Planning your garden is at the top of any gardener’s to-do list because it saves time, money, and disappointment. Let’s get started with these tips.
Sun and Shade
Take time to observe your garden and discover where sun and shade falls. This will help you to decide where to grow different crops. For instance, tomatoes, peppers and other tender crops prefer full sun throughout the day if possible, but salad leaves and some herbs such as chives do better in partial shade, especially in hot climates.
You can create pockets of shade in a sunny garden by growing taller plants in front of shorter ones; for instance, growing sunflowers to cast shade on lettuces.
A Sheltered Area, Not Windy
It’s also important to note which parts of your garden are windy and which are more sheltered so you can decide which crops to grow there. Pole beans for instance may be damaged if grown in a windy spot, while corn needs a light wind to insure good pollination.
Crop rotation is important to reduce a build-up of pests and diseases in the soil and to prevent the soil from becoming exhausted. Different crops use up nutrients in varying amount, so hungry cabbages, for example, are best grown after beans or peas which actually add nitrogen (an essential plant nutrient for good growth) to the soil. The cabbage will soak up a lot of nutrients, so once they have been harvested the soil will be less fertile, and can be used to grow crops such as carrots that don’t need very rich soil.
Our Garden Planner makes planning your crop rotation simple by flashing red in areas that have been used to grow crops from the same crop rotation family previously.
Your Sowing and Planting Schedule
A good garden plan includes a sowing and planting schedule to make sure you start the right plant at the right time.
This is where our Garden Planner comes into its own. Once you’ve added the plants you want to grow to your plan, you can click on the Plant List button to see their recommended times for indoor sowing, outdoor sowing/transplanting, and harvesting for your location. You’ll also receive sowing and planting reminders twice a month by email.
How Many Plants for the Space
The Garden Planner helps you to plan how many plants you will need for the space you have available. This means that not only will you know how many you need to sow or plant, you can buy just the right amount of seed containers, potting soil, and plant supports – so you won’t overspend in the excitement of seed shopping!
Maximize Your Space
Succession planting—planting a fresh crop as soon as one is harvested—maximizes your garden’s productivity. The Garden Planner’s Succession Planting tool makes planning this easy.
Set the ‘in-ground’ dates for each plant when it will be growing in your garden, then view your plan in a specific month to see when and where there is space to plant a new crop. The selection bar can be filtered to show only plants suitable for setting out during that month, making it easy to choose plants you have time left in the growing season for. That simple bit of planning will at least double the number of harvests you’ll get from the same patch of soil.
Working out the best layout for your crops sets you up for success! Check out the 7-day free trial of the Almanac Garden Planner to get started!