In & Around the Garden

5 Essential Steps to Planning your Garden

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Spring! It is getting closer day by day, and it has me itching to get in the garden! Gardening is one of my favorite things to do, and brings so much peace and joy into my life. Yes, it is hard work… and no, it’s not as easy for some as it is for others… but the great thing about gardening is you can keep trying new things to help you get the garden of your dreams.

Last week, I shared one of my new favorite tools, the Farmer’s Almanac, for planning your garden, and I hope you were able to get some use out of it. If you haven’t looked into a farmer’s almanac, and are serious about gardening I strongly urge you to do so.

While you are waiting for the ground to thaw out, it is the perfect time for you to be able to start the planning process! Which is what we are going to start doing today. Whether you are a seasoned gardener, or have only thought about how lovely it would be to have your own garden space, I have 5 tasks that are essential  steps to planning your garden now.

Last year was my first year with an actual vegetable garden, and didn’t really know how to get started… or where to start. It was quite overwhelming to say the least. So I’m here to help you get started off on the right foot, and hopefully you won’t have to make some of the same mistakes as I did.

If you are working in a small space, sometimes we just aren’t able to get everything  we would like to fit. However with some careful planning, we can do more than you think. If you have a large amount of space to grow your garden, don’t think you are off the hook either! A larger garden means more work, with more prep and planning. Whether you have a small container garden, or a large piece of land with the right planning, you can get huge rewards… plus the satisfaction of being a gardener.


Screenshot 2014-01-31 10.04.22

1. The first step is to Select what you want to grow.

This sounds easy enough, but there really is some planning that can come into play here. Some of the things to think about in this step:

  • What type of food  do you (or your family) eat? (For example, do you eat a lot of fruit and what type of veggies do you consume, how do you feel about herbs?)
  • What type of seed are you wanting to use (i.e., organic, heirloom, hybrid, etc)?


2. The second step is Figuring out how much you need/ want/ can grow.

Things to think about in this step:

  • How much food do you (or your family) consume each week?
  • Do you want to be able to feed off of just the garden, or is it more of a supplemental garden?
  • Do you plan on having enough food for just fresh food, or to stock up and can/ freeze for the colder months?
  • How much space is needed for each plant?
  • How much does one plant produce (Important!! different plants will produce different amounts of food. Be sure to look at how much the average growth per plant is estimated. This will vary depending on location, weather, and soil conditions).


3. The third step is to Plan out the Space.

Things to think about in this step:

  • Where would you like to place the garden?
  • Is it all going to be in one big garden plot? or do you need to place it in a ver spots around your house?
  • How much sunlight & shade does your desired location(s) get? (Important!! different plants have sun exposure different needs.)
  • How will the garden placement work with the rest of the space?
  • Is it in a space where you will want to be on a daily basis?

Remember: The space and amount of plants in the space are directly connected. Having the proper amount of space for each plant is important to ensuring the best growing conditions.


4. The fourth step is to Schedule your gardening times.

Things to think about in this step:

  • When are the best times to plant in your area?
  • How much time will you have to be able to spend in the garden?
  • What does the rest of your schedule look like with work, family, social events, etc?


5. The fifth step is to Prep your garden soil.

Things to think about in this step:

  • Testing your soil for nutrition & acidity. – Important! Different plants have different soil requirements.
  • What type of fertilizer(s) are needed?
  • What type of fertilizer are you wanting to use? (For example, are you going to use compost, animal fertilizers, store bought, etc).
  • Do you need to rid the space of any grass, weeds, or other debris?

If you are using containers for your garden,

  • where are you getting the soil from?
  • What type of soil are you going to use?
  • Does it have the proper nutrients?
  • Do you need to use a fertilizer with the soil?


Are you feeling a little overwhelmed? If you are, don’t worry! I have even created a few Free Worksheets for you to use to help you along the way, and to help you stay organized in the process.(Link for the 5 Essential Steps to Gardening: Workbook).

Free Printable | 5 Essential steps to planning your garden | Blog Post | In & Around the Garden | Finding the Story

Included in the printable workbook is:

  • A Planning your Garden Checklist, which you will be able to use to check off each of the planning items and steps as you go along.
  • A Gardening Calendar- you can use this to be able to pencil in your gardening schedule. Everyone’s schedule is different, so this will give you a way to see how much time you will have to spend in the garden, or when specific tasks need to be done.
  • A Garden Planning Grid- you can use this to help you sketch out the space you would like to use, and even to plan the placement of each plant.

Free Printable | 5 Essential steps to planning your garden | Blog Post | In & Around the Garden | Finding the Story


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    • Thanks Aunt Charlie for taking the time to leave a comment. I have had some big learning experiences in the past year, and hope to not make them again.

      …and maybe help others out in the process. :)

    • Wow! Where do you live? I live in Southern California, so it doesn’t feel much like winter, but will be moving back to my home state of North Dakota this summer. I hope to help my parents put in a garden once it thaws out up there.

    • I would agree Wendy! We have a tendency of planning too much and having to scale back… Though, if I do say so myself, not too terrible an issue to have. I love spending my days in a garden and getting my hands in the dirt. I even spend time talking to my plants. Haha

  1. Stopping by via #SITSBlogging comment love this week. I am an avid gardener and this is fabulous advice. You highlighted a lot of the little details that one has to think about!

    • Thank you for this feedback, as a less seasoned gardener it is a daunting task. These were just a couple of things that stood out in my mind as great starting points to gardening. I had to figure out a way to keep the planning, ideas, and other ideas from taking over my brain… This is my solution to keeping myself organized.

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