Garden planning is a very important aspect of a successful garden no matter your experience level or skill set. Garden planning as with any type of planning gets your mind geared toward the task or project at hand and forces you to be proactive instead of reactive. Failure to plan will certainly bring about disappointment, discouragement and the general feeling of having wasted your time and money for naught.  Through this blog post I hope to provide a useful summary of some crucial components to proper garden planning.

  1. Plan your garden on paper.
    1. Draw a scale model of garden.
    2. Take into account how much food your family will eat or what you plan to sell.
    3. Think about plant varieties and growth habits (will this plant shade out that plant).
  2. Choose the best possible site for your garden.
    1. Full sunlight for at least 8 hours per day or as much sun as possible.
    2. As level as possible.
    3. Good soil drainage.
    4. Relatively close to a good water source.
  3. Prepare your garden soil.
    1. Collect a soil sample and take to local extension agent (best if done well in advance of planting time so that you will have your results and know what your soil needs).
    2. Deal with perennial weeds by removing any woody plants and roots.
    3. Deal with compacted soil by deep tillage or broad forking.
    4. Add soil amendments according to recommendations from soil analysis.
    5. Improve soil texture by incorporating locally sourced sand and or compost (organic matter) if necessary.
  4. Plan realistically.
    1. Only prepare as much soil and plant as many plants as you can realistically manage.
  5. Grow varieties that are well suited for you.
    1. Choose varieties that perform well in your growing zone.
    2. Choose varieties that are disease resistant.
    3. Consider varieties that will help you reach your garden goals. (If you want to market choose high yielding and “good looking” varieties. If you want to store vegetables for extended periods of time choose varieties that have good storage properties.)
  6. Plant at the right time.
    1. Seek advice from county extension agents and experienced growers in your area because these dates can vary significantly even within a state.
  7. Harvest at the right time.
    1. Vegetables will have best flavor and nutrient content when harvested at peak.

See the following link for more information on garden planning and home gardening in general.