How To Plan a Garden

by Marcie
six year-old boy holding an armful of carrots he just picked from his garden.

Here’s how to plan a garden and how to carry out those plans. It doesn’t need to be stressful or complicated, but can be a very fun, exciting and creative time. Don’t worry about what anyone else is doing, but do what you want, it’s yours!

Our Garden Plans

January 2022 I was super excited to get going on our garden. We had moved here the June before so we only planted a few things but this would be the first year I could plant all I wanted! In Utah we rented and there was no garden place. In our houses in Texas (med school) and North Carolina (residency) we just dug in the dirt and planted a few things. This year I was ecstatic to have 9 raised garden beds just waiting to be planted plus lots of ground space if I needed it. This is my first “forever home” and I couldn’t wait to make it feel permanent with a huge garden. And to do a much better job than I did before.

I quickly drew 9 boxes on a piece of paper and started planning what to put in what. I also made a list of all the foods we’d want to grow. The kids kept adding to it so we ended up with more than could fit in the boxes and several crops we never did plant. But it was fun planning and dreaming. Here’s what I came up with:

Here are pictures of the garden in real life. The garden boxes were here when we moved in and so was the white groundcover. But it wasn’t nailed down so it blew away a lot. We cut them to fit better and I bought some garden staples and we spent an afternoon hammering them in.

In the picture on the left, it’s exactly like the sketched boxes. Along the left side are posts with blackberries already established with some rope between the posts for the canes to lean on. I’m propagating more (see how here) so the whole left side will be full of blackberries. The red shed in the back is a garden shed the previous owners made out of old 1930’s doors. We keep shovels and twine and stuff there. To the right of that are some kiwi trees. And some extra posts with fencing where I’m planting more blackberries because these blackberries are the best I’ve ever tasted and I want lots! In front of that fencing is a very bumpy field.

In the picture on the right, it would be the garden plans upside down. I’m standing next to the red shed so the blackberries are now on my right.

More Garden Views

Here is the garden in June. The kids are busy pulling weeds out of the boxes they’re in charge of. They helped plant the seeds there and they’re in charge of keeping it weeded. The picture on the right is the field in front of the kiwis. I can tell they used to plant stuff there but I’m not sure what. I wanted to rototill it and plant pumpkins but our neighbor wouldn’t let us borrow theirs and said to just plant them in the grass, so we did. Pumpkins were growing out of our compost pile so we moved them here.

Our Garden Results

Three of the things we wanted to plant didn’t get planted so I crossed them out on this photo. Well, actually we did plant peanuts 3 times but they never worked. Sad because I really wanted to grow peanuts for my first time. I didn’t plant squash because our neighbor gives us a lot, enough to store all winter. I just forgot to plant corn. When it was time to plant it, all 10 kids were home for a month and we were really busy. But we did plant watermelon though it wasn’t planned, so there’s that. And everything was quite successful! Can’t wait to plan a garden and plant again next year.

To Recap: How to Plan a Garden

  1. Sketch the area out on paper.
  2. Make copies of it blank for future years or mess-ups.
  3. Make a list of everything you want to plant
  4. Note if they are seeds or plants you’ll be planting.
  5. Note the dates they need to be planted.
  6. Have the children each pick something they want to plant or an area they’ll be in charge of. This year Talea was in charge of the potatoes/peanuts box, Anderson-cucumbers, Samuel-zucchini, Makenna-lettuces, Kaitlyn-bell peppers, Thomas-strawberries, me-celery/peas/okra box and tomato box. Plus everything else! Kids plant and pull weeds and water and pick when ready.
  7. Start planting and document the dates for everything: the dates seeds go in, when they first come up, how tall they are each week, first picking, etc.
  8. Repeat all season long as you keep planting and picking!

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1 comment

Caitlyn February 23, 2023 - 12:34 pm

Great info. Can’t wait to build my garden!


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