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May 15th, 2013

This is the fourth installment in the 5×5 Garden Challenge Series. Every Wednesday I’ll be posting about the challenge, covering topics that will help all the new gardeners get started. If you haven’t heard about the challenge head on over to the 5×5 Challenge Website, we’ll also be putting up a page here that pulls in all the 5×5 Challenge posts.
5x5 garden challenge
When it comes to gardening, taking the time to plan where everything goes will save you some hassle and confusion in the future.  If you’re new gardening and you only have a small space it’s not quite as necessary, but it’s a good habit to get into.  That way you don’t end up with too many plants for the space that you have.  It also helps you to take into consideration the area needed by each plant.
planning the garden
Last week I sat down to plan out where everything would be going in my 5×5 Challenge Garden. I put the tall tomato vines in the back with the zucchini plants going in front of them. If I have space I’ll tuck basil on the sides of the bed beside the zucchini.
garden planning
Planning things out will also help if you want to plant in succession. So when the scallions are finished producing in summer, you can plan on planting lettuce or spinach in their place. When the lettuce is done in early summer, perhaps beans or radishes can be planted in their spot. Taking a little time to plan will save you much frustration and streamline things later in the gardening season.

Do you make a formal plan for your garden?

14 Comments to “Planning”
  1. Marina C on May 15, 2013 at 5:54 am

    I have template on graph paper of six 4×10 raised beds, and I draw them in each year, as you wrote, it helps with planning and rotation. I note when planted on the plan, when harvested, and when/where replanted as the case may be. It is amazing how, come spring, one needs to refer to last season’s notes, no matter how much time we spend in the garden!

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  2. Mich on May 15, 2013 at 6:10 am

    I use a hard backed notebook to keep track of veggie bed rotation plan, varieties planted esp new ones I’m trying and whether they bombed or were a success.
    Also use the notebook to write in soft fruit plantings/fruit tree varieties, rootstocks and planting plan.
    I always look at it when planning the next season…

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  3. Adelina Anderson on May 15, 2013 at 6:18 am

    I am a fly by the seat of your pants type girl. I have never actually planned out a garden, I just plan out what I want in the garden.

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  4. kathi Cook on May 15, 2013 at 6:51 am

    I usually make a formal sketch of the layout,but when it comes time to plant,I often stray from my original plans. I am usually so excited to put things in, that I over do it on the cold weather vegetables using space I needed for the warmer crops.It’s easy to get seduced by all the plants at the farmer’s market. Now I have a ton of lettuce,kale,broccoli and spinach planted.It’s amazing how much you could grow in your 5 by 5 plot. Can’t wait to see the progress.
    I agree with everyone else about taking good garden notes. It’s amazing what you forget that you think you won’t from year to year. My notes are key!

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  5. Jennifer Fisk on May 15, 2013 at 7:06 am

    I have a vague mental plan for my garden but I’m more apt to acquire seedlings that looked too good to leave and then try to find a place for them. Planning on graph paper is something I always say I’ll do in January but it never happens.

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  6. Lemongrass on May 15, 2013 at 8:35 am

    Planning has helped me a lot with my squarefoot garden. It adds a bit of order to the crazy need I have to tuck something here, tuck something there. But I also enjoy the little suprises I get long after I tucked a seed here or there. I do keep a record of my weekly doings in the garden. Reading the notes I make the last planting/growing season is very helpful. It reminds of issues forgotten. Last week I got to 2 cinnamon saplings from a friend, am keep notes about their growth.

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  7. Natalie on May 15, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    I’m not very good at planning. This year is my first gardening year here and I am doing a container garden. We have a plot picked out next year and I know i will try to plan ahead… But I likely won’t. That will depend on how my how input my husband, the planner, gives.

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  8. Becky on May 15, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    This is my first year with a real garden (more than just a tiny garden box mostly filled with garlic). I was inspired by your 5×5 challenge however, once I started preparing a spot, I got excited and ended up closer to 6×18. I remembered seeing all your planting plans, so measured things out and came up with a rough plan before I planted. With the exception of the tomato seeds I’m sprouting under a growlight, I just sowed seeds directly into the ground. After only a few days, my memory is fading and I can tell that having a map of what is planted where is going to be invaluable. I’m tyring quite a few things I’ve never grown before, so I know I would never remember what is where without my map! Even if only half of it comes up, I’ll be excited!!

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  9. Deb on May 15, 2013 at 2:20 pm

    Never have time to plan it out. i decide what I’m going to grow and remebering from last year I plant differently and just wing it. I put plants in here and there and if I have too many I plant them anyway. I use an informal way of square foot gardening in my raised beds. No need to be particular as plants will grow most anywhere. saves me lots of time not doing it and I look at plants and just deciede where to put them. I dig up free plants and trees and later decide where their permanent home is. Better that way.

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  10. Maybelline on May 15, 2013 at 3:34 pm

    Not anymore.

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  11. The Groundskeeper @ See You In The Garden on May 15, 2013 at 4:40 pm

    I do, otherwise I forget things. However, the plan is always open for adjustment. And yes, it does get adjusted according to how the Spring weather plays out or how well my plants do. (i.e. if all the beans die, then a lot more of something else is going to be planted.) I just hate seeing empty spaces later on because I couldn’t decide what to put there or forgot to plant something.

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  12. Caroline on May 15, 2013 at 5:19 pm

    I had a plan for my garden…. but I’ve deviated. I have a general idea of where I want anything, but since there are trees growing in the garden spot (we keep cutting them, but don’t have the equipment to pull them out!) I have to deviate when I come across roots that will get in the way.

    Next year, hopefully, I’ll know my garden plot better and have better planning skills!

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    • Caroline on May 15, 2013 at 5:21 pm

      I also made a circle around a couple of plants using sticks so that I would remember what is there (and used an engraver on a stick to label what is planted there) and the sticks double as a way of telling the kids DO NOT WALK HERE!

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  13. laura on May 16, 2013 at 7:46 pm

    this is so timely for me. i just (yesterday) had a huge section of old ivy overgrowth cleared and tilled and now I have all this space to plant and no idea where to plant what. i have two raised beds that i’ve been using for a couple years and have started planting them, but now with all this space, i’m soooo confused! is there a good book you could recommend about spacing/planning or any suggestions? thanks!

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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