Year 1: Lay out first bed, till and amend soil, and surround bed with edging. Plant apple tree to espalier, install trellis at back of bed for pole beans. Plant your garden.
Year 2: Expand the garden by adding a second 3-by-14-foot L section. Install borders and increase vegetable and herb plantings.
Year 3: Install center raised bed with edging, and gravel (or mulch) pathway between beds. Add a bench where you can rest and reflect with a cup of tea. A garden should provide not only food for the body, but also sustenance for the spirit.
Year 4: Install additional side bed and more gravel or mulch in the pathway.
Year 5: Install the final bed and construct a bentwood arbor to connect the sides of your garden.
First-Year Plant List
These are my favorite varieties. Although they do well in my Arkansas garden, they might not be the best options for your area. Check with your garden center or extension service. The plants marked with an asterisk are early crops that can be replaced with another crop for fall harvest.
• Apple tree: One tree, planted at the back of the bed, to be espaliered
• Bush beans: Seeded in two rows; ‘Royalty Purple Pod’, ‘Fordhook 242’ lima
• Bush cucumber: One plant; ‘Bush Spacemaster’
• Cilantro:* Several plants or seedlings
• Lettuce: Seeds for an 18-by-30-inch space; ‘Buttercrunch’, ‘Lollo Rosso’, ‘Bibb’, ‘Romaine’
• Onions:* 50 sets or seedling plants; check for best local varieties
• Pole beans: One variety planted on a trellis; asparagus bean or ‘Missouri Wonder’
• Radishes:* One packet of seed; ‘Cherry Belle’, ‘Early Scarlet Globe’
• Tomato: Two plants; ‘Better Boy’, ‘Better Bush’, ‘Brandywine’, ‘Black Prince’, ‘Cherokee Purple’ or ‘Black Cherry’
*The onions, radishes and cilantro could be followed with a fall-maturing crop of cabbage (I like ‘Savoy’) or kale (such as ‘Lacinato’).
• Basil (Ocimum basilicum): ‘Siam Queen’ (Thai), ‘Mrs. Burns’ (lemon), ‘Magical Michael’ (sweet)
• Chives (Allium schoenoprasum)
• Dill (Anethum graveolens): ‘Bouquet’
• Oregano (Origanum vulgare ssp. hirtum): Greek
• Parsley (Petroselinum crispum var. neapolitanum): flat-leaf Italian type
• Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis): ‘Arp’, ‘Hill Hardy’
• Sage (Salvia officinalis): Garden sage
• Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia): Hidcote, Munstead
• Sweet marjoram (Origanum majorana)
• Thyme, lemon (Thymus ×citriodorus)