January Money Diet Day #26 – Plan Your Garden

Plan your garden during the January Money Diet

Don’t you love to daydream in January about planting a garden in the spring? Now is the perfect time to begin making plans and sketching out some ideas for your ideal plot. Even if you have a small yard or a balcony for containers, you can grow a surprising amount of food by choosing plants that grow well in your climate and exploring innovative ways to stretch space. My friend Jerry grows cherry tomatoes year ’round from a pot in a sunny window in his downtown Denver apartment. You may want to check out the book “Square Foot Gardening” for more ideas about maximizing your yield from a small space.

I love perusing the new seed catalogs each year to see what new varieties have been introduced, and these are some of my favorite companies:

The site MicroEcoFarming.com has a wealth of information about growing your own food — including tips for how to sell what you grow as an extra revenue source. You may also want to check out the Happy Simple Gardening Pinterest board, where I collect photos and ideas for growing good food and flowers (with a minimum amount of labor, naturally).

This week’s challenge is to start planning your garden. Peruse some gardening sites, sketch out ideas, and make a list of the seed varieties you want to plant this year. If you don’t have a garden, daydream about what you’d like to grow someday.

How About You?

Will you be growing any vegetables this summer? What are some varieties you’ve grown successfully in the past? If you have favorite gardening sites and sources, we’d love to hear about those, too.

Happy daydreaming,

The signature for Eliza Cross


P.S.  You could win a deluxe Happy Simple Living gift box by participating in the January Money Diet. The box includes a $25 Barnes & Noble gift card, $25 cash, pantry staples like bean soup mix and organic quinoa, signed copies of three of my cookbooks, homesteading supplies like soap, candles and eco-friendly cleaning supplies, and much more.

At the end of January I’ll choose one winner from among everyone who comments–someone who has participated in this 31-day challenge with heart and soul and achieved good results. Good luck!

Photo:   Elspeth Briscoe

About Eliza Cross

Eliza Cross is a full-time writer and the author of a dozen books about food and home design. She has been blogging about simplicity and sustainable living since 2006.

January Money Diet Day #26 – Plan Your Garden

  • Cindy

    I love the idea of a garden far more than I love an actual garden. The first year I had a garden, it was quite productive and I enjoyed eating the fresh greens, especially. The second year, the garden did not produce nearly as well. The next year, I didn’t make time and didn’t have a garden. I am the lucky recipient of some friends’ bounty from their gardens and I shop the farmer’s market. My biggest challenge is not knowing what to do with all the vegetables that are available and sometimes I buy them thinking they look great and then I don’t do anything with them once I get them home.

  • Catherine Godfrey

    Growing my own garden has been a goal of mine. So this past year I started small w/ tomato’s in pots & herbs. I’d like a bigger garden, but w/ Lupus I’m unable to handle alone so my mom & I are going to do the garden together. I’m super excited.

  • Karin

    Wow. Looking at the comments I see a lot of people are gardening. My parents always had a garden when I was growing up. After I got married where we lived was not ideal for gardening. Although, I have been reading more about container gardening. Several years ago we moved to an urban area and the house already had a raise bed. Last year we moved the bed so it would have better light. Garden takes lots of patience and trial and error, but I love it. This year we plan to put of better fencing to deal with wildlife. I enjoy entering the veggies at the local fair. If you win a ribbon you get a small cash prize.

    I also find Facebook very helpful. There are plenty of pages that have great information. Some of them allow you to post questions and others give advice. Reading others questions helps my own gardening. I like Organic Gardening and Rodale, just to name a few.

    I can’t wait for Spring.

  • Jennifer

    Most of my flowers died of last spring in the late frosts so I’m thinking of replacing them with vegetables instead of more flowers. Potatoes make great ground coverage. I don’t have a ton of room or time so planning is key. To get started, I will have to take out our large Spruce to give more light and water to new pants. Sounds like a good Feb project!

  • I love hearing about all of your garden plans! Although our attempts at growing pumpkins have failed for the last three seasons, we are determined to try planting a pumpkin patch again this summer. We also grow tomatoes, peppers, beets, peas, herbs, shallots and onions.

  • Tricia

    I plan to do a veggie garden again this summer. I’ve had good luck with greens, red cabbage, bush beans, peas, cucumbers, radishes, leeks, onions, zucchini, summer squash, pumpkins, peppers, broccoli and tomatoes. Have also tried corn, melons, and beets with minimal luck. Being that it is snowing like crazy today and due to be bitter cold for the next week here in NH, I’m grateful for the opportunity to think and plan ahead for spring!!

