only if adequate space is available.

How will you optimize that space? Use the Vegetable Garden Calendar to plan your garden space. For example: spinach, lettuce, radishes, peas, and green onions can be harvested early in the gardening season. That same space is then available to grow late season crops of beans, eggplant, tomatoes, or even potatoes. You can also optimize space by interplanting crops like lettuce, radishes, or spinach between rows of potatoes, cabbage, or other cole crops. Before the potatoes or cole crops get very large, the other crops will have been harvested.

If you plan to incorporate perennial vegetables such as rhubarb, asparagus, strawberries or bush fruits, be sure to plant them on an edge of the garden where they won’t be in the way if the garden is tilled.

Vegetables can be grown in a myriad of ways, even in small spaces. Get creative and use what space you do have well. Keep in mind that vegetables require full sun (6-8 hours) to be most productive.

Make a sketch. Draw a sketch of your garden space and plan the garden with the above information and our vegetable garden planning guide. This will help you figure out how much seed or how many plants you’ll need to purchase or grow. Consider including a plan for crop rotation in your garden plan as well. Rotating vegetables in the garden each season can help prevent the build up of certain diseases due to the same crop growing in the same soil each year.

Obtaining seeds and plants: When choosing varieties for the home garden, consider factors such as disease resistance, yield, maturity date, size, shape, color, and flavor. Many Extension/Agricultural research stations are constantly developing and testing improved vegetable varieties. It is a great idea to talk to other local gardeners and see what they have been successful with as well. A good starting place for research on vegetable varieties is the Recommended Vegetable Varieties for Kansas list.

Some gardeners prefer to start their own vegetable transplants from seed at home while others find it easier to purchase the transplants when it is time for them to go into the garden. This seed starting post provides information on when to start your seeds at home for transplanting into the garden.

Planting at the correct time: The planting date for each crop is determined by local weather (especially soil temperature) and the nature of the various garden vegetables. Some vegetables require warm soil and air temperatures. Others will grow in colder temperatures. Be sure to research when the appropriate time is to plant each crop. You can check the current soil temperatures around the state of Kansas by visiting the KSU Mesonet soil temperature page.

This vegetable information chart will provide even more information for your garden plan and for a comprehensive resource please use our Kansas Garden Guide.

    Crop    Type of Planting  Plants or Seeds Per 100′ Row  Optimum Temperature (F)  Depth of Planting (In.)Avg. Spacing Within Row (In.)Avg. Spacing Between Rows (In.)  Frost Resistance
AsparagusPerennial (Crowns)7581848Hardy
AsparagusSeed (Transplant)2 oz.65-75136Hardy
RhubarbPerennial (Crowns)30I3635–48Hardy
Beans SnapSeeded½ Ib.70–8523–436Tender
Beans—LimaSeeded½ Ib.75–8524–836Tender
BeetsSeeded2 oz.50–60½2–418Half-Hardy
BroccoliSeed or Transplant½ oz. or 75(50–60)(½)18–2436Hardy
Brussels SproutsSeed or Transplant½ oz.or 100(50–60)(½)12–1836Hardy
CabbageSeed or Transplant½ oz. or 75(50–60)(½)12-1836Hardy
Chinese CabbageSeeded¼ oz.55–70½10–1236Hardy
CarrotsSeeded1 oz.55–70½2–318Half-Hardy
CauliflowerSeed or Transplant½ oz.or 75(55–70)(½)18–2436Half-Hardy
CucumbersSeed or Plants½ oz.75–85½ –110–4848–72Very Tender
EggplantTransplants50 plants(75–85)18–2436Very Tender
GarlicSets3 Ibs.14–618–36Hardy
HorseradishRoots75–100 roots3–412–1836Hardy
KaleSeeded1 oz.50–60½2–436Hardy
KohlrabiSeed or Transplant¼ oz.(50–60)(½)5–618–24Hardy
Lettuce (Seed)Seeded½ oz.50–70¼2–418–24Half-Hardy
Lettuce (Plants)Transplants100–200 plants(50–70)(¼)2–418–24Half-Hardy
Head LettuceSeed or Transplants1½ oz. or 7560–70½12–1518–24Half-Hardy
MuskmelonSeed or Plants½ oz.75–851–1½48–7248–72Very Tender
Onion (Sets)Sets2 qts.1½ –23–412–24Hardy
Onion (Plants)Transplants300 plants1½ –23–412–24Hardy
OkraSeeded2 oz.75–85½18–2436Tender
ParsnipSeeded½ oz.55–70¼–½3–418–24Half-Hardy
PeasSeeded1 Ib.50–6521–212–24Hardy
PeppersTransplants50 plants(75–85)(½)18–2436Tender
PotatoesTuber Pieces10 Ibs.50–602–38–1236Half-Hardy
PumpkinSeeded1 oz.75–85172–9072–90Half-Tender
RadishSeeded1 oz.50–60½2–312–18Hardy
RutabagaSeeded½ oz.50–60½4–618–24Hardy
SalsifySeeded1 oz.55–70½2–312–18Half-Hardy
SpinachSeeded2 oz.55–7012–312–18Half-Hardy
Squash—SummerSeeded1 oz.75–85136–4848–72Very Tender
Squash—WinterSeeded1 oz.75–85160–7296Very Tender
Sweet CornSeeded½ Ib.70–80214–1836Tender
Sweet PotatoesPlants75–100 plants12–1636–48Very Tender
Swiss ChardSeeded1 oz.55–70½–16–818–24Half-Tender
TomatoTransplants30–60 plants(75–85)(½)24–4836–48Tender
TomatoDirect Seeded¼ oz.75–85½24–4836–42Tender
TurnipsSeeded1 oz.60–70½3–412–18Hardy
WatermelonSeeded1 oz.80–901–272–9072–90Very Tender