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Learning how to plan a new garden is one of the best decisions you will ever make if you are a nature lover, or are interested in eating/living healthier.
Planning a new garden can be a pretty big challenge though, for beginners.
But, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a hard one. And, at any rate, it should definitely be as rewarding as it is challenging.
In this piece, we discuss how to plan your new garden as well as describing how we planned ours.
Steps to Planning a New Garden
let’s have a look at the steps to planning a new garden from scratch:
1. Assess the land for the new garden
Whether your new garden will be at your home or located somewhere else, you need to assess the plot of land up close and personal. Having a closer look at the land you will be gardening will help out tremendously while planning your new garden.
Without assessing your land, you won’t know how much work you’ll have in store with your new garden.
Even more, you won’t have an accurate idea of how much sun your garden will be getting, how good (or bad) the water drainage may be, and many other important factors surrounding the particular piece of land.
Another important piece of information to consider is how much water you have available, and how it will be distributed to the plants.
2. Plot out garden beds on paper (including what you’ll grow)
Plotting out your garden by hand, on paper, including the plants you wish to grow, is highly advisable. You don’t have to be an artist, you just need to be as accurate as you can be regarding the scale of your drawing.
While planning our garden, Zvjezdana and I plotted out various garden arrangements on paper at least a dozen times before deciding on a final layout we both felt was best suited for our purposes.
Don’t be discouraged if your first sketches don’t appear like much more than chicken scratch (you should have seen ours). Just keep at it and eventually, you’ll be able to fit everything you want into your “garden” on paper.
After you’ve decided on a final design for your garden, including beds, rows, containers, and anything else you might include, it’s time to move on to step three; measuring and marking your garden.
3. Measure and mark garden beds physically
This step is a crucial one. Once you’ve finished up with plotting out your garden on paper, it’s time to go out with a measuring tape and see if your plot of land has enough space to fit the design you created on paper.
Start off by measuring out your beds and putting stakes in the ground. Next, tie strings to them and get a better look at them.
Are they even? Is there enough space to walk around them and tend to the plants in each one?
You may end up moving your stakes and strings around at this point in order to fit everything you want.
In fact, you might even deviate away from your paper design completely, and if you do, that’s perfectly fine. The paper garden is only meant to be a guide.
4. Double or triple-check your plans on paper (including costs)
After you’ve completed the above steps, including physically going to measure and mark your new garden beds, it’s time to take a breather. Before you jump straight into building your garden, take a bit of time to double and triple-check your garden plans thus far.
If everything is going according to the plan, and you feel confident, move right along and starting constructing those garden beds.
That said, if you feel even the slightest bit of doubt about your new garden at this point, stop and figure out why. Are you worried about the money it will take? Did measuring and marking the beds wear you out and make you question your dedication to the idea of gardening?
Before starting construction of your garden, physically, take one last tally of all the additional start-up costs involved and make sure you’ve got them covered.
A garden ready for planting grows no food without seed, water, and lots of TLC. Make sure you can both afford to get this garden up and running, as well as have the energy and will power to keep it going.
5. Purchase Seeds and Gardening Equipment
Once you’ve gotten to know your land, plotted your garden design on paper, and decided what sort of plants you’ll grow, as well as crunching the numbers several times and are certain you can handle the costs and work involved, it’s time to start getting excited.
The last step to planning your new garden is making the leap from paper to wallet and actually purchasing all of the stuff you need.
When you have acquired the seeds and equipment to start growing, maintaining, and harvesting crops, you’re ready to build out your beds and begin gardening.
Things to Consider Before Planning a Garden
Before sitting down to make a serious plan for your new garden, there are several important factors that you will want to consider.
A few of the most significant considerations to make before starting a garden are:
How much space do you have for a garden?
The amount of space you have on your property is crucial in regard to the size of the garden you’ll be able to create. If your property is like most peoples, not all of it is proper for gardening but you won’t know until you take a closer inspection.
Tracts of land that receive less than four hours of light are less desirable for gardens. Likewise, plots of land that have been littered with pine needles or is home to a significant number of other evergreens may too acidic for a decent garden as well.
How much space do you need for a garden?
There is no average or correct amount of space for a garden. Some folks work with as little as a few plants in containers and flower boxes in their windows. Others garden on just about any amount of space you can imagine.
Our garden sits on a quarter acre and uses about half of the available space. More or less, we use around an 8th of an acre and produce more than enough plants in the space for ourselves, our extended family, and plenty left for the market and local customers.
