Garden: Planning

February 12th, 2010

Garden: Planning

I have a bit of a confession to make: we’ve never had a vegetable garden. A real one. We’ve had several failed attempts, but for one reason or another (neglected seedlings, deer, children who like to shovel) they don’t yield too much. But this year? We’re committing to a garden.

But we really don’t know exactly what we’re doing. We’re reading books and digging up resources, and then we’re going to wing it and hope it goes well. New to this gardening thing? Join us on our journey! An old pro? Oh, please, give us some advice.

This month we’re working on planning. From what I can gather, we should begin starting some seedlings in early March, and I keep hearing that we’re already behind!

My dream garden is this massive spread of green from which we could sustain ourselves completely. Something like this garden plan from one of my favorite books by John Seymour.


The great thing about this book is that it also offers much smaller garden plans to accommodate different  amounts of real estate. (And more realistic plans for those of us who need to remember to keep our feet on the ground.) We have good friends who planted their garden in the front yard of their suburban house, since it was their sunniest spot. Make use of what you’ve got seems to be the name of the game!

I’ve been hunting around for good planning tools, and this is what I’ve found so far:

Gardener’s Supply Kitchen Garden Planner
This is an interactive tool that allows you indicate how much space you have available, and then drag and drop your vegetables. When you’re done planning the garden, it assembles a planting guide for your use.

Martha Stewart’s Seed Starting Worksheet
Once you know what you’re planting, begin figuring out when you’ll need to start seedlings or start putting things in the ground.

Hume Seed Planting Chart
How much do you need to plant to feed your family? This always stumps me a bit, but I found this chart that indicates the number of plants you would need for a family of four for several basic vegetables. This seems like a good starting point.

Please give us a shout if you know of other great resources!

Davin Risk

February 12th, 2010   5:33 pm

I can recommend (despite obvious bias) both books by my partner Gayla Trail. Her newest book is called “Grow Great Grub: Organic Food from Small Spaces.” It presents a very easy-going approach to growing a bunch of what you eat.

You can take a look at You should also visit her website, since there’s lots of information and an active community of gardeners.

Now we just need it to warm up a bit.


February 12th, 2010   9:18 pm

My greatest advice is a few words:
patience, observe, flexible

oh, and spend huge amounts of time making good soil – it’s key


February 24th, 2010   3:04 pm

Davin, thanks for pointing me toward Gayla! I just spent an absurd amount of time clicking around her site. And I suspect I have a trip to the bookstore coming to check out her book.

And thanks, gizo! Stocking up on patience, and exploring good soil options.

nancy averett

April 6th, 2010   12:07 pm

Just for inspiration try “Our Life in Gardens” by Joe Eck and Wayne Winterowd (though right now I have the only copy in the Lane system; promise I’ll return it soon!), a new book out that makes you want to dream big


January 27th, 2014   11:18 pm

So how’d your garden turn out and did you plant in subsequent years? Getting ready to start one in a new location (we’ve moved 8 hours south). I’m excited and want to hear of others journeys, thanks!


April 7th, 2014   1:45 am

I suggest you plan a way to incorporate crop rotation so your garden would not be a 1 season garden but sustainable over the years

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