Planning Your Garden (Without the Overwhelm)

Is it just me, or do seed catalogs show up in the mail earlier every year?  Well, I don't mind!  That just means more time to plan next year's garden! 

There can be a, er, dark seedy underside to seed catalog time, though, especially if you are new to gardening.  I can remember feeling pret-ty overwhelmed by all the choices, especially when I was a newbie gardener. Where should I start? How could I possibly limit myself to just 3 varieties of tomatoes? How in the world did I JUST SPEND $200 ON SEEDS?!

*deep calming breath*

Over the years, I've figured out 3 strategies that really help me avoid the overwhelm, stay in budget, and end up with an enjoyable (manageable) garden. 

  1. Keep It Simple! Plan on planting 2 or 3 things if this is your first garden, and adding to that number as you gain experience.  This will help you learn and (most importantly remember) how things grow, what kind of care they need, how much space, etc. Also, it is a big money saver!

  2. Approach Gardening like a Classroom. It’s not about getting 100lbs of tomatoes the first year, or growing 15 perfect pumpkins.  It’s about learning, and while you learn, you’re going to make mistakes! You might plant things too close together. Your garden might be attacked by pests. You might not even like how some of the things you grow look or taste.  And that’s all ok, as long as you learn from it, and apply it to next year’s garden.

  3. Take Notes.  Even though you think you’ll remember the way you dealt with aphids on your plants that one year, or how far apart you planted your pepper plants, the truth is life is busy, and even the best gardeners forget things!  So, if you try something new in your garden, write it down and keep it in a place you’ll remember to look next year. This could be a notebook, your calendar, or in a file on your computer, tablet, or smartphone. Then, when the seed catalogs arrive, purchase and plan with your notes in front of you.

    When it’s time to plan your garden, look over your notes. You’ll be amazed by how much trouble you can avoid just by doing this!

So there you go! Three of my favorite methods for avoiding overwhelm in the garden!  What about you? If you have any tips or strategies, please share in the comments.

Linda KelsoComment