The Family Garden Plan with Melissa K. Norris

Garden Planning · Gardening Tips & How-to's · In the Garden · The Beginner's Garden Podcast

Are you ready to make a plan for your garden? How do you know how much you will need from your garden? How many plants should you plant? Thankfully, to get the answers to these questions, you don’t have to start from scratch. Instead, take a few cues from someone who has the years of experience and research to provide you a starting point.

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Melissa K Norris, author of the Family Garden Plan

In today’s podcast episode (and the article below), Melissa K. Norris from the Pioneering Today Podcast is back to talk about her book The Family Garden Plan. You may have already heard her when I talked to her about Best Gardening Tips and Getting Started with Home Canning.

Listen to our full conversation below.

4 Considerations for a Family Garden Plan

Know what you need before planting

When you start to think about what you should plant in your garden, start with what and how many fruits, vegetables, and herbs your family regularly eats. Also, how much do you want to preserve, if any? How much of each vegetable do you eat in a month? This could take some time to calculate and will take some trial and error based on your climate and other factors, but it makes a big difference to get a general idea of these things when planning your garden.

Melissa includes many charts in her book to help determine how many plants your family would need. And she’s giving it away here!

Expected Quantity of Harvest May Vary

In her book, the Family Garden Plan, Melissa gives estimates of how much yield you should expect from specific crops. But what you will actually harvest will depend on your climate and your growing season. Use those estimates and these worksheets as a starting point, a guide. But no matter what the charts say, your garden may yield higher or lower than average. And, you might find slightly different harvest quantities every year because your harvest will depend on your weather and other factors that you can’t control.

Add Perennial plantings

Perennial crops are those that will come back year after year. When you think about perennials, you want to carefully choose where you place them because they will keep coming back! They are typically very low maintenance. Plants like rhubarb or asparagus take a couple of years to get started, but you can harvest from them for years. Raspberries are one of the quickest maturing perennials that are a joy to have in your garden. Also, consider other perennials like fruit trees, even though they will take longer to bear a harvest.

Add Herbs and Flowers Strategically in the Vegetable Garden

In the annual vegetable garden, it is best to choose annual herbs and flowers for companion plantings. Because many perennial herbs, like mint and oregano, tend to be invasive, these herbs are better grown in containers or dedicated beds. Regardless of when you choose to plant them, herbs and flowers attract pollinators and beneficial insects.

The Family Garden Plan

These are just a few of the highlights of Melissa’s Book, The Family Garden Plan. The entire book is packed with planning worksheets, gardening tips, and pest control charts, along with information on vegetables, fruits, and herbs. Simple enough for the beginner but packed with advanced topics for the experienced gardener, The Family Garden Plan is a must-read for any gardener.

Check out the other books in this Gardening Books for Beginner’s Series:
Field Guide to Urban Gardening with Kevin Espiritu of Epic Gardening
The AutoPilot Garden with Luke Marion of MI Gardener
Organic Gardening for Everyone by CaliKim

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