Monday, January 27, 2014

My Garden Plan

Whether you're starting from scratch or using existing garden beds, it's essential to have a garden plan. Not only will you know exactly what you have space for, you will be much better prepared (mentally, at least) when it comes time to plant.

Roma tomatoes, June 2013

Last year, I started small. This was my first year gardening outside of the container garden I had out on our apartment patio. In other words, this was my first year hand-digging the soil, laying out a bed, growing larger varieties. And to be honest, I wasn't sure how much I could handle. But as the season went on, I was craving more. I wished I had more of what I did grow and I wished I grew some things I hadn't. I can't even begin to describe my thrill at carrying in an armload of tomatoes to use for dinner compared to my dismay at my wilted, dried out tomato plant on my apartment patio. Not only was my in-ground garden much more successful, it was much more fulfilling.

Hot peppers, July 2013
I learned a lot about gardening last year. A LOT. Before I started, I poured through books and browsed the web trying to soak up as much information as I could. Some of it helped but most of it I learned from experience. You won't learn from a book that those pepper plants you bought at the Farmer's Market were not bell peppers, like the man insisted they were, but hot peppers. You won't learn from the web that the peas you grow will be the sweetest thing on earth and that you should have grown quadruple the amount that you did. 

Inadequate trellis and green beans, May 2013
Last year, I had a 4'x4' raised bed. This year, I will be maintaining the existing raised bed and adding another, larger 4'x7' bed. I'm going to try some things I've never grown before - onions, celery - and I'm going to continue growing my old standbys - tomatoes, green beans, peas. I'll also continue trying to grow the crops I had no success with last year - cantaloupe, carrots. And I can't wait to get started.

Cantaloupe, before crop failure, July 2013

Some suggested resources for planning out your garden:

  • Companion Planting Chart - this is by far the best companion planting chart I've found to date. It helps to know which plants can help your crop and which could potentially harm.
  • Square Foot Garden Plant Spacing Guide - I'm using this as a basis for how much seed I'll need. My plants won't be planted on a strictly square foot basis but I found this to be a help in planning.
  • Backyard Gardening: How to Grow... - a wealth of information, especially for quick reference of light requirements, water requirements, etc.
And without further ado, my garden layout for 2014:

Now all I need is spring!


  1. OK, Girl, you have officially been bitten by the Gardening Bug, have contracted the virus, and there is no cure! Heh.

    Remember not to put peppers into the garden until after your last frost. They may live through a frost but they will not produce well at all, for the rest of their lives. For that reason, don't buy your pepper plants just anywhere. Best bet is at a greenhouse. Or raise from seed. People lie if a sale hangs in the balance. Been there, done that.

    Nice blog you have here. --Ilene in Oklahoma

  2. Thanks for the compliment and the tip, Ilene. I'll be raising peppers from seed this year. Gardening bug, I like that, ha!