Steps for Planning Your Garden and What We’re Planting This Year.
It’s that time of year again, garden fever is hitting full force!
If you live in a place that has cold winter months, it is so much fun to take advantage of the down time (from the yard) to dream, ponder, and plan your garden. Each year my husband and I talk about what we want this year’s garden to look like. We talk about practicality, finances, logistics and exactly what we want to plant. This year is really going to be one of variety and trying new things!
Decide What Kind of Garden You Want
It’s really important when planning your garden to first determine if you are going to have an organic garden or a non-organic one. Of course, we recommend organic because the nutrition content is higher in organic fruits and veggies plus pesticides are dangerous for your health but the choice is yours. If you choose an organic garden then you’ll need to purchase heirloom and/or organic seeds and plants.
We have a completely organic garden. We don’t use any pesticides or herbicides for weeds or any plants. This does make gardening a bit of a challenge but with proper vigilance and hard work, we have a glorious garden that has amazing yields each year we have planted.
Simple Steps to Use to Plan Out Your Garden
1. Tools for Pre-Planning
- Graph Paper
- Pencil and eraser
- A big tablet of lined paper
- Heirloom Seed Catalog (that only sells NON-GMO seeds)
- Companion Planting Guides (I have various ones) They’re great for organic gardening.
- A chunk or chunks of time
2. When to Start Planting and Initial Planning
First, determine the zone you live in because only certain plants will grow in certain zones. Here is a great website that will help you tell what zone you’re in.
Second, find out what your city’s average last frost is. Most states have yearly growing seasons and at some point have to deal with frost. In other words, they are not able to grow produce all year long due to weather. Seeds have different planting times and often they need to be started indoors a few months before they can be hardened off and then planted outside. Knowing your city’s average last frost date will help you pick a time to start your seedlings indoors (if needed.) A quick Google search will give you your answer.
3. Picking Seeds and Plants (The Most Exciting Part!)
I love to use heirloom seed catalogs because heirlooms are premium, non-GMO seeds and the catalog tells about each plant, how it grows, when the plant grows its finest, and what it is best for. Heirloom seeds are great for seed saving which in turn is great for survival. I also really like the wonderful pictures of a lot of the plants that are offered in the catalogs. For the ones that aren’t pictured looking online is wonderful to get an idea of what they look like. It is so much fun to flip through the pages of the catalog and think about what would work best in the garden.
These are categories of types of plants you can grow.
When planning your garden, it’s important to decide if you want just a veggie garden or if you want to add herbs to that. There are so many possibilities. Not everyone grows plants in every category but even just one plant in each of the following categories would make a wonderful starter garden. Remember, plant what you like to eat!
Herbs can be in containers, in between other plants and they can even be grown continually indoors. Remember companion planting to help your plants.
Fruits are nice because they are grown on trees, bushes and vines. The type you choose can help you determine where the best spot is to place fruit in your garden. Be aware that some fruit plants spread~ like berries! Contain them in an area or you will have them popping up all over the place.
Such a plethora of choices is available nowadays. You can grow these in containers, planter beds, climbing up trellises and more. The choices are endless. Some need shade, some need sun, some don’t like shade, etc. This is one reason you’ll want to study up on each seed you sow to make sure you are placing it in the best area for its growth.
These add spots of color to your garden and are such a delight. Be aware that some can be invasive and take over though. Think about this when you plant and where you decide to plant them! Personally, I like perennials (the ones that will come up year after year) but annuals are nice if you like to change things up each year. Planting bulbs in the fall are great too because when they pop up it signals the start of spring. It’s a beautiful thing! I love seeing the planters dotted with color from the tulips I planted in the fall.
4. Drawing Your Garden and Deciding Where to Plant Your Seeds and Plants.
I use graph paper to draw out my garden planters. You could even design your garden template on the computer and then print it out and reuse it with your new planting ideas each year. I am a pencil and paper girl so I like to draw mine out.
Having this visual helps me to remember when I get my seeds or plants where I decided to plant them. It also helps me not overbuy plants and seeds that I don’t have space for. It’s so easy to get caught up in all that I want to do and lose sight of reality. The garden drawing helps me to stay grounded!
As I look through the catalog or on the internet and decide I want to plant a certain variety, first, I plug it into a planter or container in my garden drawing and then I write the plant name and number on my pad of lined paper in the category if fits in (like fruit, veggie, etc.) Pretty simple and straightforward!
By the end of my perusing and planning, I have a full garden mapped out and all the seeds and/or plants I need to purchase.