What sort of plants do you plan to grow?
Before dedicating a plan to paper, brainstorming on what sort of plants you plan to grow will do you well in avoiding unnecessary hangups as your planning progresses.
The sort of plants you decide to grow has an enormous impact on the layout and size of your garden-to-be.
For example, tomatoes, beans, and other plants that grow on vines will need more space to spread out or will need verticle space to climb straight up while greens, onions, and other small veggies can be grown in small spaces in clusters or rows.
Likewise, melons, pumpkins, and cucumbers do best when planted in spaced out mounds of dirt rather than in rows or vertically.
Are you willing to commit to a garden?
A garden is no small task. Even a little garden takes a ton of planning, dedication, and follow-through to be successful. If you have a history of starting things and running out of steam before finishing, gardening may not be the hobby for you.
One of the greatest things about gardens is that they can always be expanded or down-sized. So, if you get started and decide you like it more than you imagined you would, you can always make it larger year after year.
Before touching ink to paper, or shovel to dirt, take a few days to consider the level of dedication you’ll be able to commit to your new garden.
If you’re unsure, starting a few plants in window boxes and containers outside on the porch may be the thing to do rather than building a new garden from scratch.
Where will you draw water from?
Another big consideration to make before planning out your garden is where you will draw your water from. All gardens need watering regularly.
Depending on where you live, the quality of your soil, the type of plants you’re growing, the amount of sun your garden receives, and much more impact the amount of water necessary to keep your garden in tip-top shape.
Do you have the right tools for gardening?
Again, depending on your property, soil, plants, and more, the type of tools you need varies from garden to garden.
Before planning and starting your new garden, make sure that you double-check what tools you already have at your disposal as well as picking up the ones you need.
How much money will you/can you invest in a garden?
Unfortunately, very few things in life are free and gardening is by no means an exception.
Now, that being said, gardening can be done on a shoe-string budget just as easily as one can spend thousands of dollars starting up a garden.
Our most recent garden, our 8th of an acre market garden, was started on less than $100 out of our pocket.
The main reason we were able to start so cheaply is that we already owned the land (or were making payments on it already, rather) as well as having all of the tools, most of the seeds, and the time to get things started off right.
Make sure you take the time to consider how much money you can afford to put into your garden before you even get going.
The last thing you want to do is get out in the yard and put in hours of hard work just to hit a brick wall when you need tools or materials you don’t have and can’t afford.
How We Planned Our First Organic Garden
After a long and not very cold winter (during 2019-2020), the wife and I decided to give an organic garden a shot in the spring.
That was slightly over a year ago.
Aside from making up our minds and agreeing on what we wanted to grow, and how many beds it may take us to hit our desired yields, we also discussed and made decisions regarding which types of beds to install, how to best water the plants, what to do about composting, harvesting details, market prep and much more.
Depending on the nature of the new garden you’ll be planning, you may have fewer factors to take into consideration.
We needed to factor in a much larger yield than we would eat individually, or even as a family. If your garden will be for personal use only, planning can be much easier.
All things considered
We spent the better part of two and a half months discussing and making decisions about how our garden would be and as to how the construction would take place.
At this point, everything is on track, concerning our initial plan, aside from a few unavoidable adjustments (compromise is good!), and we are working on our second full month of carrying out our plan and are physically operating our newly built and still expanding organic garden.
Proper planning is a powerful tool if taken with even a bit of seriousness. That said, a perfect plan is no good at all without plenty of action and follow-through to carry it out and into manifestation.
We are now nearly through our first year of organic gardening. Everything went very nicely – so nicely, in fact, that we plan to double the size of our garden in the next few months. We also plan to add mulch to the beds and straw to the paths.
A Final Word About Planning a New Garden
Gardening is a wonderful pastime for those who enjoy nature. It can even be a lucrative career or a prosperous sideline for many. That said, gardening isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.
Taking the time to properly plan out a new garden gives you the necessary time to re-think if growing and caring for plants is right for you or not. It also allows you time to hammer down all of the details if you’re already convinced (or if it isn’t your first garden, and you already know you enjoy it) that you’ll love it.
If you HAVE decided to plan out a new garden sometime soon, hopefully some of the information presented in our article helps you get it done easier.
Do you have questions about planning your garden? We would love to help answer them for you – feel free to leave us a comment in the section below.
Thanks for reading, and good luck with our new gardens!
Suggested Reading: How to Make a Double-Dig Garden Bed
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