A great garden all starts with great garden planning.
For many, snow is either just around the corner, or already here. But the cold, dark, long and dreary days of winter are actually the perfect time to start garden planning.
So many times, gardeners put off planning until it’s almost time to plant. Or, in some cases, maybe even too late to plant!
What was once going to be the garden of your dreams turns into a mad dash to simply get something planted.
We have all been there at one point or another. We start out thinking this will be the year we start our own seeds. Or, this will be the year we try to finally grow egg plant.
And before you know it, early spring turns into summer, and the only thing going in your garden is what you can find left at the local nursery.
But with good garden planning, all of that last-minute rushing can be a thing of the past. And there is no better time to plan than winter.
3 Simple Steps To Garden Planning
A great garden plan really comes down to 3 simple steps:
(1) Reviewing your past year’s garden.
(2) Creating a planting plan.
(3) Creating a timeline for action.
This is one of the most simple and meaningful steps you can take. Take time now to jot down a quick review of this past year’s garden. Do it now while the past year’s garden is still fresh in your mind.
Create a quick sketch of what was planted where, and how it performed. This “review” has several benefits. Too often we forget which plants or varieties grew well, and which didn’t. By writing it down, you can eliminate making the same mistakes twice in your garden.
But even more importantly, creating a quick sketch lets you remember what you planted where. And that is a huge benefit to helping you keep plant varieties rotated each year in your garden.
Crop rotation is one of the most important things you can do to keep plants healthy in your garden. By planting vegetables such as tomatoes and peppers in a new location each year, you can keep soil fertility high, and pest and disease issues at bay.
Creating A Plan
Once you know what went where, you can start to create a planting plan. This is where the fun begins!
Create your vegetable garden plan based on what you love to eat. And on what you might want to can and preserve for the coming year. It sounds so basic, but having a plan in place now helps you plan space accordingly.
As you create the planting plan, be sure to rotate crops from last year to grow in a new space. Plan for what you want to grow from seed, or what will be purchased locally from a nursery. This lets you get a jump on knowing what you will need.
And now is the time to start reading and perusing those wonderful seed catalogs to try something new. Not only are they a great source of inspiration, they are great for getting a gardener through the winter blahs!
Create a Timeline for Execution
This step is critical!
Now that you have your plan down on paper, take time to plan for when you will need to do what. If you will be starting your plants from seed, write down the dates those seeds need to be planted indoors.
From there, put down planting dates so that you can prepare. If an early crop of peas or lettuce is in your plan, put down a date or a date range they need to go in the ground.
Be sure to do this for you entire garden year, including second planting dates in mid-summer. And last – put that execution list somewhere where you will see it every day!
You will be amazed at how this simple “execution” plan will keep you, and your garden on track!
And back to that winter reading…if you are looking for some good winter gardening reading, or know someone who does – our Raised Row Gardening book is available for order on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
It’s chock-full of full color photos, along with great information on everything gardening, including crop rotation, cover crops, and a vegetable planting guide to boot. Raised Row Gardening
Now get started on that garden planning now, and get ready for a great garden next year! Jim and Mary. To receive our 3 Home, Garden, Recipe and Simple Life articles each week, sign up for our free email list. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram. This article may contain affiliate links.