Can you believe Spring is here! I couldn't be happier. Longer days, warmer days, flowers, birds singing, and a lovely garden.
Today I'm going to share, with you, how you can successfully plan your vegetable garden in 5 easy step. The great news is, you're not going to need a Ph.D. to pull this off, just a little bit of time and patience and you'll have the garden you've always wanted!
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So here's the truth, I have a love-hate relationship with my garden. I spend HOURS getting everything prepared, so many hours that I burn myself out!
I've created an efficient planning system that will allow you to get your garden in tip-top shape!
Here are my top 5 steps to planning a garden.
Find A Direct Sunlit Area
Before you do anything for your garden, you need to find a well-lit area. Veggies need the sun to survive, some more than others. A good rule is about 8 hours of direct sunlight. This will allow your veggies to thrive and grow well.
If you are having a hard time finding a big enough spot for your garden that has direct sunlight, keep in mind that there are veggies that can do with a little less sun. Veggies like kale, broccoli, cabbage, and lettuces like cooler and less sunny areas.
Here's a tip to keep those less sun-loving veggies thriving through those hot summer months, plant them next to a bigger plant to help shade them.
I know where I'm from if I don't plan my lettuces next to a big plant to help shade it, my lettuce will go to seed way too quickly.
These are things to keep in mind when planting, but we'll get to that a little later.
How big is your garden going to be?
How big is your garden going to be? This is something that you really need to ask yourself! There are many things that you need to consider when you're planning your garden out. If this is your first year, you may not want to start off with a huge garden.
You'll need to ask yourself:
- How much time do I have to commit to this garden?
- How much time will it take me to prep the area?
- How much time do I have per day do I have to spend in the garden?
- How much money am I willing to spend on this garden?
- How much food do I want to produce each year?
- Will this be a year-round-garden?
- Will you be only gardening during the spring and summer?
I know that is a lot to ask yourself, I'd like to talk about each of these a little further.
How much time do you have to commit to this garden?
This is a pretty vague question because there are some many aspects of creating a garden. You'll need to prep the area, maintain the area, plant the plants, maintain your veggies, and the list goes on.
If you start your garden out too big, you may fail, and that's not going to be a good experience when it comes to your garden.
How much time will it take you to prep the area?
If this is your first garden then you've probably got a lot of work ahead of you. If this isn't your first year, you still need to ask yourself that question.
There's a lot that goes into prepping the area. You'll need to figure out compost, raised beds, pH levels, and so much more when it comes to the prepping part.
How much time each day will you be spending in the garden?
Remember your garden is a living thing, it needs attention just like everything else. You'll need to water, maintain the plants, and check for bugs and slugs each day. It is so important for you to ask yourself realistically, how much time do you have?
How much money are you willing to spend in your garden?
You think of gardening as a way to save money but that's not always the case. You'll need to add compost, you might need to get tools if you don't have any. The list goes on when it comes to the cost.
However, the reward is amazing! You are going super fresh food for you and your family. The experience and the nutritional value of your garden are worth so much!
How much food are you wanting to produce?
Do you just want to grow some beans, tomatoes, and a few carrots? Or, are you wanting to replace the grocery store?
This is something that you'll need to keep in mind when planning your garden.
Will this be a year-round garden or a seasonal garden?
If you are planning to keep your garden year round, then you'll need to add that extra time and cost to the equation.
Yes, gardening is quite a commitment, but like I said earlier, it's totally worth the outcome!
Creating raised beds
This is not mandatory but you'll find that you'll have an easier time with raised beds. I have raised beds in my garden and I love them. They help me so much that I just don't know what I would do if I had to go without them.
I find that weeding is a little easier to maintain, it is a lot easier to keep the soil soft in the raised beds, and it's easier to do a more thorough job when it comes to weeding.
How to make a simple raised bed:
2 2x8x8 and decking screws.
I made my raised beds using 2x8x8 and cut them into 4-foot pieces and screwed them together with decking screws and made myself 4'x4' square raised beds.
I like to use decking screws because of the weather. This is a trick my dad told me, I'm not sure if it's true or not, it's just what I used.
I like the size of 4'x4' beds because I can easily grab into the center of the bed on any side I'm on. Since my garden is a square foot garden this was a very simple way for me to measure this all out.
Laying your raised bed
If this is the first year that you have your garden, you may have grass under. If that's the case, you can either dig up the grass or you can lay a thick layer of newspaper down, then lay the raised bed down.
You've just saved yourself a ton of weeding time, by laying the newspaper down.
Let's talk soil
Creating a great soil combo
Without soil, your veggies will not thrive. The soil is an important part of the equation and that's what we are going to talk about now.
Year after year of planting a garden, plants take nutrients from the soil, it is important to replace the nutrients. Once a year I add an organic compost, peat moss, and vermiculite to the soil. Then about once a month, I add organic vegetable plant food. I only choose organic when it comes to my garden because this is our food we are talking about and I don't want to take any chances.
If you'd like to learn more about your soil and really everything about gardening, I'm going to link 2 of my all time favorite gardening books for you to enjoy!
These two book have taught me so much about gardening and I reference back to them year after year!
Have a great plan!
Gardening is a huge project, and huge projects can have a tendency to overwhelm us. That's why having a great plan is so important from the beginning.
Unfortunately, your garden isn't going to grow itself. It needs a lot of hard work and attention for it to produce for you.
The best way to tackle this giant project is to create a solid plan. You need to pick your spot, make your beds, prep the soil, pick the plants, and so much more.
Each year, I create a plan of what I want to plant, do I want to start it from seed or from a start. Then I look back year after year on my planner to see what the average rainfall, the sun, and temp each month and each season.
This gives me a good idea when I can plant what.
Each year I take notes on what worked and what didn't so I know if I should try something new. Since I've been planning out my garden I've been about to double the amount of food I grow year after year.
I start out just creating 2 raised bed where I planted a few things in the spring and harvested in the summer. I'd let it die down and then I'd start again the next spring.
Well, I now grow food year round and have 9 raised beds, fruit trees, and berry plants. It's all because I keep track of what I'm doing year after year.
If you'd like to preview this planner, I've put together a free preview for you.
I hope this helps you to get started on a vegetable garden this year. Will you be planting a garden this year? I would love to hear all about it!! Thank you so much for taking time to read this!!