Time to Start Planning!: Planning Your Vegetable Garden

Seed catalogues are starting to roll out, marking the coming of spring for gardeners! Many seeds can be started indoors as early as January, for early spring gardens, so planning now is a must. If you haven’t started planning your garden, yet here are some great basic tips to get you started!

What Worked and What Didn’t?

Many gardeners keep a gardener’s journal. This is a great place to keep a record of seeds and equipment you bought and notes about what worked in your garden and what didn’t. This is one of the most important steps to planning a garden because it will save you from extra leg-work and repeated failures. It will also allow you to repeat those amazing successes! If you do not have a gardener’s journal, consider starting one this year.

So Many Plants, So Many Questions

Before you dive into that seed catalogue buying all of those unique and colorful veggies that catch your eye, ask yourself these questions:

What kind of veggies do you and your family enjoy?

Make a list of what you and your family enjoy eating. If space is an issue, list them in order of importance so you can weed out those that matter less if you find yourself in a space-crunch. Also consider which edibles cost the most where you live. Growing these plants is a much more cost-effective way to attain the expensive fruits, veggies and herbs you crave! Also, ask yourself what colors, textures, scents and shapes you enjoy and consider how those plants compliment each other.

Are your eyes bigger than your stomach?

Consider how much of each plant your family eats per week and then consider growth time for each plant and how much each plant produces, then go from there. For example, zucchini rapidly reproduces so a family that eats 2-3 per week may only need one plant. If you want to preserve your vegetables plant a bit more but if you are planting for one and don’t care to preserve your veggies, ask a neighbor if they would like to share your seed order. Sharing seed orders allows a greater variety of plants with a smaller amount of unused seeds.

Consider your Usable Space

How much gardening space is available and what kind of conditions do those spaces possess? Create a sketch of your garden and do your research by reading those seed packets to discover how much space is needed for your desired veggie and what kind of conditions it requires. There are also many online resources to help with this task is you are not artistically inclined. After you have created your map and have done your research, start filling it in with you desired plants.

Placement Tips

  • Place shade tolerant or species that prefer shade next to tall crops

  • If you’re hoping to do a second planting of some of your crops, have those plans in your mind as you select crop locations for the spring and early summer

  • Make sure you are rotating your crops to prevent recurring disease issues, too much nutrient-loss to the soil and other issues

If you follow these rules you are sure to have a fulfilling and sustaining garden for this coming year. Experiment, take educated chances on your garden and have fun!


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