Secrets to Success

Garden Journal, Part 4: Individual Garden Beds

Garden Journal, Part 4: Individual Garden Beds

You’ve drawn your plan and made your lists, now it’s time to dig into the details. What are you going to plant and where are you going to plant it?

Here’s a clever way to visualize and set up your fully grown garden. Take a photograph of the empty garden bed and print it. As you flip through your Botanical Interests catalog, have the photo next to you and think about different heights and widths of plants, how the colors of each variety’s flowers and leaves look next to each other, and how frequently you’ll need to harvest that vegetable. Maybe the corn gets sown on the west side of the lettuces to shade them from late afternoon sun, or the herbs stay front and center for easy access at dinnertime. Whatever your plan, lay a piece of drawing paper or tissue paper over the printed photo and pencil in where each variety is going to live. Make sure to draw them at the fully mature size, even if it’s just an outline (we’re not artists!), so you get a real picture of your future garden. Then make a key below the drawing to help you identify which variety is which. If you have multiple garden beds, number them; it’ll help you keep your shopping list organized.

Once you know what you want to grow, make a shopping list and use our template to organize what you need. Record the varieties you want, how many plants you’ll need, and which bed they are going into. Always leave a column for notes. When you use your shopping list you may need to remember that the African Daisy marigolds can get up to 16 inches tall versus the African Crackerjack that could reach 3 feet. It’s not just seeds you need (although that is the best part); maybe you need new pots for indoor sowing, new gloves for weeding, or very handy garden stakes.

And now you’re ready (hopefully, the weather is, too)! As the season goes on, continue taking photos of your garden as it progresses, definitely when the flowers are in full bloom, and just before you harvest the vegetables. That will be the perfect time to take notes for next season’s garden. Next year when you’re trying to remember, you’ll be glad you have them.

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