Learning how to plan a vegetable garden is one of the most important parts of your gardening journey. But, it can also be one of the most daunting. Here are a few tips and tricks to help you along.
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Let’s Revisit A Few Things
If you missed my blog post, Getting Started with Gardening, I wrote about all the reasons to start this pastime. Last year was a banner year for gardening. And this year, it’s showing no signs of slowing down. Besides great exercise, gardening has this amazing way of just clearing your mind. It’s like meditation in nature. Watching something grow peacefully, despite all the chaos we may be feeling inside, is incredibly calming.
Then, there are the seeds. If you haven’t bought yours yet, I shared some of my preferred sources, as well as a free gardening worksheet. The sooner you buy your seeds, the better. Many suppliers are already selling out or have seeds on backorder lists. Once you have your seeds, fill out your worksheet, like I did here.
Knowing how much time you have before you need to get those seeds planted will make you immediately feel more in control.
Determining Your Gardening Space
Here at Sunny Side Up, we have a few different gardening spaces. First, I cannot help but profess my love for my GreenStalk Vertical Planter. I bought it last summer and have been gushing about it ever since. Here’s what mine looked like just a few weeks after I started seeds in it. The top section is what you fill with water that trickles down to each layer. Yep, that’s sweetcorn that I got started in it, too.
If you love the idea of gardening but only have a tiny patio, or honestly, no desire or ability to dig up any of your yard space, the GreenStalk is the perfect solution. Dreaming of an herb garden? Each tier can hold several varieties. Want to grow some strawberries? They will do amazingly well in this planter, which is made in the USA. If you decide to spring for one, use my code, SUNNY10 at checkout. You’ll get $10 off, even on sale prices! There’s also no better way to get your kids off the couch than gardening with you. You’ll have so much fun together in the process!
We also have a small raised garden space in front of our chicken coop and a very large garden area near our beehives. Regardless of the space you have, my best advice is to start small and be resourceful with what you have. I know people who mix in tomato plants with their flowerbeds and grow plants in unused kiddie splash pools. Don’t feel like you have to run out and buy a bunch of special things to get started. Money does not need to be a deterrent, which is yet another magical thing about gardening.
Now, Let’s Plan A Vegetable Garden
Believe it or not, each vegetable you plant has friends and foes that help it along or hinder its growth and well being. Therefore, when you’re planning your garden, you’ll want to keep all of this in mind. You won’t want to plant corn near tomatoes, for example. Here’s a quick guide to companion planting you can reference. You’ll find there are lots of good reasons to follow the guidelines. Armed with this information, you can start to plot out where you’re going to plant your seeds or seedlings.
If you have a small garden, you may not need too much extra help when it comes to deciding what should go where. You can draw out your space on paper and plot your garden quickly. Just keep in mind that the best vegetable gardens will need some serious sun. In a bigger space, it can be more challenging. I started using the gardening app Seed to Spoon to help me plot our larger garden since I grow so many different plants. The app also offers lots of great information in one place, on topics like good and bad bugs, and growing guides.
If you need some gardening inspiration, check out their website to see what they’ve done in their own garden in just a few short years.
Once you have your garden plan figured out, you’ll be ready to move on to helpful tools and seed starting tips. I’ll be covering that in my next gardening post. Until then, keep growing!