Over the last several years, we’ve learned lots of little tips and tricks to help make the garden more productive and easier to manage. Here are 5 more we can share with you as we get ready for the winter.

1. Group Plants With Similar Needs and Attributes Together
Generally you want to group plants together based on their growing characteristics. This can be by height/size, since you don’t want taller and more aggressive growing plants to overcrowd out the shorter and slower growing plants. It can also mean planting by nutrient requirements or soil type together. Group all the acid loving plants together and/or all the heavy feeding plants together. This will make your work in fertilizing or amending the beds simpler as you can do it all in one go and not have to worry about plants with different needs beside each other

2. Plant in Blocks
Block planting helps to create mini microclimates. This can help reduce weed pressure as the soil will be shaded, making weeds less likely to grow through the canopy. You’ll also notice that plants in the middle of the blocks usually do better than plants on the outer edges. While you still need to plan enough space to access the garden, block planting can help simplify planning and maintenance.

3. Work With Nature
Keep an eye on the garden as it changes throughout the year. Instead of constantly fighting it by planting varieties less suited to the environment, look for plants that are adapted to your soil type, your climate zone, and care requirements. There are many low care, low maintenance, and delicious herbs you can successfully grow. These can include chives, lemon balm, lovage, oregano, Jerusalem artichokes, and more.

4. Maximize Watering
Water is a precious resource that is easy to take for granted. Think about each time you water how much is actually being utilized by the plants. Drip irrigation can be very efficient, while overhead sprinklers tend to use more water (and can spread disease by splashing dirt onto the plants). Every time you water your garden, try to maximize water uptake by the plants and minimize runoff.

5. Be Flexible
Plants change and grow over time. Chances are your aesthetic preferences and eating preferences will change as well. Keep an open mind and be flexible to changing your plants if needed.

[Got a Tip?] If you have a tip to share with your fellow urban farmers, let us know at tips@youngurbanfarmers.comWant More Tips? Browse our Tips Archive for more.