The importance of planning at the start of a growing season can’t be overemphasized.
Before you so much as lift a rake, considering what you’re going to grow where, and crucially, when you’re going to sow or plant it, will help you to get the most from your garden.
In this video, we’ll show you how to plan for your most successful growing season yet.
It pays to take time to get to know your garden.
For instance, observing where the shade falls in your garden will help you to pick the right plant for the right place.
Tender crops like tomatoes, peppers and squash will thrive in a sunny part of the garden, while leafy greens and many fleshy herbs and salads will prefer a part-shaded area, particularly in hot climates.
In a sunny garden, pockets of shade can be created by growing taller plants in front of shorter ones – for instance, we can grow these sunflowers in front of these lettuces.
Planning in this way also flags up variations in wind exposure, essential for ensuring healthy plants.
For example climbing beans can get damaged in a windy area, while corn – which is pollinated by light wind – may be a better choice for this spot.
Keeping track of what you plan to grow where makes crop rotation a lot simpler.
Rotating crops from the same family to a new bed each year reduces the chances for pests and diseases to build up in the soil and it helps to keep the soil in great condition.
To help you do this, our Garden Planner flashes red any areas that were previously occupied by plants from the same crop rotation family so you know to place it elsewhere.
Different crops place different demands on the soil.
Cabbage for example is a very hungry plant so it’s a good idea to grow it after beans or peas which will actually help to enrich the soil by fixing nitrogen.
Once you’ve harvested your cabbages the soil will be less rich, so you could replant with root crops such as carrots which don’t need high fertility to thrive.
Once you’ve chosen what you’d like to grow it will help to know when everything can be sown, planted and harvested.
A good garden plan will include key dates of these activities so nothing is missed out or forgotten as the season gets busier.
This is where our Garden Planner comes into its own.
Having decided where to position everything, you can then click on the accompanying Plant List to see exactly when to sow indoors, sow or plant outdoors, and harvest based on climate data for your location.
The Garden Planner will even send you timely sowing and planting reminders twice a month to help keep you on track.
The Garden Planner also shows precisely how many plants you’ll need for the space you have available, so you know the minimum number to sow or plant – plus of course some spares.
It also means you can buy just the right number of seed containers, potting soil and plant supports so you’ll have them to hand when you need them rather than rushing out last minute – and that means no more over-spending in all the excitement! Proper planning means you can keep your plot as productive as possible for as long as possible, so as one crop’s finished, another is waiting in the wings to replace it.
The Garden Planner’s Succession Planting tool makes planning this easy.
Start by setting the months that each plant will be growing in your garden.
You can then view your plan in a specific month to see where gaps appear as crops are harvested.
Let’s select July.
You can see there’s now a few spaces, including where the early potatoes had been growing.
We can filter the selection bar.
to show plants suitable for setting out in July.
Now it’s just a matter of choosing a crop – this Swiss chard for example – and dropping it into the space.
That simple bit of planning has doubled the number of harvests we’lll get from the same piece of ground.
Planning your garden should be top of any gardener’s to-do list because it saves time, money and unnecessary disappointment.
Working out the best layout for your crops can be hugely satisfying, and it sets you up for success.
Let us know what you’ve got planned by dropping us a comment below.
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I’ll catch you next time.