“I want to start gardening, but I just don’t know what to grow! Everything looks so awesome, and I just want to grow EVERYTHING in this seed catalog. How do I start garden planning?”
From time to time, family members, friends and followers here on Small Scale Life ask me these questions or variations of these questions. People have a vision of where they want to be in their mind’s eye, but they do not know how to get there. That vision can seem impossible to obtain, and usually people get bogged down in the garden planning phase of the project. My advice to someone starting a garden is this: grow what you eat.
Garden Planning: Write It Down
If you are new to gardening, you probably are overwhelmed by it all. Do you plant kale, arugula or spinach? Should you plant Early Girl, Better Bush or Cherry tomatoes? What is a kohlrabi? It can be overwhelming looking at the endless pictures of beautifully colored produce in the seed catalogs, online or at the store.
Don’t sweat it. Seeds are cheap and there is a lot of time to plant more seeds if something fails. The key to start garden planning is making a big list of what you want to grow. This is your first draft.
Go through that list and actually grow what you eat. Circle those plants and focus on them. Remember: your space in the garden might be very limited. Do not waste your time and very valuable space for growing things that you don’t like or won’t eat. Grow what you eat; otherwise, you will be growing compost out of plants and vegetables that you do not eat.
I recommend experimenting with vegetables and herbs that you don’t normally eat by buying them at the local Farmer’s Market or from a local farmer. If you like those items, expand your garden or work those items into your plan next year.
Don’t Buy Seeds Quite Yet!
Now that you have your list of vegetables and flowers, you probably have that strong urge to buy seeds from the big box store and or seed catalogs. Don’t buy those seeds yet! There is more to think about before you buy including:
- Space needed for full grown plants
- Available space in your garden or growing area
- Light and shade
- Water strategy
Those are all topics for this Garden Planning Series, Small Scale Life Podcast, and associated videos. There will be time to start your seeds, trust me. I am going through this process with you since my garden is going away this year.
Stay tuned and continue to learn, do and grow!