I love that the garden is heading back towards its roots (pun intended) of being a practical place, where even in urban spaces, our little patches of dirt can be transformed into a bountiful plot of vegetables, herbs, and flowers. Providing a sustainable haven for insects and other wildlife, but also nourishing our bodies and improving our overall wellbeing. But as with all gardens, there should be some element of planning that goes into it, even if you aren’t a full-on farmer.
Here are some simple keys to help you with your own garden planning:
1. Think about what you want out of your garden.
Do you want an endless supply of spinach or kale for your green smoothies? Do you want to grow your own herbs? Tea? Or do you want to grow vegetables that are hard to buy from your local supermarket? Your garden is your space to be creative and grow what you desire!
2. Think about which season you are planting for.
This will determine which plants you can consider planting. You should also think about the climate that you live in, as some summers are hotter than others, and therefore some plants may not cope in that climate. Doing research online, or talking to other gardeners in your area will help you with this.
3. Consider the size of your garden.
If you have quite a large space – then great! If you don’t have a big space, don’t fret. This could cut your list down quite a lot, but there is hope. If you have a small space, filling your garden with a few space dominant plants such as pumpkin and melons might not be the best use of space, or even filling your garden with slow growing plants also might not be the best use of your space, depending on your gardening goals. Planting these space dominant or slow growing plants in containers might be the way for you to go if you do want to plant these.
4. Consider the location of your garden.
Does your garden get afternoon sun? If so, fantastic. But if your garden is quite shaded, you should look at growing plants that don’t require as much sun to grow, such as spinach, Swiss chard, broccoli, peas etc. You should also look at growing plants that need a lot of sun in pots that can be easily moved so that they can get the sunlight that they need. This could work well for your tomato crops.
5. Look at companion plants.
Companion planting is a great way to add diversity to your garden and can help to improve the harvest that you get from your plants by attracting beneficial insects and wildlife to your garden. On the flip side of this, companion planting is also important to understand as planting some plants next to one another can actually lead to harvests that aren’t as ideal as you like. Make sure you do a bit of reading about companion planting to make sure that you get the most out of your space. One of my personal favourites is planting tomato, basil, and marigolds together. The basil is thought to enhance the tomato flavour, while marigolds are thought to be a natural pest deterrent. That sounds great to me.
6. Play with colour, texture, and levels.
Vegetable gardens don’t just have to be 50 shades of green. Add pops of colour with flowers, red lettuce, rainbow chard, red cabbage, purple cauliflower, beans. The list goes on. Play around with blocking colours of these, sowing seeds densely to get good coverage, and then thinning them back as they start to grow, and create patterns within your garden.
The opportunities within your garden are pretty much endless. Once I have considered these factors, I like to draw my garden and map out what is already there, and what I want to add in and where. This helps me to plan out how much I need to sow and grow. Once you have got your garden planted, think about succession planting as well so that you can have an ongoing harvest from your garden throughout the season.
If you have any other great garden planning tips, let me know! I’d love to hear how you plan your garden and what resources you use to help you!