  • Lynn Louise

    I plant a vegetable garden every year and usually have pretty good luck with the crops. As long as I keep them watered. Last year was the first year I planted broccoli and I actually froze some. I also froze sliced carrots for the first time. And peas. I have to rearrange the crops this year as last year the tomatoe vines were intertwining with the cucumber plants and it was a struggle to weed. Last year was also the first year I had 2 plantings of lettuce and spinach. It was so wonderful to have fresh greens all summer long. In the fall after harvesting the vegies, what ever is rotted is left out for the chickens to peck at and to become compost for next years garden. This year we will be raising our meat chickens again. Spring is always a very busy time.

  • Lisa

    When our children were smaller, we experimented with vegetables, but I never kept it up. All that we have left are self propagating raspberries and strawberries. Once I tried tomatoes in a garden pot, but that didn’t work. Last year I tried again, but I bought two sweet cherry tomato plants (already started) and put them in the ground. They kept producing until late October when the frost finally did them in – and they were the biggest vines I had ever seen! Did we ever enjoy the tomatoes!

    With that small success, this year I am thinking of one tomato plant, one hot pepper plant (my son’s request) and lettuce. I may even try starting with seeds after seeing directions in our local newspaper for making newspaper starter cups. Its a small step, but it may give me confidence to try more.

  • Lois

    I can’t wait to get out into the garden! I have huge plans for the property. Last year was the first time I ever grew my own peas. In the past peas were so cheap I just bought them at the store. While I didn’t have a huge harvest of peas due to bad weather I recently cooked up some of the peas and let me tell you they were delicious! I wish I had been growing them all along. They flavor was so much better than store bought. This year I have a small orchard in the plans for the one section of the property as well as lots of fruit bushes like cranberries and blueberries.

  • Laura

    We planted our first garden last spring and reaped the rewards and also made some rookie mistakes like planting four zucchini plants right next to each other! 🙂 I’m really looking forward to planting some new things this year. Also, I do plan to use seeds from last year that we had left over. How long are they good to plant?

  • Lisa F

    I received my Baker Creek order just a few days ago! Im already counting down the days until I can start seeds in my mini greenhouse. 🙂

  • Well, I’m sitting here with the patio door open soaking in the warm air and sunshine, so it seems like a good time to start planning for the garden.

    I actually have big plans for this year – I’m buying a greenhouse. Not a ‘real’ one, just a portable one with a metal frame and plastic cover. But my plan is to cover the metal frame with hardware cloth to create a semi-permanent “hail house” and then I can use the plastic cover for warmth if we get a late snow or an early frost. I know it sounds sorta crazy and elaborate, but I think it will actually be much easier than having to run out to cover everything each time it looks like we might get hail, snow or frost.

  • Darlene Herzog

    January money diet. Minimalism! My mother introduced me to this and wow what a change all for the better. Pinterest plays a big part in my life for ideas to try. Some have worked and some havenot. The weekly money challenge of putting money away in small increments was incredible and will be again this year. Making meals from our garden which was the first time we did that last year continues to bring joy! Using leftovers into another meal is a new must for us. We never know from day to day how many will be here for meals thus extra food is usually made and hubby does not like leftovers but he does not realize with a different meal that leftovers are included in that. Food and plants grow in our home during the time the ground is covered in snow. There is much information out there for many ideas, trials etc. your site is great help for guidance and ideas. Remember you have to try and keep trying. Do not start for a few days and say well that didn’t work, then say my old ways worked better. Change can be hard! Going to get some catalogs for ordering some new for our gardens, food and flowers.

  • Meghan Chaffee

    Pinterest became a big part of developing our garden, developing simple yet beautiful growing areas of food and flowers. They actually do complement one another. Having MS I had to find some projects I could do for our family, to pass on to others and to just sit out in the morning and look at the glory of it all. I do not have a favorite magazine for ordering but certainly will check ou some you have listed. our sunroom is great for all year round growing yes even when the snow covers the ground. Minimalism, money diet, donations, all play a huge part in inner satisfaction as well as obeying the commands of my Heavenly Father! Your ideas, recommendations sure are a help thus leaving me with a push to keep going.

  • SanDandy

    We plant a vegetable garden every year. Our Fall garden is still producing. And we are still enjoying the fruits of our Spring garden.
    I encourage my friends all the time to at least have a container garden.
    I really enjoy serving what I have grown.

  • Georgina Bowie

    Unfortunately I don’t have a garden but recently I’ve been eyeing up the windowsills in my flat. It’s an old building so they’re quite wide and I’m on the first floor so they’ll be less chance of someone removing all of my labor (unfortunately I live in that type of area). Even better, the widows open 1/3 of the way up so I don’t have to worry about knocking anything off.

    Any ideas on what edible plants grow well on windowsills would be greatly appreciated! I do live in Scotland so they will need to be hardy plants that can handle a fair amount of rain and wind. 😀

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