After I have drawn out my garden and decided what to order, I order my seeds. This is the best part!
Here’s what we are planting this year
Aunt Ruby’s German Green Tomato (So much fun to plant a green tomato that tastes good. I can’t wait)
Orange Strawberry Tomato (These are so cute and I love yellow for a different kind of phytonutrient)
Amish Paste Tomato (Can’t wait to make tomato sauce with these!)
San Marzano Lungo No.2 Tomato (For all of our favorite salsa)
Thornless Blackberries (already have these in our garden for years)
Thornless Raspberries (already have these in our garden for years)
Alexandria Strawberries (so cute and tiny but full of flavor)
Minnesota Midget Melon (love that these vines don’t get huge!)
Fuji Apples (planted a tree 4 years ago) The trick to this is to keep the darn coddling moths off the apples this year. We have a plan that should work!
Elberta Peaches (planted a tree 4 years ago) My favorite fruit! The wind better not blow all the peach blossoms off this year!
Wild Thyme (I love that this plant creeps and can be planted in between spaces)
Rosemary (probably keep inside in a container since it is slow growing)
Slo-Bolt Cilantro. (Slow bolting is key for me since last time I planted another variety it did not work out)
Variegated Cat Grass (For the kitties inside)
Elephant Dill (for all the pickles and for drying)
Echinacea Tennesseensis (For a pretty in our front planter. Love the flowers and that it’s a perennial)
Blue Hyssop (Blue is my favorite color and anything to attract bees and help them out is great)
Lavender (Going to be interesting to germinate)
Oregano Vulgare (Planting in a container. Using for sauces, stir fries and drying)
Stevia (It will be nice to have my own for sweetening things)
Tansy (for bug repellent in small containers close to other plants, since it’s invasive)
Chocolate Mint (purchasing organic-heirloom locally – all mint will go in a container)
Spearmint (purchasing organic-heirloom locally)
Peppermint (purchasing organic-heirloom locally)
Tom Thumb Garden Pea (I love that these can be in a container. They are so cute!)
Tam Jalapeño Pepper (For salsa and canning)
Canary Bell Pepper (Although green is good it is great to plant the rainbow of colors for different phytonutrients)
Golden Squash Zucchini (Fun to have a different color and we have an area specifically for squash since plants are generally huge)
Fordhook Squash Zucchini (We need to have the traditional zucchini – zoodles and zucchini bread here we come!)
Honeyboat Delicata Squash (I love delicata, small, sweet and easy to cook)
Chioggia Bassano Beet (these are so pretty!)
Early Jersey Wakefield Cabbage (Stir fries and sauerkraut along with salads.)
Red Express Cabbage (Planting this in fall, also more phytonutrients from different color cabbage)
Giant Red Re-Selection Celery (How fun they will have a red tint)
Boston Pickling Cucumber (Excited for pickles)
Ching Chang Bok Choy (We love bok choy here)
Chinese Mustard Greens (Great for salad)
Aurora Mixed Orach (The colors in these greens are amazing)
Golden Purslane (Omega 3’s in greens – oh-yea!)
European Mesclun Mixed Salad Blend (Another one with gorgeous colors)
Flame Lettuce (I love red leaf lettuce)
Outredgeous Lettuce (like red leaf but romaine shaped.)
King Theodore Nasturtium (These are even edible)
Tall Double Mix Straw Flower (I think these are so pretty)
Yarrow Colorado Mix (The colors are beautiful and these are so dainty)
I know this looks like a lot but I only usually plant one or two plants of each and as per any garden some things don’t actually make it.
Pray for Your Garden
One last thing to note and certainly not least, pray for your garden! Seriously! Ask the Lord to bless your crop this year. He is sovereign over what grows and what doesn’t. He is sovereign over the rain or lack thereof. Ask Him to bless your work and the fruit of your work!
Start Planning Your Garden
Planning your garden can be so much fun and planting your garden is one of the most rewarding things you can do. Whether you plan out your garden on paper or the computer, be sure to take time to methodically think about where you want to sow certain seeds and keep in mind companion planting. Take some time to determine the zone you live in and the average last frost date and be sure to find a seed company that you know will produce good results. Spend a couple hours drawing out plans for your garden with either pencil and paper or on a computer and most of all, pray for your garden and enjoy the harvest!
[button color=”silver”] Isaiah 58:11 The Lord will guide you continually, And satisfy your soul in drought, And strengthen your bones; You shall be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.[/button][et_bloom_inline optin_id=optin_6]