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Planning A Garden – 3 Simple Secrets To Create A Great Garden Plan!

When it comes to growing a healthy, productive garden, nothing can help make you more successful than planning out your garden by creating a great plan – long before the first seeds or plants ever go into the soil. And there is no better time to put your plan together than in the dead of winter!

There is a common scenario that plays out among gardeners every year prior to gardening season. It can best be described as the “this year is going to be the year” phenomenon. As in, it will finally be the garden season that I:

  • Order my seeds early and start my vegetable plants indoors
  • Get my spring crops in the ground on time
  • Finally plant a crop of fall garlic and onions
  • Fertilize my garden on a regular schedule
Planting and planning a garden
Whether it is finally getting an early crop of spring onion planted, or growing all of your plants from seed, if you have big goals for your garden, you need to have a plan to put them in motion.

As any one who has ever grown a garden knows, the list above could go on forever. We’ve all been there. We have the best of intentions to grow our best garden ever, and then life happens. Time gets away from us.

Unfortunately, more times than not, by the end of the growing season, you find yourself muttering that next year, you won’t let it happen again. But there really is a way to make this year, The Year!

Planning A Garden – The 3 Simple Secrets To Success

The biggest mistake a gardener can make is to not put a little thought or planning into their garden. And the second biggest mistake is to wait too late to plan.

When you have a plan in place early, it allows you to have everything you need for success on hand. Seeds. Tools. A plan for what goes where. And most of all, a timeline for when to do it all to keep you on track.

Best of all, planning early also allows you to have more fun in and with your garden than ever before. With all of that in mind, here is a look at the three major secrets to creating the perfect plan for your garden!

#1 Create A Grow List

A good plan starts with creating a list of everything you want to grow in your garden. Begin by writing down the vegetables and fruits your family loves to eat most. Once you have your list of must-grows, add in the crops that you have always wanted to try. With the plants written down on a list – you won’t forget!

planning a garden
Good planning is the key to a good harvest!

After you have your full growing list, be sure to make a note of which of those crops you would also like to can, freeze or otherwise preserve. This is an extremely important step to take early on in your planning, as it allows you to make sure you plant enough for both fresh eating and preserving.

For example, if you love tomatoes on salads, hamburgers and for fresh eating but still want to can salsa, juice or spaghetti sauce – you need to make sure you plan to plant enough for both.

This step of creating a growing list sounds so simple, and it is – but it is often overlooked. Knowing what you need and want to grow helps plan your garden space accordingly – and lets you know exactly how much you have to plant to reach your planting goals

Additional Benefits

A grow list also helps you order and have ready the seeds and plants that you need and want. Waiting until the last minute can mean having a hard time finding the seeds and plant varieties you really want to grow. That has been especially true in the last few years as seeds have been selling out fast.

But more than anything else, this step helps you avoid one of the biggest garden mistakes of all: planting anything and everything at the last minute!

hot banana peppers
We love to make a lot of hot pepper mustard. Because of that, we always make sure our garden planting list always includes at least 6 hot banana pepper plants. It sounds crazy, but without a simple grow list, it’s easy to forget to plant what you need!

We have all been there. With no plan and no plants, you head to the local nursery. By the time you come home, you have all kinds of seeds and plants that you don’t need. And it all leads to frustration and garden chaos.

Start your plan with a grow list, and stick to it! And get those seeds ordered as early as possible. (If ordering from our affiliate partner Eden Brothers, remember to use the code OLDWORLD20 to get 20% off when ordering seeds!)

#2 Lay Out Your Garden Space

Now comes the time to put your master plant list to the test. Before you ever sink a single plant into the ground, it’s important to first sketch it out to make sure you have room for everything you want to grow. This step can and will save you time, money, and a whole lot of frustration come planting time!

The best part – it doesn’t have to be fancy or complex! In fact, a simple sketch on a piece of paper works incredibly well. The important part is to find a space in your garden for all of the plants on your grow list.

Sketch out where you will grow what. Include in the plan how many plants in each row and where they will go in the garden. This helps to not only to make sure you have space for all of your plants, but also to put them where they will have the best chance for success.

garden plan comes to life
Creating a garden plan early helps you find a place for everything you want to grow, in the quantities you want to grow. More often than not, without a plan, a garden turns into a hodgepodge of plants thrown in at the last minute.

Laying out your garden prior to planting day allows you time to consider important factors in its success. Factors like crop rotation, companion planting and light and shade requirements for plants. Without a plan, it’s easy to locate plants in the wrong place.

But more than anything else, a garden sketch /layout makes planting day a breeze! With that plan in hand, you can quickly and confidently get your plants in the ground without worry.

#3 Creating A Timeline

As important as the first two steps are, the third and final planning step of creating a garden timeline is the most crucial step of all. Without a timeline in place, it’s so easy to forget crucial planting times and deadlines. And that can result in all kinds of garden failures!

If you will be growing your plants from seed, you need to know when to start them indoors. Likewise, if you want to have a harvest of early season crops like lettuce, spinach and sugar snap peas, you need to have a date down for planting. Without a timeline, deadlines pass with ease – and so does your chance for planting and growing what you want to harvest.

Having a timeline in place lets you get seeds ordered on time, started on time, and of course, planted in the garden on time too. All huge keys to growing a great garden. It also allows you to succession plant, keeping you on track with second planting dates for mid-summer.

As a final tip for planning success – keep that timeline in a highly visible place. We place ours on our refrigerator where we see it every day. Remember the old saying “out of sight – out of mind?” Well, it couldn’t be more accurate when it comes to your garden plan!

So take time now to plan out your garden, and get prepared for your best growing season ever. Happy Garden Planning! Jim and Mary

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