I love to plan the garden in January, cozied up by the fire while the snow flies outside. It is the perfect time of year to dream about warm soil, sprouting plants, and a big harvest. But I have found that some of my planning goes better if I do it right after the garden season ends, while everything is still fresh in my mind about what worked, what didn’t, and what I wanted to change and keep the same.
We use the square foot intensive method of gardening in raised beds because it is what works best in our climate and terrain. I have drawn our garden on graph paper,
and each year I fill out the map with how much of what we will plant where.
For the garden areas that aren’t square-foot based, I still have a map drawn out that is basically to scale and I fill in what will be planted in those areas as well. I also have our container kitchen herb garden drawn out for planning.
I look back at what has worked in previous years, what our output was based on how much we planted, and what varieties did best, and then I decide how much we want to plant of which varieties and fill it in on the map. I roughly try to rotate our garden crops around the garden based on their crop family. Not everything falls exactly within the crop rotation plan, but it is a good guideline.
It feels good to get some plans started for next year so that in January, when the snow is flying, wind blowing, and I am cozy by the fire dreaming of my garden, I have a basic starting point based on what happened the previous year.