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How to Plan Your Vegetable and Herb Garden

 

When you are trying to plan your garden it can be kind of overwhelming to think of where to start. I remember the first time that we planned our garden we went wild buying all kinds of different seeds and didn’t really have any type of plan. We just went to the store, bought what looked good and planted whatever we felt like in rows in a rectangular garden out back. There was no planning ahead. And guess what? We ended up with TONS of radishes and 1 or 2 edibles carrots. And the kicker is that we don’t t even like radishes that much in the first place, but LOVE carrots. I am speaking from personal experience here :)  Plan your garden. It is so worth it. Since we started our first garden about 8 or 9 years ago, we’ve learned a lot through trial and error and simple experience. Hopefully these tips will help you as you get ready to plan your garden. 1. Determine Your Commitment Figure out how much time you’re willing to commit to your garden and how much space you have to use.  It is easy to get high ambitions early in the season, but when it comes to actually weeding, watering and tending the garden, it is usually best to start off small.  2. Decide What to Plant Think of what your favorite vegetables are and decide which ones you think would be the most beneficial to grow. When we’re trying to plan out what we’ll plant, I try to grow the more expensive items and buy the cheaper stuff (like carrots) from the store. The Cheap Vegetable Gardener has a great chart showing the price per square foot of various vegetables and herbs.

Tomatoes are about $15 per square foot, versus cabbage, which is only 50 cents per square foot. So, if you loved both and only had limited room you’d probably want to grow tomatoes and save a lot more money.

Find your local extension office and they are an awesome resource to tell you what grows well in your area and suggest some of the best producers and plants for beginners.  The first time you garden, you may wish to start by buying small plants from the store to put out and you can always work your way into starting from seed next season.  Determine the date of the last frost in your area to figure out when you should put your plants out.

3.  Maximize the Space You Have

One of my favorite techniques for gardening is called square foot gardening. It involves less weeding and makes your garden a lot easier to maintain.  According the squarefootgardening.org you can grow 100% of the crop in 20% of the space of a conventional garden laid out in rows.  I’m all over that. Who doesn’t want to have more yummy veggies with less time tending the garden?

 

To make your square foot garden, you start with a 4X4 foot square, divide it into 12 square foot grids and plant in each of those squares, like the sample above.  You can read a lot more about the technique in Square Foot Gardening: A New Way to Garden in Less Space with Less Work

 or at My Square Foot Garden. Here are a few helpful gardening resources:

And, here are a few recipes to use up or with the bounty of your garden:

Are you planning to have a garden this year? What’s do you hope to grow?

 
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