Day 14 of the January Money Diet – Plan Your Garden

In case you’ve just joined us, the January Money Diet is a challenge to take a 31-day break from nonessential spending. You can learn more about the money diet here — and jump right in!

Garden planning at Happy Simple Living blog

Photo: The Hills Are Alive

Don’t you love daydreaming about planting the spring garden in January?  Now is the perfect time to begin making plans and sketching out some ideas for your ideal garden. Even if you have a small yard, you can grow a surprising amount of food if you choose seeds and plants that grow well in your climate. (Check out the book “Square Foot Gardening” for more ideas about maximizing your yield from a small space.) If you want to tour the ultimate urban homestead, check out the Dervaes family’s website ‘Path to Freedom.’ You won’t believe what they grow in their 1/10 acre yard in Pasadena.

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:

For additional ideas, has tons of information and articles about growing your own food. is a site dedicated to an easy, inexpensive method of direct-sowing seeds.  I especially enjoy the pictures on this site of sprouting plants in pop bottles and all manner of recycled containers.

Homework Assignment #14: Start planning your garden. Order some free catalogs, sketch out some ideas, make a list of all the new seed varieties you want to plant this year, or if you don’t have a garden, daydream about what you’d like to grow someday.

If you have favorite gardening sites and sources, we’d all love to know about them – care to share them in the comments section below?


Win a Deluxe Happy Simple Living Gift Basket

In honor of the January Money Diet, I’ll be giving away a gift basket chock-full of home and garden goodies plus a signed copy of my latest book 101 Things To Do With Bacon. On January 31, 2013, I’ll draw one random name from everyone who commented during the month and that lucky person will win the gift basket. I hope you’ll stop by often this month and share your own ideas, thoughts and experiences about taking a 31-day break from nonessential spending.


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.

Day 14 of the January Money Diet – Plan Your Garden

  • JoAnn

    I buy a lot of my seeds from Pleasant Valley – – they are based on the West Coast and have many products that work well in my zone. We don’t have deer issues, since we are in a suburban setting, but we do have raccoons and voles, so we have raised beds, lined with hardware cloth and I cover them with bird netting, which I also use on my fruit trees. I have a salad table with legs and wheels, so I grow them elevated and cover them as well. I have a lighted plant shelving unit in the garage that I use to start my seeds and grow them into sizable plants until I harden them off – my husband built it from scrap wood and I use ordinary shop lights hung from chains so they are adjustable. We are SO looking forward to sunnier days when planting can begin!!

  • Martha

    We too have deer that think anything and everything is edible. So were going to try a single zucchini (that’s all a family needs, right?) grown in a very well-fortified fence. Hope springs eternal!

  • I haven’t looked at the catalogs yet, but I blogged about the seed testing I set up yesterday. I’m hoping to not have to order some things this year.

  • Bry

    I already have my catalog from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, but I appreciate the links to other eco-friendly seed companies. I’m looking forward to gardening season this year!

  • Deborah Gore

    Our garden is planned and we have already started working in it. We have a total of 14 raise beds and will be adding another bed this year just for herbs.

  • Thanks for the recommendations for seed companies. We’ve just started getting into gardening and that’s one of the tough questions…which seed company to go with.

  • Again, we are thinking the same, I just went through my catalog and listed everything I will be adding to the garden this summer. For the reader who has problems with deer, we did too, until we finally draped the gardens with bird netting. It’s easy to lift to work under and they have left everything alone since we started using it. It allows the sun and rain in along with the beneficial insects.

  • Brenda

    we plant a garden every year for spring and fall

  • Carolyn

    I always hope – and try, somewhat, BUT, any ideas of how to discourage those darling bunnies that hang out and nibble our garden? (including rabbit resistant stuff!)

  • Thanks for the “Square Foot Gardening” book recommendation. I live in a location that is somewhere between urban and suburban, so I’ve been mulling ideas on how to have a vegetable garden with our limited space.

  • Victoria S Andrews

    We have such a bad problem with deer in our yard that growing a garden is almost impossible! I even have tried container gardening but the deer come right up on the porch. I mostly stick to flowers but moles have eaten all my bulbs this last year so I am ready to throw in the towel. Looking at the catalogs sure gives me pleasure tho.

  • ElainieMay

    Planning my garden in January is what makes this awful month bearable.

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