Planning now can help you to bigger harvests next year!
Planning now can help you to bigger harvests next year!

The two most important tools any gardener can have to help create a successful garden won’t ever be found at your local nursery or garden store.  In fact, they are completely free and take nothing more than a pen, paper, and a little time to create!

Performing a garden review and creating next year’s garden plan are two of the most valuable tasks you can perform to help bolster your future garden – and the best time to do it is now!

Step 1..Complete a Quick Garden Review Now!

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”  That oft repeated quote among history buffs also holds true for those of us who garden.   Taking a few moments now to review and jot down the facts and thoughts of this past year’s garden can go a long way in making your next one successful.

Our purple green beans have now outperformed our bush green beans two years in a row - so we are switching to all purple next year.
Our purple green beans have nearly doubled the output of our bush green beans two years in a row – with the same amount of plants – so next year – we are going to go with more purple to take up less garden space.

Why?  Because everything is still fresh in your mind from the recent summer’s garden. What worked well, and what didn’t. What pests attacked what and when.  What you planted too much of- and what could you stand to plant a little bit more of.  These are all important things to get down on paper to help guide you as you plan and create your next garden.

Let’s face it – as time passes, so does our memory of this past year’s garden. Before you know it – Thanksgiving and Christmas are here, January and February fly by – and all of those great ideas you had back in the fall get lost in the rush to just get a garden planted.

So, take a few moments at this time of the year to write down and document your garden.  You will be amazed how much those notes come back to help next year!

Step 2 – Create Next Year’s Garden Plan Now!

Here is our plan from this past year's garden.
Here is our plan from this past year’s garden.
The 2011 Garden plan
The 2011 Garden plan

So now that you have completed your review – take that next step and plan out next years garden while it’s all fresh in your mind!

It’s one thing to say that you would like to try this or that, grow more tomatoes or herbs, or a different variety of pepper.  But when you sit down and put it all down on paper – it’s amazing to find out how much better it all works next spring.   Planning now lets you easily remember what performed well – what didn’t – and what you need to try different.  It definitely made all the difference in getting even more out of our own space this past year!

It also allows you the opportunity to practice good gardening habits – like planned crop rotation.  We rotate our plantings in garden rows each year to help keep pests and disease at bay. Our peppers and tomatoes will move from the top rows down to the bottom section of raised beds, and our greens, potatoes and beans to the top.  In addition to rotating the sections – we also flip the rows from where we planted them the last time they were in these beds – so it becomes 4 years before the same plant goes into the same space.  Having it all on paper – and knowing what went where is a huge time saver come next planting season!

Good planning now can help you fill the canning pantry later!
Good planning now can help you fill the canning pantry later!

The other advantage to planning now – it really keeps you focused on what you want to grow.  When you have no plan – it is amazing how quickly you begin to acquire an endless supply of seed packets that you will never use – or a garden that looks more like a wild maze than a vegetable patch!

And the best part of all…after you do this for a few years – you have created your own personal garden journal!

So take a few moments now to jot down your garden review and plan!

See :  Our 2013 Garden Plan Here

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Happy Gardening – Jim and Mary!

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