We are working with a small space for our garden this year, which is always a fun challenge. I have plans to plant potatoes, summer and winter squash, onions and more in flower beds next to the house. The garden beds are reserved for everything else and I felt like we needed a plan to make sure we maximized that space.

I did an inventory and I currently have almost one hundred packets of seeds. How does this happen? Well… I have lots of friends that I swap seeds with, I get “garden fever” in plant stores and make impulse buys, and I travel to amazing gardens that have fun seeds in their gift shops. The first step to making the garden plan was deciding which varieties from all these options to plant this year.

The next step was deciding what should get planted where. Here are some considerations to ponder:

  • companion planting – which plants would benefit each other by being close together?
  • protection from the backyard livestock – which ones can stand the chickens or ducks walking over them and which ones are hardier?
  • sun and shade – which plants don’t mind a little shade from a taller plant, which ones will get big and shade others out, which ones want full shade

I made a scaled plan because I’m anal. The circles are all based on the plants’ mature size and I moved them around until I found a combination that worked well. I grouped heirloom vegetables from Thomas Jefferson’s estate together to make a little Monticello garden and I’m really excited to see how these historic plants turn out.

In addition, I put together a spreadsheet to get an idea of when we will be reaping the harvest on these veggies. It helps me plan for a continual harvest and to consider which plants can be re-planted mid-summer for a fall harvest. It takes careful planning to stretch the harvest through the winter.

I would love to hear how you put your garden together. Is it random or planned? Do you tend to stick to a plan if you have one? It’s always fun to trade stories about how we all tend our homesteads.

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