7 Things You Must Do Before You Start Planning Your Garden

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It’s time to start dreaming about and planning your garden! Over the years I’ve learned that my garden’s success is tied to how well I plan ahead. But often, when we plan our gardens, we skip right to the “what am I going to plant” part.

We’ll get there, but first, there are seven things I’d encourage you to consider that will help guide you to be more efficient and strategic before you dive into the nuts and bolts of garden planning.

Before you place our seed order or start drawing your garden layout, make sure you read over these 7 things you must do before you start planning your garden, so you can ensure maximum garden success this year. Plus, you will avoid overwhelm and useless spending on crops you won’t eat anyway.

If you’d like to watch a YouTube video instead of reading this post all about 7 things you must do before you start planning your garden, you can watch here:

7 Things You Must Do Before You Start Planning Your Garden

Let me show you the 7 things you must do before you start planning your garden with these topics:

Complete Garden Planner & Journal

Before we can start the actual planning of your garden, you need the most important tool – a garden planner, and you are in luck, because our new Complete Garden Planner & Journal is available. I will be using this printable planner to demonstrate the 7 things you must do before you start planning your garden.

2024 Garden Planner

Evaluate Your Why

We all garden for different reasons, and it’s important to identify what your overall purpose is.

For example, if you want to eat fresh food from your garden for as long as possible, then you’ll want to plan for more succession plantings

Do you enjoy canning? If you want to preserve as much as possible, you’ll want to select varieties of crops most suitable for preserving.

If you want to enjoy your garden without as much overwhelm, then you may decide to plant less.

Take some time to evaluate your why for gardening and make sure to take those reasons into consideration when you are selecting your crops and deciding on your space.

Assess What You Have To Give

Our next thing you must do before you start planning your garden is consider how much time you have. Time is precious and when it comes to gardening, how much time do you have to give to your garden? Be realistic when you are thinking about how much time you actually have to devote to your garden.  

Are you in a busy season of life? Do you have any physical limitations that would make gardening hard for you? If you have any limitations, make sure you take those into consideration when you are planning your garden or you might find yourself completely burned out during the height of the growing season.

It’s always better to err on the side of a smaller garden when you first begin. You’d rather wish you had more space and expand the following year than burn out and give up.

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Identify Your Garden Space

Identifying your garden space is our next step of the 7 things you must do before you start planning your garden. Before you can start dreaming about what you will grow, you need to start thinking about where you will grow your crops. 

garden beds

Take some time to identify any in-ground space, containers, raised beds, and vertical planters. After you know how much space you have, you can better plan the amount of seeds you need to order and plants you need to buy. That way, you don’t over-purchase and not have enough room to plant them all. 

Understand Your Climate

Next, let’s talk about the importance of knowing your climate. Understanding your climate is critical for deciding when to plant crops outside and when to start seeds indoors. It’s also critical for knowing when to expect harvests, and when to expect cool season crops to bolt or get bitter. 

You can also better plan for when crops like tomatoes and beans will pause production in the heat and when fall crops will stop growing (and start again). Your climate will also determine which onion type to grow, which perennial crops may survive your winter, and so much more. While knowing your climate will be an ongoing observation over the years, knowing these key dates and other factors will help you plan.

Prioritize Your Goals

Our next step is to prioritize your gardening goals. You’ll need to think about things like which crops are most important to you, which plants are secondary, and which crops you’d like to try for the first time. 

Garden goals planning

It’s also helpful to think about what recipes you may want to make and lean into seasonal eating. If you have limited garden space, deciding what’s most important will help you make sure you have room for those crops that are top priorities and also be okay with cutting some crops out of your list if you need to.

Plan Your Projects

Something else to think about when you are planning your garden are those projects that you also want to complete. I know there is a lot of emphasis on planning and planting, but you also need to take time to consider any gardening projects you also might want to get done — projects like a new compost area, building new raised beds, or constructing a trellis

plan your garden space

When these types of projects are thrown into your regular gardening duties it’s easy to overlook them. If you know you want a new compost area, or you need to build raised beds or a new trellis, plan to complete those projects before you need them. Also, by planning your projects, you can ensure you have the supplies ready when you need them.

Seed Shop Strategically 

Our final step is to seed shop strategically, especially now that you have all of these other steps in place. 

Knowing your priorities will help you say no to the “bright shiny objects” in the seed catalog. That way you can focus only on what serves your priorities. Plus, you will be more ready to buy only what you need. It might be hard to say no to those ten varieties of tomatoes, but if you already know you only have room for three, then you can choose the ones you really want to grow. And, if you want to know how to shop for seeds and save the most money, check out this video.

Garden planning is what gets me through the long winter days, and I’ve found these 7 things you must do before you start planning your garden to serve my garden the best. Don’t forget to grab my printable Complete Garden Planner & Journal today.

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