Winter is the perfect time to plan this year’s garden. Take this time to gather all of your resources- seeds, books and your imagination- to get a plan on paper, ready for planting when the weather warms up. If you are new to gardening or if you are just looking for new information and fresh ideas, here is a list of some of the best garden planning resources you can find!
Garden Planning Books
Let’s start with books. Many of these books can be found at your local library, but many of them are worth the investment and deserve a permanent spot on your bookshelf.
Carrots Love Tomatoes: This book is the ultimate resource for companion planting. It will take you through what to plant together and what to keep away from each other. The author not only includes sections on vegetable and fruits but also herbs, nuts, wild plants and much more. related post: 16 Ways to Use Companion Planting to Control Pests Naturally
All New Square Foot Gardening: This book covers everything you would want to know about square foot gardening. Square foot gardening is a perfect way of gardening for those with limited space or those who need help and guidance through the gardening process.
Vertical Vegetable Gardening: If you are short on space, yet have big plans, Vertical Vegetable Gardening will help you plan your garden to maximize your space and efforts! Chris will take you through how to garden and what structures to use to grow up, plus how to tend your vertical plants and the best varieties to plant.
The Week-by-Week Vegetable Gardener’s Handbook: Don’t know when to start your seeds, plant them out, or start harvesting for the best flavor? This book is here to save the day! With weekly do-to lists the task of planning, planting and tending a garden is broken down into manageable tasks. As most gardening books are, this handbook is written from the zone of the author. You will have to make adjustments for length of time and such if you have a longer or shorter growing season.
Backyard Farming on an Acre (More or Less) :This is not only a gardening guide, but one on how to live more sustainably in general. It does have quite a large section on gardening that will walk you through the planning stages, tools you will need, what to plant and how.
If you like to plan on paper, but need some help staying organized, The Gardening Notebook might be for you. Angi Schneider has put all of your garden planning needs in one spot. With tips on how to get started, enriching your soil and how to grow individual vegetables plus a planting calendar, layout pages and many other worksheets you will have all of your planning in one spot so that you can spend more time actually gardening! Click here to view more details
Garden Planning Websites
SproutRobot: SproutRobot is a simple service- you input your zipcode and it comes back with a list of what to plant and when. They have a limited free option which will give you planting dates for many of the most popular crops or you can purchase a yearly subscription for more specialized features. I have only every used the free service, but it is a handy tool to use when you forget when you should be starting certain seeds.
GrowVeg.com is a garden planner in which you can draw out and plot your entire garden online. Their software shows your how much space each of the plants require and how to group them for maximum success. They offer a 30 day free trial of their interactive garden planner, if you want to try it out. I warn you though- it can be a bit addictive!
Find the Best Seeds!
At one time you could just run down to your local garden center for your seeds, but in this modern world you can’t be too careful about what goes into your seeds or where you spend your money. If you are looking for a responsible seed company- that sells heirloom and/or organic seeds and has take the Safe Seed Pledge, here are some of my favorites:
For a complete list of companies that have taken the Safe Seed Pledge, visit the Council for Responsible Genetics.
Garden Planning Blog Posts
And finally, if you are the type that learns best from the experiences of others. Here is a listing of top-notch garden planning blogs posts from some of the best homesteading and garden bloggers on the web!
- Kristi from The Mind to Homestead shares about how to start seeds inside in her article Spring Planting: Sowing Seeds Indoors.
- Angi from SchneiderPeeps tells you 8 Things You Can Do Now to Have a Great Spring Garden.
- Gretchen from The Backyard Farming Connection helps give you tips on Planning Your Homestead Garden.
- Little Mountain Haven gives you tips on Garden Planning by What Your Family EATS.
- Julie from Growing Days talks about last expected frost dates in Ready, Set…Grow!
- If you are just starting out, read Garden Planning for Beginners from Runamuk Acres.
- Gear Up for Spring Planting with Black Fox Homestead- complete with a printable chart on favorite cool weather crops.
- Lesa from Better Hens and Gardens gives a simple system for Garden Crop Rotation.
- You can find articles on Re-purposed Seed Starting Containers, Companion Planting and lists of my favorite Tomato and Pepper varieties right here on The Free Range Life.
Have you started your planning for this year’s garden?
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