Plan Your Garden

 Plan Your Garden 

1. Plan based on your needs - how much food do you need to grow. 
2. Plan based on space - How many plants can you grow in the area you have?
3. Plan based on the cost of growing your food. Is it practical to pay $20/pound for tomatoes? A good tip is to avoid many of the inputs that drive up the cost of growing food. Use what you have: Add what you need. 
4. Make a long-term plan to manage soil quality. Start by calendaring crops for rotation, recycling waste into compost, and manage soil health with row covers. An army of tiny micro-organisms in the soil does nothing but convert nutrients into food for plants. Make these guys your friends. 
5. Plan on watering - be sure to check the garden daily for issues like dry plants or pest damage. Make sure that your watering plan takes in the needs of each type of plant you grow. 
6. Plan on using garden hacks such as successive planting to make the most of space and time. 
7. Schedule garden hours that also include the harvesting and prep work for preserving foods. 
8 Have fun and grow what you love.

How to Plan Your Garden

How to plan your garden is a massive question because gardens are not all the same. How do you plan your garden? There are a few ways to approach that question. One of the best ways to plan a garden is based on what you expect to do with the results. Crop yield is a mixture of your environment, the growing conditions, what you plant, and how you take care of it. Let's start with a few of the garden types and some considerations for utilizing them.  

Types of Gardens:

Indoor gardens are essential for many of us. We may not have a yard, or the climate may make it nearly impossible to grow outdoors without at least some factor of indoor gardening. Maybe it's just seed starting, but some plants do well in an indoor environment. Many of them you find in your grocery store. Greenhouses, wind tunnels, cold frames, hoop houses are all forms of indoor gardening.   How you garden:  hydroponics, in-ground, above ground, and container gardens are various forms of gardens. One of the first considerations for gardening is the expectation of crop yield. How much food do you plan to grow? The next question is all about size. How much space do you have? The third question is all about you. How much time do you have to devote to gardening? And, who are you as a gardener? The home chef with a small culinary garden is a different character than a home prepper who plans to grow all of their family's food. The goals and expectations are different, but they are also much the same person on some levels. Here's a look at planning different types of gardens. 

 Indoor Gardens 

Window -

Window gardens have limitations - specifically, the amount of light they get. You can substitute with artificial lights and growing frames to expand the space—plan based on the area and go from there. If you are growing a garden in your home, you also want to plan for water damage, mold, and mildew that can occur in a moist environment. You will also want to plan for plant space and follow a school of thought such as square foot gardening so that you can figure out how much you can grow in a limited space. 


Much like an outdoor garden, greenhouses are excellent at extending our growing season, when we can start to plant, and how late in the year crops will produce. On the same level are hoop houses, which provide shade to plants that cannot tolerate too much direct sun. Again, you are planning for the space available and how to maximize that space. Plant size is a consideration, as is the number of days to harvest. Because you can heat a greenhouse, you have a longer growing season. You can start crops earlier by sowing seeds or planning for transplanting. You can plan successive planting schedules so that you take full advantage of that space. You may plant in beds or containers or directly in the earth. 


The first consideration is the space needed to grow in a hydroponic system that includes all the necessary equipment to manage a hydro system. Do you have room for a refrigeration unit, water tanks, fertilization systems, and the space to walk around tanks and prepping plants and products? 

 Outdoor Gardens 

Growing food outdoors is probably the easiest way to garden. There are considerations. Up to this point, the soil we are dealing with is mixed, bagged soil, such as potting soil. Now you have the option of growing in the ground. Here's a look at some outdoor garden options and how to plan for them.

 Raised Beds-

Raised beds are a very common way to start a garden. The first consideration is how much space. The nice thing about raised beds is that you can add more if you need to, providing you have the yard space. There are garden programs that help you take advantage of all the growing space. Growing vertical is one, and another is square foot gardening. You will have to consider the soil that goes in the bed, but that is also the perfect time to use compost or aged manure mixed with topsoil. Raised beds help to remove the fear of contaminated soil too. Plan your garden by determining the best plant mix given the space. Certain plants need one square foot of soil space, while others might need three square feet. You can plan your garden based on the yields you need. 

 Not Raised- 

In-ground gardening considerations include soil quality, space, and pest issues. It's a good idea to have the soil tested, so you know if there are heavy metals or toxins and the soil pH. Pest issues include animals, insects, and micro-organisms such as fungi. Soil quality issues are all about drainage and nutrient levels. Poor draining soil often kills plants—plan to address soil quality. You can amend the soil to overcome low soil nutrient loads by adding compost, aged manure, or fertilizer. You can plan your garden yield by examining the row footage and then compare that with the plants-per-person information in our plant profile. 

 Potted -

Container gardens are easy too. You are limited to the number of plants that will fit in each container and that containers often dry out quicker than other types of gardens. You will have to also amend the soil more often, especially for perennials or vegetables that are heavy feeders. Hanging - Hanging gardens require a frame and space. Also, not every plant thrives in a hanging basket. Vertical gardens are fantastic when you don't have a lot of room. Because of the way light falls, small plants do well, and they fill up the vertical space without overly competing. You must plan on providing a sturdy area to hang containers. Remember that smaller containers dry out quickly, so you will need to plan on extra water cycles. Plan the container for the plant so that you do not have to fertilize as frequently. 

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