When it comes to ‘growing your own’ a little bit of planning goes a long way so I thought I’d share my handy Free Garden Planner Printable to help you get organised and create your most productive garden.
Starting a vegetable garden can be pretty daunting, especially if it’s your first time ever raising plants from seed.
Since the pandemic hit, more and more people have decided to dedicate part of their outdoor space to growing their own fruits and vegetables but if you’ve not done it before it can be a bit difficult to know where to start.
The first time I planted a vegetable garden I didn’t really plan it…at all – I’d had some raised beds built out of old scaffold boards, filled them with soil and just sowed whatever seeds I could get my hands on.
I’d actually struck gold that first year and found that one of the local charity shops had a big plastic tub full of old seed packets that someone had donated and I walked away with bags full for just a tenner!
I had all kinds in there – beans, squash, sweetcorn, onions and I spent the next few weeks sowing and thinning out a whole mish-mash of items. I was so pleased to see things growing that I hadn’t really thought about the fact that we wouldn’t actually want to eat half of it. I ended up giving away most of my harvest that year to friends and family, which isn’t a bad thing, but it made me realise how important it is to plan out your garden and make sure you are utilising the space you’ve got for the crops that you’d want.
After that first year I did a lot more research into the sort of things I wanted to grow and found that the Square Foot Gardening approach worked quite well for my raised beds, I had little diagrams drawn out showing how many of each plant I could squeeze into each square and it made my numbers and organizing brain very happy PLUS it made it a lot easier to maintain and take care of!
Download your Free Garden Planner
Sign-up to the mailing list below to get access to all the free printables I create. You’ll be sent an email with a link to access the ‘Freebies Vault’ and you’ll find the Garden Planner in there.
How to use your Free Garden Planner
Once you’ve downloaded your free garden planner and printed it off I’d suggest stapling it together and maybe putting it into a plastic wallet so that you can keep it free from mud and water (it can’t just be me that gets into a right mess in the garden?)
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve taken a photo of a plant or saved an image I’ve seen online that I’d love to have in our garden only to realise that I’ve not noted down the name or variety of it. ID’ing plants from a photo isn’t impossible but it can be a bit time consuming, it’s much easier to write down the name and variety of a plant you like the look.
Any seasoned veg grower will tell you that you end up with packets of seeds coming out your ears after a year or two of growing – sometimes its leftover seeds from the year before or a friend has given you a few packets they won’t use, either way you end up with lots of seed packets and invariably some will end up going past their best before date. This is why it’s important to keep a seed inventory, you want to know if they are in date still, what variety they are, when they need planting out and how many you have in the packet – it saves a lot of rummaging around in your seed tin each year.
Seed Packet Info
Now I know what your thinking; why would you need to write down the seed packet info if its already on the back of the packet? 😂
Well, the answer to that one is pretty simple, no matter how organised you try to be when gardening you will invariably lose a few seed packets here and there. A sudden gust of wind blows it away from where you’re working, it falls into the water but or watering can, the dog runs away with it, your helpful spouse throws it away as ‘it looked like muddy rubbish’. Trust me, you’ll want to keep a little note of the most important info for each seed.
Use this page to keep track of what needs planting out when. It’s very tempting to want to sow every seed you have the moment you get it but there is a reason the back of the packet says to not sow out until a certain time.
It’s always sensible to try and have a rough idea of where you are going to plant things before you start chucking seeds everywhere and there are a few reasons for this. Firstly, it could be a good idea to consider Companion Planting when sowing vegetables to help deter certain pests and keep the soil in tip-top condition and secondly, some plants need quite a bit of room to grow which is why we thin out young seedlings to make sure there isn’t too much competition for roots and leaves to establish. It’s no good trying to plant carrots right next to your lettuce as they’ll end up smothered so it’s important to look at the spread and height that some plants might have.
It’s important to stay on top of your garden chores when you’re growing vegetables as things can grow and change so fast.
It’s handy to keep a note of what you manage to harvest from your garden so you can decide if it’s worth sowing again the next year.