Making a Plan for Your Garden
Getting started with your garden can seem overwhelming even for the greenest of thumbs. Here are some easy tips for planning your seeds and plants.
- To seed or not to seed. Decide what and why you want to grow from seed. Is it food security, therapy, cut flowers, freshness, selection? Can you get the same thing with less hassle from the local garden center? (I mean, we need to stay in business too!) Seeds can offer better selection, but 100% germination is only theoretical and windowsills are only so big for seed starting. Think of which plants you need to plant from seed and which you might be better off letting someone else germinate and start for you.
2. Assess your risk level. How much of what you are buying is 'experimental' to you? If you’re relatively new to gardening, try to keep the experimental plants to a minimum and stick with what you know to reduce stress on yourself.
3. Determine how much space you have. If you live in an apartment with a balcony, then one packet of sunflowers is too many plants for that space. Think smaller plants that are more container friendly. On the other hand, if you’ve got an acre to plant, you’ve got the space for all sizes of flowers, herbs, and vegetables.
4. Know your plants. Check the growing information regarding location, spacing, water requirements, etc. before purchasing. For example, you don't want to put plants with high water requirements too far away from the hose or other water source. Keep small planters close to the house or use a home irrigation system.
5. Give ‘em the space they need. Spacing out your plants appropriately makes sure that plants are able to get the right amount of nutrients from the soil, keeps diseases from spreading, and can even increase yield. We all need a little space sometimes, right?
6. Know your sunny spots. If you want to plant the shady half of the yard along with the sunny half, then you can't order all shade plants or all full sun plants. You should also consider the transition areas between the sun and shade.
7. Don't fall for the photos. Some catalogs are stunning, but just because it looks good, doesn't mean that you or your family will eat it. Do you really need 3 different colors of zucchini? Of course not, one plant will feed a village.
8. Be Santa: make a list, and check it twice. It’s always better to go into a garden center with a shopping list to be sure you don’t miss anything important. If you’re ordering online, shipping costs are increasing substantially, so ordering as little as necessary from as few vendors as possible.
9. Ask the experts. If you’re unsure about any of the above, it’s okay to ask questions of someone who knows. Your local garden center is likely full of plant-loving people who only want the best for their little seeds and plants. Use their experiences to find the right plants for you and your garden.
Download our "Making a Plan For Your Garden" infographic to give yourself an easy checklist as you get ready for growing!