7 Steps to Planning Your Vegetable Garden
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The garden can be so rewarding. Harvesting the fruits of your own labor is a real thrill. Planning out your garden will make it much more likely to succeed.
1.Decide what you want to eat. At Little Sprouts, our goal is to grow as much of the kid’s food as we possibly can as well as have lots of great produce for my family to eat. Is your goal to learn about how plants grow? Is your goal to grow 10% of your summer diet? Or do you plan to grow and put up as much food as is entirely possible? Planning how you will use your produce is a great way to narrow down what you want to plant.
2.Decide how much space you can reasonably prepare for planting and maintain. Is your garden already established or do you have to build or till? At Little Sprouts, we have around 50 raised beds ranging in size from 2 x 4 to 3 x 10 so we have a chart on an excel spreadsheet of what space we have. Whatever garden space you have whether it’s a few containers or an acre, you need to draw it out on graph paper, make a spread sheet, or draw a picture of it so you can map out your plans. It’s really fun to make this and plan for your growing season. Don’t forget you can tuck plants into your landscaping.
3. Check your supplies and see what you already have. Go through your seeds and see what you think might still be viable. We compared our list of what we want to eat with what we had and made a list of what we still needed. This part of planning helps to save you valuable resources.
4. Set your garden budget. Sadly most of us are not made of money or growing a money plant, so we have to take our expenses into consideration. At Little Sprouts, we have grown our garden over time with lots of love and back breaking labor. Bigger purchases such as trees and bushes that grow our food have to be ordered a few each year as the budget allows. Slowly but surely we are building up or urban homestead into a paradise of yummy, nutritious food! It sure hasn’t happened overnight or without effort. Click here to see how we started. Click here to see how we expanded.
5. Decide whether you want to plant seeds or plants. If you are going to germinate your seeds indoors and plant the plants out after the danger of frost has passed, you need to find your planting times for your area as soon as possible. If you plan to buy seedlings, that’s far more costly, so you need to check your budget and prepare for that expense. If you want to sow seeds straight into the ground, there are plenty of seeds that can be grown that way. The main essentials you will need plants for because of their finicky germination needs are peppers and tomatoes. I would recommend planting herb plants as well. Most squashes, melons, cucumbers, lettuce, carrots, and things like that can be direct sown into the ground and will germinate just fine outside.
6. Purchase seeds, sets, starts and seedlings as soon as possible. The growing season will be here before you know it. Take out all of those amazing seed catalogs and compare varieties and prices and get a list of what you are going to buy from where. Then order away!
7. Chart out the planting times for what you plan to grow and make a list in date order so you don’t forget anything. We are really into succession planting but I find with such a large number of kinds of things we grow, it’s hard to remember when you need to plant again. We try to plant a lot of crops every two weeks, but you have to keep at it if you want to have multiple harvests of each crop.
Gardening is SO MUCH FUN! I hope you gather some kids up around you and get them out in the garden. If you don’t get to do that, get your hands in the dirt today! You won’t be sorry! Now let’s get out there and sow some good seed!
I’m loving this book “Gardening Like A Ninja”. Check it out to get some great ideas on how to hide beautiful edibles in our landscaping as well. So much fun!