I loved having my first real vegetable garden last year. It was beautiful, though I didn’t get too much food from it. There were several reasons for this.
- I started planting too late (partly owing to having to build the garden and renovate the yard first)
- I just planted random plants having no idea how much they would produce or how much I would use.
- I have no idea what I am doing.
So for 2017 I wanted to plan this much better! I will tell you that as a super-beginner gardener, the information is quite overwhelming. Especially if you are trying to get the most out of a small space (I only have maybe 25 square feet of garden total; including containers) and a short growing season (damn winter). I have to consider which plants to grow, what variety, how to succession plant, plant species compatibility, when to plant, where to plant…OMG! I think I almost cried a few times.
One great resource I found was a book bought for me at Christmas called The Year-round Vegetable Gardener by Niki Jabbour. Although the book is geared towards how to have a vegetable garden all year, the book is full of helpful, clearly written, guidelines for growing vegetables in general. It has a page or two devoted to each vegetable with a growing schedule, and even variety recommendations. I highly recommend this book!
I also found an online program called GrowVeg that lets you visually plan your garden. It has virtually every plant species and variety and information on where/when/how to plant them. It is also tailored to where you live. I don’t think it is necessary to have this program but it did help me visualize my garden plan and figure out how much I could fit where. The program costs $30 but you can use it free for a week. Being on a tight budget I did a basic visual plan of my garden, took a picture, and then walked away. I think the program would be more necessary if you have a very large garden and are planting multiple varieties.
So I selected which vegetables I wanted and where to plant them using the GrowVeg program. Using my book as a guide I selected varieties of each plant. I opened Google Calendar and planned out the planting dates and expected harvest date for each vegetable. Here is a list of what I plan to grow this year:
- Herbs (basil, thyme, oregano, parsley, chives, rosemary, mint)
- Swiss Chard
- Green onions
The seed order just went in because I have to start some plants indoors soon! Wish me luck. I am going to need it.