Do you want to get the most out of your vegetable garden? Then making a good garden plan is the first step! It’s important to think about what you want to grow and how much space you need for it so that you can arrange your vegetable garden properly. It’s also useful to know the best time to start or plant certain crops so that you can harvest at the right time. We have made a list of 9 steps that you can follow to create a successful garden plan!
1. Determine the size of your vegetable garden
Before you can start making a garden plan, it’s important to know how much space you have available. If you have a small garden, for example, you may not have as much space for large crops such as cabbage, zucchini, or pumpkins. Think about how much space you have and how you can best use it.
You can use square-foot gardening for a small garden. For a larger garden, you can choose to grow a certain number of square meters of a particular crop. This is the way we do it. All of our beds are 5 meters long by 0.75 meters wide. For every meter, we know how many of a particular plant fit on it by looking at the plant spacing of the crop we want to grow. For beets and onions, for example, about 30 plants fit on one meter of a vegetable garden bed. For cabbage, on the other hand, it stops at 6 plants.
2. Consider the climate you are growing in
Some crops grow better in certain conditions than others. If you live in a cooler, drier environment, for example, vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage will probably grow well. But if you live in a warm, humid environment, vegetables such as tomato, pepper, and eggplant will thrive.
The Netherlands certainly falls under the cooler and drier environment, and that is why we mainly choose the typically Dutch crops such as:
- green beans
- garden beans
- brussels sprouts
For people who grow in a greenhouse, there are also these three: tomato, cucumber, and pepper!
3. Make a list of crops for your garden plan
Think about what you want to grow in advance and make a list of crops you want to plant. You can choose vegetables that you use often in the kitchen, such as carrots, lettuce, and onions, or exotic vegetables that you have never eaten before, such as bamboo or okra.
Our advice is to choose things that you really like to cook with. We have noticed that when we grow things that we normally never eat, we don’t often harvest them to use in a recipe. Things like onions and leeks we use a lot, yield a lot and taste delicious from our own garden.
4. Make a layout
Now that you know what you want to grow, you can make a layout of your vegetable garden. This will help you visualize how to best arrange your vegetable garden and see how much space you have for each crop. This can be done very easily by drawing your garden from above. The dimensions don’t have to be very precise, as long as the layout is the same. It’s best to scan this layout and print it out again for each month so that you can have an overview of what will be in the garden at any given month.
5. Determine the best time to sow or plant
To make your actual garden plan, you need to know when to start with which vegetables and how long they need to stay in the garden before you can harvest them and sow something new in that spot.
Find out when the best time is to sow or plant certain crops. This can vary greatly and depends on the type of vegetable and your location. Some crops, for example, are best sowed in the spring, while others thrive when planted in the fall. In addition, you should also find out how long these plants need to grow before you can harvest them.
Let’s use tomatoes as an example. We sow tomatoes indoors at the end of March. They need to be planted in the garden around mid-May (after the frost), after about six weeks. They then need to grow for another four months before the first harvest is there and we can continue harvesting until sometime at the end of October. If you want to grow tomatoes, you need to reserve a spot in your garden from mid-May to the end of October. The rest of the months don’t have to be left unused. You could possibly do something before or after in the ground. Winter lettuce, for example, works very well afterward!
This is how you go through all the vegetables you want to grow until you have a clear overview of how long things take and what to keep in mind.
6. Create a schedule
Now that you know when it is best to start and how long things need to stay in your garden, create a schedule from your overview. Start with the plants that you love the most and give them a spot in the right month on your drawing. This way, you can fill in every month until your garden is full. This takes some time, but it’s worth it.
7. Make a list of supplies
Make sure you have all the supplies you need to maintain your garden and grow your plants. These include: seeds, plants, compost, tools, seedling items, and protective measures. It’s important to arrange this in advance so you don’t fall behind. Include this in your plan.
Before we start planting, we check in advance if any special supplies are needed to stimulate growth or prevent problems. For example, we tie up tomatoes with twine and tomato clips. We also like to protect cabbage and carrots from butterflies and flies with insect netting.
8. Create a maintenance garden plan
Think about how to best maintain your garden so that your crops stay healthy and productive. This might mean regularly fertilizing, weeding, and watering. It’s important to include this in your plan, as it might mean you need to provide extra fertilizers or that you need to be extra vigilant about weeding because certain plants are susceptible to weeds.
9. Be flexible with your garden plan
Keep in mind that growing vegetables and fruits is a process and that unexpected things may happen. Be flexible and adjust your plan as needed.
By keeping these things in mind, you can create a good plan for your garden. This way, you’ll know exactly what you want to grow, when to start everything, and how to best lay out your garden. This will give you the confidence to start growing delicious, fresh vegetables and fruits.