Planning Your Garden #3: Layout


One of my goals this year is filling my freezer and pantry with good foods that have been grown and nurtured in our own backyard. Over the years I’ve learned a number of great tips from books, friends, and my own experiences so it seems only fitting that I would share those things here with you.

This week we’re discussing garden layout.


We’ve decided what we want in our garden, bought the seeds, and now we’re waiting.  Why are we waiting?  Because you want to know your garden before you start digging holes in it. 

Take a moment to go outside throughout the day and really experience your garden.  Observe it and get to know its idiosyncrasies. 

Does the garden get sunlight all day long? 

Where do the shadows set?

Is there a water source nearby? 

Could you add a rain barrel?

Does it get windy?

These aren’t deal breaker questions but they are things to keep in mind when you’re deciding what you’re going to plant where.  Speaking of where to plant, lets get down to it. 


While we have an open patch perfect for a garden we also have children and an area for playtime is much more important.  So we use nine beds around the yard for our plantings.

Here is a graph I used to make notes and plan out our 2012 garden. 



Planting #1

Planting #2

Brick #1

Perennials (strawberries) & biennials(leeks), needs more manure


More Strawberries

Brick #2

Between the other two, tomatoes last year, needs epson salts and manure

Green Beans

Tomatoes and Peppers

Brick #3

On the end, volunteer sage and dill, needs manure

Green Beans

Cucumber and Radishes

Wood #1

New, still needs manure and soil


Tomatoes and Basil

Wood #2

New, still needs manure and soil


Eggplant and Dry Beans

Circle #1

Front of house, okra last year, chamomile coming back, ornamental grasses and tree in the center.


Okra and Zucchini

Circle #2

Volunteer cilantro and calendula,

Run Over

Green Beans

Circle #3

Shade for half the day, far end of the yard


Annual herbs


Needs LOTS of manure, melons last year, EXTREME SUN



Notes: I do a little bit of companion planting but here’s the thing, a lot of plants that grow well together also grow at the same pace so they put a big strain on your soil.  If you want the plants to actually produce, KEEP YOUR SOIL FERTILIZED.

Leeks are easy to grow and a great way to add an onion-like flavor without the onions (my kids HATE them), but did you know they’re biennials?  PLANT YOUR PERENNIALS AND BIENNIALS MINDFULLY!

Next week we’re going to wrap things up with notes on preparing your beds and getting things in the ground!

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