Garden planning starts in late Winter when I receive seed catalogs. Having a pre-drawn plan of my garden area ahead of time definitely helps with the planning process. The plan I work from for our garden is divided into square foot areas since I try to work with the square foot gardening concept to really maximize the amount of space. It serves as a template so that I can see how many plants we have space for and where. I have created my plan using Google Sheets, and have outlines around each of the square foot spaces in the garden beds. This makes a great resource since I can refer to each previous year’s plan and see where I have planted each type of vegetable in the past.
You can see the template of my garden above, and you can also view the Google Sheets Garden Plan here.
Once I have a good idea of what seeds I’d like to plant in the garden for the season, I go back to the spreadsheet and fill in the spaces with both the plant name and the number of plants that will be planted within that space. Using the square foot gardening method, there are many vegetables that can be grown with several plants per square foot, therefore saving space and allowing us to use all of the garden space available more efficiently.
I use this document as a guide to determine how many plants I need to start from seed, and how many extras I can spare - I love to share extra plants that I’ve started with friends and family - no use wasting a perfect plant! It also helps serve as a guide for the next garden seasons planning. I am able to see where the previous year’s plants were so that I can rotate effectively to avoid any diseases or nutrient deficiencies. I try to rotate at least the tomatoes and peppers, since they take up the most room. The remainder of the plants don’t seem to be as picky as far as rotating goes.