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Spring Garden Planning 101

Now that January’s over and the garden dreaming has begun, it’s time to put pen to paper and create a garden design that is functional and achievable for YOU! That means one that is complimentary to your space, the amount of time you want to spend tending the garden and that gives you an abundant harvest. 

This process is a bit long to explain, but I promise you that it’s worth it. I’m going step by step, and walking you through the way I approach garden planning so that I avoid frustration come planting time.

This plan is all about Spring edible garden planning, so let’s DIG IN (pun intended)!

Here’s a quick peek at a garden plan I made for Spring 2020.

Let’s start here! Step 1. Head outside and measure your proposed garden space. Take a pencil and paper with you and jot down a rough sketch. Add your garden measurements, any large trees, fences, etc and don’t forget to mark out where North is. Note how many hours of full sun your space gets.

Step 2. Now it’s time to head online to figure out what you’ll plant in the Spring. Head over to the planting calendar on the Farmer’s Almanac website here and enter in your location to find out the best date to start planting your Spring garden. As certain seeds and plants are cold tolerant, these will be part of your Spring planting plan, which we’re creating today. (Other plants are damaged by cold temperatures and must be planted out once the danger of frost has passed.) This link will help you see which plants will be directly sown (planted as seeds in the earth) in your garden and which can be started indoors and then transplanted. 

Step 3. Alright! Time to make your plant list. Take the wishlist you compiled in January and cross reference it with your planting calendar. You’ll now come up with a new list for Spring 2020. My list looks something like this: arugula, spinach, lettuce, carrots, beets, kale, peas, chard, rapini, radish, hakurei turnip and baby bok choi – yours will be different and equally delicious! 

Step 4. Next, amass your garden plan supplies. I recommend having the following on hand: grid/graph paper, coloured pens and coloured sticky notes. 

Step 5. Draw your garden space out, putting the North edge of your garden at the top of the page. Include dimensions. Next write out your plant list on the same page, and include the days to maturity for each plant (this info is found in your seed catalogue in the printed or online version). Also take a look at the light requirement for the plants you wish to grow and make sure it corresponds with the amount of daily sunlight your space gets.

Step 6. Get coding! I find garden planning easier when you have a system. My coloured sticky notes help do the trick! In general I use the following system:

Green = needs trellis

Blue = remains all season

Purple = direct sow and transplant (for succession planting)

Pink = direct sow 3x (7-10 apart)

Yellow = direct sow

STILL WITH ME?¬†Now, write the name of each of your plant varieties on their own sticky, following the coding system you’ve chosen.

Step 7.  Arrange your sticky notes from North to South, with the taller plants at the North end and the shorter plants at the South end.Once you have your primary layout done take a moment and congratulate yourself!

Step 8. I know, you thought you were done. Just a quick step now to make sure you’re planting smartly. Plants all generally get along, but some get along better than others. Companion planting is the practice of being sure to arrange your plants so that they exist harmoniously. For example, having too many plants grouped together that require the same nutrient might lead to weaker plants. There are many companion planting guides online, I like one. Now that you’ve figured out the friends and foes of your plants, take another look at your planting plan and rearrange any stickies that need repositioning. Now you’re done! Amazing job!!*If you’re a more visual person and want to see this process unfold, head on over to my Instagram account and check out my IGTV video to see the process on video! As always, I’d love to hear from you, so if you have any questions or need some help planning your Spring 2020 garden send me an email or DM me on Instagram.

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