There is certainly not a one size fits all site design for every garden. Maybe you just have a few what you thought were dead spaces between pine trees, or a small plot in the back of your apartment. Don't stress; there is a garden design for you. If you're planning to sow seeds directly into the ground, consider first your hardiness zone and do a couple of soil tests to determine the type of soil you are working with this could effect your site plan.
POTAGER (french style kitchen garden)
The Site: Small scale + full sun. Choose an area close to the kitchen since you will often be stepping away while you cook to pull fresh veggies and herbs. Potager gardens are traditionally kept very tidy with cleared mulched or paved lanes for walking and plant cultivation. We encourage laying down Dutch clover for durable soil nourishing walking paths. What the heck is full sun? Full sun means 6-8 hrs. of sunlight exposure each day.
Plant Suggestions: Plants should be veggies and herbs you use the most often in the kitchen. What do you like to cook with every week? Also consider planting quick or multiple harvest vegetables like lettuces, scallions, radishes, sweet peas, cherry tomatoes, hot peppers and herbs. Save slower growing and larger harvest vegtables like squash and corn for a larger growing area.
CONTAINER GARDEN + COMPANION PLANTING
The Site: Small roof top or patio + full to partial sun.
Plant Suggestions: We suggest planting small polycultures or companion plants in larger pots and small individual herbs. Basil planted alongside a tomato plant will produce rich tasting fruit, while including some bee balm to attract pollinators. Greens of all varieties love to be planted alongside herbs. We suggest big pots of kale and rosemary and sage, or individual pots of fresh herbs.
SHADE + ACIDIC GARDEN PATCH
The Site: Acidic soil with shade: perhaps you have a few pine trees dropping pine needles near by adding more acid to your soil. Maybe you thought this area was a dead garden space.
(Most garden plants thrive at a pH between 6 and 7.5, acidic soil has a PH below 7, you can get cheap soil tests at just about any garden center.)
Plant Suggestions: Blueberry bushes or their close sisters serviceberries/Juneberries alongside ostrich ferns (maybe you will get edible fidleheads next year?). Remember they need lots of water. Try planting some onions or leaks and don’t forget the garlic in the fall. Use this area to try to attract your pollinators to benefit the rest of your garden spaces. Try planting coral bells or bleeding hearts.
The Site: Works well in most site conditions - full sun, partial sun/partial shade and full shade. The amount of sunlight and shade will dictate the types of edible plants used in the garden bed. This garden bed design is geared towards efficient use of space and as such works well in urban areas where growing space is usually at a premium. Keyhole beds maximize the amount of planting space while minimizing the amount of pathways while using a similar amount of total square feet compared to a conventional rectilinear raised bed or row crops.
Plant Suggestions: Full sun keyhole beds can contain sun-loving annuals such as tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, and basil while full shade beds can contain shade-loving annuals such as cabbage, kale, and most other leafy greens.