How to Plan a Garden
This post might be more accurately titled "How to Plan a Garden if you are Me and You Have Cabin Fever and You Are Dreaming of Spring and Can't Wait to Get Planting So You Do Whatever You Can To Feel Like You Are Doing Some Gardening", but the title I used is catchier, so I went with that instead. You might remember that one of my garden goals for this year was to plan more, and if my followthrough for this goal is any indicator for the rest of them, I think this is going to be a very good year!
There are so many different ways to plan a garden, and if what I have done doesn't get you excited for the spring season, then don't worry about copying my method! I think that making a plan in general is important, but what is most helpful to each of you is going to be different, and each season might be different as well. I'd love to see what you come up with - let me know in the comments or link to any blog posts you might have done on the topic. I'm always looking for new ideas to try.
This type of garden plan (above) is what I have been doing the past few years. It's not an exact version of my garden layout because I wanted it all to fit on one page, and my space is rather long and narrow, so I shortened some of the walkways and in-between spaces to make it fit. The gardening areas are somewhat to scale, though. I find this type of plan overall most helpful since it gives you a birds eye view of your space and hopefully will clue you in to any problems. For example, I am probably going to have some issues with the amount of tomatoes I want to start vs. the amount of space I have to put them. We have some plans this year to add a few more raised beds to hopefully alleviate that issue. Last year they were too cramped and didn't produce well.
Keep in mind the areas of your garden that get the most light, and where any hot spots are. My first year in this space I planted my broccoli in completely the wrong spot, and it got totally baked. I figured any spot would be ok for them to go since in my north facing garden there is only the bare minimum of what would be considered "full sun", but I didn't realize how intense the heat and light were concentrated in some specific areas. Now I put peppers and other heat loving things in those spots. Also be aware of the shade areas you have, and think of creative ways to use them. I have mostly "part shade" and even some "full shade" spots, so I have planted a lot of herbs, and plan to add some other understory plants. The area you see above that is all herbs is actually covered by a deck above, but it still works for things like mint, chives, and parsley. I've been thinking of adding some fiddlehead producing ferns there this year, and I have wondered if Oregon grape might work there too since I usually see it in the forest as an understory type plant. It's native to the area as well, so I have a feeling it might do well there.
As part of my planning this year, I was inspired by Lavender and Leeks to draw out what my garden will look like visually. This isn't quite as practical as doing the birds eye view layout, but I really enjoyed the process, and it helped me think about what the space would look like aesthetically. I also realized that in my drawing I forgot a few things that I planned to do like tuck in nasturtiums between all the brassicas. These are also not to scale, and in some cases I shortened the space between the raised beds so things would fit on one page together. I also realized I draw almost all my vines the same as each other, and that some of these plants are really hard to draw from memory. I thought I knew what they all looked like (and for sure I can recognize most garden plants from sight), but there is something different about knowing them when you have to try and draw them. I want to try that a bit more this year and really get to know the plants I am growing. Mr. Forager had an amazing idea that I should make garden colouring pages for Little Forager, and I think I will! I also think I might offer them as some sort of printable here on the blog!
Hopefully you found this inspiring, or at least interesting. I really enjoyed the whole process, and it helped to work out some of my garden dreams on paper while I still can't get outside and make them happen in the dirt.
I'd love to see what you all come up with for your garden plans. Make sure you let me know in the comments! I'd love to hear your ideas and get some new ones to try as well!