Peak growing season is just weeks away, temperatures are rising, and garden stores are offering enticing choices. It's time to enjoy the last harvest from spring plantings and make room for summer crops.
Replace spent pea vines with climbing cucumber, nestle tomato plants in the ground, and sample the ripe, bright strawberries you planted a few months back. Your carrots, beets, spinach, and Swiss chard are ready for harvest, so replace them with newly sown seed.
2 of 9Photo: Randy Mayor
Mix and Match Plans
Our plans can be adapted to suit your taste buds, allowing a mix-and-match approach and grouping plants that need similar care and conditions. Prefer fresh haricots verts instead of edamame? Swap them out in the bean block. If you have little space, start container gardens—the timing is perfect. One three-pot planting can produce fresh tomatoes and crisp cucumbers right outside your kitchen door.
3 of 9Photo: Randy Mayor
Vertical supports such as an arbor or trellis increase the surface area a vining plant can use while taking up limited soil space. Our garden showcases beans, peas, climbing Malabar spinach, and cucumbers on wire arbors and twig tuteurs. These provide support for vines and add a decorative element.
4 of 9Photo: Randy Mayor
These growing structures can be created inexpensively with branches and flexible vines or items from a farm supply store, but if you prefer to buy ready-made options, we like many of the trellises and arbors found at Terrain and Gardener's Supply.
5 of 9Photo: Randy Mayor
Tie It Up
Vines such as tomatoes, or heavily laden branches of peppers, need soft, flexible ties or natural twine tied loosely around the branches and onto the trellis or plant stake. Remnants of hosiery or strips of old T-shirts work well, or purchase garden clips that snap around both stem and support.
6 of 9Illustration: Felicita Sala
Raised Bed Design: Tomatoes
Choose plants based on your taste and space. Plant raised beds for a well-rounded harvest, or pick pots from 14 to 24 inches in diameter (large enough for the type of plant) for the patio.
Keep these plant cousins together, as they have similar requirements.