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Planning your 2012 Garden: What to consider

Posted in Models, Research by Kate Archdeacon on January 10th, 2012

Photo by abbybatchelder via flickr CC

Cityfood Growers have a checklist on their blog to help those of us who still don’t have the perfect veggie garden(!) reassess what we want and plan for a better year.

Author Peter Kearney says “January is a great time to get your thinking into planning your food garden for the coming year. In my experience, good planning makes a huge difference to your success. It helps to open your awareness to new knowledge, as you have more an idea of what’s coming, rather than stumbling along. […] I know that is a lot of questions to work with, but they are all important when you do your plan. I work with these questions each year as I plan my own food gardens.”

The post includes a series of topic areas with several questions to answer in each area.  Go through to the Cityfood Grower’s Organic Gardening blog for the full set of questions – not even half of them are included here:

Recap on last year – Be as objective as possible with yourself.

  • What crops grew well and crops that did not grow so well?
  • Were you being pragmatic enough with your time, i.e. did you hang onto to crops that didn’t produce much and took up a lot of your time and space?

Your garden space

  • Can you now manage a bigger food garden, if so design the layout of your new garden and use the right principles for layout?
  • Can you improve the design of your existing garden, for example more efficient use of space, better sun and drainage?

Soil fertility

  • What is the state of your soil and is it appropriate for the crops you want to grow?
  • Are you making compost and if so, are your methods producing enough and of good quality?
  • Are you timing your compost making to fit your maximum planting time?

Planting plan

  • For your vegetable/herb garden, have you developed a rotation plan for your beds, leave some space for perennials such as herbs?
  • Have you chosen the predominant crops for each of your vegetable garden beds and worked out the month of planting using the ideal months?
  • Have you chosen companion plants and space filler now that you have chosen your predominant crops for your beds?

Garden management

  • Is your garden easy to manage in its current layout and design, if not think about how to make it easier to work with and at the same time generating higher quality soil?
  • Are you overusing mulch and could you use more living crops for mulching such as green manure and edible companions?

Pests and diseases

  • For your vegetable garden, are you using companion planting to reduce pests?
  • Is soil quality your primary pest and disease reduction strategy, if not then make it so?

Your well being

  • Have you developed an awareness of how you want to feel in your food garden, as your feelings have a big impact on how the garden grows?
  • Will you create space in your busy day to sit in your garden to observe and contemplate?


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