Planning Next Year's Garden

Most of us only have finite space available for planting a garden. With hundreds of options, choosing the right seeds and plants can definitely be intimading, but it’s never too early to start planning so you can be ready when spring finally comes along.

Start by figuring out how much space you have. Measure your garden and you will have a better idea of what kinds of plants you will be able to fit into your space; maybe a bush bean will take up too much space, but a pole bean would fit in perfectly.

Also consider the exposure of your garden. Southern exposures with lots of sun would be perfect for tomatoes and peppers whereas northern exposures with more shade would allow lettuces and other greens to thrive.

Now it’s time to start thinking about what exactly you’d like to grow. How much space do you want to allot for annual flowers and how much will be taken up by vegetables? From beets, carrots, potatoes, corn, and squash to marigolds, violas, snapdragons, sunflowers, and zinnias there really are no wrong choices. Simply select plants that will suit your preferences and garden space.

It’s also important to think about what other preferences you have in order to narrow down which varieties to get. Do you want a loose leaf or a head lettuce? Furthermore, do you like red or green lettuce? Maybe you prefer a large beefsteak over a sweet cherry tomato. Are you going to be pickling cucumbers or eating them fresh? Do you want a tall sunflower to draw attention, some bright vining nasturtiums, or shorter pansies to border the garden bed? These are just some of the questions you may find yourself asking.

As well, some plants can be planted numerous times throughout the season so that you have a fairly continuous harvest. Think about whether you will want to be storing your vegetables for winter use or if you will be enjoying them right away. Do you want to make cutflower bouquets or will you want a long-living bloom? You’ll have to consider which varieties will suit each purpose best.

Keep in mind whether you would like to buy started plants in the spring or if you would like to start seeds early yourself. Buying plants is more convenient and requires less planning, but it may be difficult to get particularly rare or unique varieties if that is something you’re interested in. For our climate, some seeds like tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants should be started as early as February.

Make a brief outline of your preferences and how much space you have. Soon you’ll be on your way to having a complete garden plan and before you know it spring will be here!

Happy planting!!