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Saturday, April 13, 2013

My Garden Planner

It's that time of year when everyone is planning their vegetable garden. With dreams of beautiful vine ripe tomatoes turning their rosy red cheeks up to the sun. I do need to get out doors and get my hands in the dirt. Although it is still cold out there is something we can all do now while we are waiting for the weather to warm up a bit. We can plan our garden on paper. Most every gardener does their planning differently. A few years back I was the type of gardener that just bought plants and seeds. Planted them in the tilled soil, watered, weeded and hoped for the best. Some years I did better than others but over all my garden did poorly. For the last few years I have been putting more effort into my garden and a large bounty of fresh vegetables has been my reward.
First off I plan my garden out on paper. Did you know that some vegetables have friends and other vegetables have enemies. Well, not really enemies but their called antagonists and friends would be called companions. While planning I first read the package instructions. How much sun and room do the seeds need to grow at their best. Is the plant a cool season vegetable or do they need to be planted after the threat of frost has passed. Then I check a chart I have that will tell me which plants I want to place each vegetable beside. I use this chart so I do not plant enemies together.

For example:
The Tomatoes plants companions are basil, borage, carrots, celery, chives and dill. The antagonists for a tomato plant are beets, cabbages, fennel and rosemary. 
You can find that chart here.

Then I make a graph of my garden. I plan out each section carefully. making sure tall plants do not shade vegetables that need full sun. I try to plant water loving vegetables on one side and those that do not need watered every day on the other end.  I think you have got the idea. This year I found a garden graphing tool on line. It was easy to use. Just put in your garden size click on the vegetables you want on your graph and drag them where you need them. Then print the graph. 
You can find that tool here.

I keep all this information in a loose spiral notebook. This makes it easier when I am in my garden planting I do not have to stop what I am doing and hunt through my gardening books to find this important information.  In my notebook I keep a page for each plant type. 
For Example:
Grape Tomatoes
Started in pots: 4/9/2013      Planted in garden: -------
Germ 7-10 days      Depth 1/4in
Spacing 3ft/2ft         Harvest 60-70 days
Full sun
Antagonists: beets,cabbages, fennel and rosemary.
Companions: basil, carrots, celery, chives and dill.
I attach the seed package to the page. 
As the season goes by I keep notes about the plants. Such as when I fertilize, how well the plants are producing and if the plants get an infestation I record what I used to treat the problem. All of this information will come in handy so I know if I want to purchase this variety of tomatoes next year. It can also help me learn what types of gardening techniques work best.  

Have you planned your garden yet? What are you planning to grow? Do you have a favorite vegetable to grow or eat?


  1. You go to a lot more trouble than I do to plant a garden. I shove the plants in dirt and hope and pray they come up.

  2. You plant a lot more than I do. I just plant peppers, tomatoes and zucchini. Plus on my back porch I have basil, peppermint, rosemary, chives, oregano that I plant in pots.

  3. Wow, it seems you have it all planned out. I also just plop them in the dirt. I haven't grown veggies in a while. My DIL once gave us pepper plants and loved them. I have grown tomatoes and might do that again, Right now waiting for the gardener to check over my garden since we were hit with Hurricane Sandy and not sure what will survive and what has to be replaced....wanted roses for a long time, so might try that first....

  4. Wow, I'm impressed! My yard is not good for a garden, so I've done other sorts of landscaping with it. But the group home where my sons live has a great space for a garden. The house manager is busy planning it right now, and we will have a garden planting party in the next few weeks!

  5. I'm guessing that you reap a lot of great produce from your wonderful planned out gardens. This is great! Gardening looks so great and rewarding, however....I'm not very good at this sort of thing. Had a garden year before last and it seems that the cucumbers and the squash liked each other a little too much...they cross pollinated, so we ended up with nothing.
    have a blessed day...

  6. Wow, you are SUPER organized! I have broccoli, peas, garlic, onions, rhubarb, lettuce, carrots, and asparagus up right now. I've planted brussels and limas this weekend as well. I will put in potatoes, tomatoes, and beets in the next couple of weeks. I am going to wait until late to do squashes this year, as squash bugs were AWFUL last summer, and I'm hoping to miss them.

  7. You are really organized, Bonnie... I love the way you organize your garden.. Bet that means that you will have LOTS of wonderful veggies soon!!!


  8. I have good intentions to get mine up and running. You are so organized!

  9. Wow you are very organized! I hope when I make my garden, I will be organized like you.

  10. I read this after commenting on you other gardening post...companion planting has made a super difference in my garden. Natural bug deterrents! Your graph makes it easier. Thanks for sharing!