15 Tips to Plan an Amazing Garden

fresh vegetables


Dear friends,

When it’s cold outside and the days are short, I love to daydream about the garden and make plans for the next growing season. Do you feel the same way?

Here are some ideas to help you get started.

1. Before you plan a garden, it’s a good idea to know exactly what hardiness zone you’re in. Here’s the USDA map showing plant hardiness zones. You may want to err on the side of hardiness to account for increasing weather extremes.

Decide Where You’ll Plant Your Garden

2. If you have a typical yard, you might be inspired by the Urban Homestead website. This family grows 3 tons of food on 1/10th of an acre!

3. Check out these inspiring edible landscapes for beautiful ideas about expanding your growing area in non-traditional spaces.

4. If you have a small yard or garden plot, you may enjoy the “Square Foot Gardening” method to maximize your yield from a small space.

5. If you live in an apartment or a space without a garden, here are some container gardening tips.

6. Check out the community gardens in your area. The American Community Gardening Association has a nifty interactive map to help you find one near you.


Lettuce container garden


Figure Out What You Want to Grow

7. Growing a vegetable garden can be a great way to save money. However, gardening can also be a great way to spend money. For thrifty tips, you might enjoy “Frugal Gardening, or How to Avoid $100 Tomatoes.”

8. If you want to grow veggies from seed, but don’t have time to start seedlings indoors, you’ll be happy to know that you can direct sow seeds for beans, beets, corn, cucumbers, lettuce, melons, onions, peas, radishes, spinach and squash.

9. It’s always fun to peruse the new seed catalogs and online offerings each year to see what new varieties have been introduced. These are some of my favorite seed companies:

10. 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.




What Else Do You Want to Plant?

11. For flowers, check out Floret Flowers’ dreamy new online store.

12. Eden Brothers has a selection of beautiful wildflower mixes.

13. Perhaps you want to create a garden space where you can relax and enjoy being outside. You might enjoy reading “A Garden Where There Once Was None” about our transformation of a patch of overgrown brambles and bushes on the south side of our yard.


Raised Garden


What About Timing?

14. Seeds for Generations has a very helpful Garden Planning Calculator with a wealth of information about germination times for growing dozens of plants from seed, average days to maturity, and more.

15. A garden journal is an invaluable tool for helping you keep track of planting times, ideas for future plants you want to try, successes, failures and more. Here are 7 things I write in my gardening journal.

How About You?

What are you planning for your next garden? Are there fun new veggies and plants you want to try this season? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the Comments section of this post.

Hugs and happy daydreaming,

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Plan your garden

About Eliza Cross

Eliza Cross is a full-time writer and the author of 15 books about food and home design. She has been blogging about simplicity and sustainable living since 2006.

1 thought on “15 Tips to Plan an Amazing Garden”

  1. Gosh… you are sooo organized! I fear that for me, garden “planning” occurs when I’m at the nursery picking out plants! Sigh.


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