Advance Planning in the Garden

Is it too early to start planning next year’s garden, when this summer’s has just started to produce? Maybe practically speaking, but the problem with garden planning in the middle of winter is two fold – first, all of the realities of how the garden works and what you do with it are often forgotten, and second, your imagination quite easily runs away with itself.

For example, this was supposed to be this year’s plan –


We didn’t even build beds in this configuration since we had to relocate the orchard. And there’s a lot of great stuff in here, but not in the quantities that reflect what we’ll actually eat. We want more tomatoes, way less big onions, and we don’t need to grow zucchini – we can buy the handful we want at the farmer’s market. Ditto on the watermelons and leeks. And where are the potatoes? Relegated in the “plan” to some mythical other spot in the yard, and of course they never ended up getting planted.

So, in the thick of this growing season, I’m planning ahead for the next to try to learn from those mistakes. This is what we’ll plan to grow next season (each square represents a square foot) –


From left to right – Rutgers tomatoes, Gold Nugget tomatoes, Early jalapenos, Spacemaster cucumbers (2 per square), Small Sugar pumpkin, Mini Jack Baby pumpkin, Evergreen Bunching onions (36 per square), Lacinato kale, Tom Thumb lettuce (4 per square), and an entire bed of Yukon Gold potatoes. The Spacemaster cucumbers are a bush varietal so they should not need trellising and the pumpkins will be trained up a shared A-frame trellis. The onions, kale and lettuce will all be succession planted to spread out the harvest through the season.

We’ll also continue growing herbs in pots on the deck – thyme, rosemary, parsley, peppermint, and sage. I’d also like to add in oregano and lavender. And of course we have the orchard – the apples, persimmons, hazelnuts and blueberries. And we’ll try a few pots of strawberries too. I also haven’t given up on raspberries – we’ll plant some new canes and try them again, but next year we’ll buy them locally.

Anything else we want or need we can get at the farmer’s market, so I think it’s a good mix. The stuff we use the most and eat the most of might not be the unusual and exciting, but it’ll be incredibly useful to have all of that at our fingertips. So now that’s out the way, maybe I’ll go less overboard ordering seeds in December!