“If I grow anything, I’ll consider it a success.”
Alternatively, “If I don’t kill everything, I’ll consider it a success.” That was my motto for my first garden. I have to admit, last year not much planning went into my garden. I didn’t worry about planning for crop rotation or even really WHAT I was going to put in my garden. We moved into our new house at the end of May and soon after dug out the 4×15 rectangle for my first garden. I bought a few plants/seeds and simply put them in the ground, hoping for the best. I really am amazed that I grew anything with that type of “planning” but somehow it worked out for me.
This year I knew that with my garden being so much bigger, I need to have a good plan in place. I thought that sharing my process might be helpful for my other garden newbies. I am just in my second year of gardening, but I found the following to be super helpful for this year.
1. read up as much as you can. for Christmas I received Organic Gardening For Dummies and The Year-Round Vegetable Gardener and finished them quickly. You can also get region-specific gardening magazines and publications. Home & Garden shows are perfect for resources like this.
2. watch some videos that teach about crop rotation, common mistakes and proper items to plant. Gotta love Google and YouTube…you can find just about whatever you need for whatever you’re trying to learn.
3. sign up for the free trial of the garden planner. I’m sure there are others out there, but this is the one that I landed on and fell in love with. And yes, I did purchase the membership because it’s not very expensive and it will remember my plan from year to year, making it really easy to do my crop rotation the following year. One of the things that I love about the garden planner is that it categorizes the plants so that it’s easy to put like items together (for example, beans and peas are legumes and should be planted together for crop rotation).
4. research where to buy your seeds. I had three non-GMO suppliers in mind: Urban Farmer Seeds, Baker Creek and High Mowing Organic Seeds. They all looked pretty good and some were priced just a bit higher. I finally settled on Urban Farmer Seeds because it is local and they had a sale running the weekend when I went to order. They arrived about a week after I ordered them! I love that the owner uses old magazines to make the seed packets (reduce, reuse, recycle)!
5. sow (plant) the appropriate seeds inside at the right time. Yet another plug for the Garden Planner! Once I laid out my garden I was able to generate a plant list, which tells me how many to order, spacing, row spacing and when I can start sowing seeds indoors (vs. which to sow outside after the last frost). The Garden Planner also tells me when I should be able to harvest each item which is great for a beginner who might not know that information.
Now it’s time for me to start thinking about tilling the ground and laying out my garden to prepare to plant after the last frost. I’m still deciding whether or not to fence around my garden to keep critters out…any thoughts on that from my gardening experts?