By absolutely no stretch of the mind am I an expert gardener. In fact, I’m a beginner just like you! Seriously, this is only my second year of gardening with the intent to feed my family, and the first year was chalk full of mistakes. I had maybe three carrots I could eat and a radish… It was a disaster.
So I’ve spent a lot of time this winter researching, planning, actually learning how to garden instead of just planning on throwing some seeds at the soil. I’ll be sharing all my first year mistakes with you guys, so keep your eyes peeled for that!
One of the things that has come up again and again in quest to be a better gardener is to actually plan out your garden. What your going to grow and wear you’ll plant it, so you can really maximize your space, where the sun will hit and what grows best together. It sounds a little overwhelming, but you don’t have to dive into every single detail just yet, you can start with as much as you can handle then learn and grow as your garden does.
If you look at the seed packets that you have, and you don’t need fancy seeds from a catalog, target or walmart is just as good. You can wait to upgrade to the fancy expensive stuff until you are feeling more confident in your ability to grow your plants. The packets that contain your seeds will usually have a bit of information on them for you, like days to maturity, days to sprout, spacing, seed depth… it really lays it out for you what that seed needs.
So the first thing I did when planning out my garden, is vaguely sketch it out so I could make my rows and decide what I wanted where based on what needs sun. For example, I always put my pees, potatoes, and other taller plants on the edge of the garden away from shorter plants so that the shadows won’t deprive the smaller guys of sun. I made that mistake last year… like I said, learning!
I then made a list of everything I planned to grow this year, and whether it is a cold or warm weather plant. Knowing this makes it easier to figure out when you should initially plant your seeds, especially in colder climates, since there’s certain plants like lettuce and spinach, that can withstand surprise frosts. Because it Canada, you never really know when the last frost is, we can all remember at least one year where it randomly snowed in the middle of the summer.
Next, I went through and wrote how long it would take for each plant to mature, or get to the point where you can harvest it, and I calculated out when I could plant and harvest each plant. Sounds like a lot of effort when laid out, and it did take me some time to figure out, but lucky for you! I made an easy free printable you can access to make your life easier. This way you can organize and easily see what your planting, when and how long before it’s harvest time.
I placed these dates on my calendar, as well as leaving my garden planner on my fridge so I can keep an eye on what’s growing to make sure I can harvest it at the right time. Last year I lost my entire spinach harvest because I didn’t know it could overgrow and become bitter if it isn’t harvested at the correct time, and I definitely don’t want to make the same mistake this year.
Click the link below to access your free garden planning printable!