One of the lessons that gardening can
teach your children is the value of planning.
Like many jobs (painting, for instance),
the planning and preparation may take as long
as, and be even more important than, the
actual work of brushing on the paint or
putting the seed into the ground.
Considering the following factors in
planning your garden will save you time,
money, and energy.
at seed catalogs, displays of seed packets,
gardening books, or the Internet to become
familiar with different varieties of garden
garden centers and nurseries.
to experienced gardeners in your area.
Invite grandparents or another family to
dinner to share their gardening know-how with
2. Choose Vegetables
Discuss as a family:
vegetables does your family like to eat?
Browse through Burpee's
online catalog of many varieties and
characteristics of vegetables.
vegetables offer greater health benefits and
should be included in your diet?
Nutritional Guide lists fruits and
vegetables by color categories with their
main nutrients, plus those specific to each
vegetable and their health benefits. Also
includes growing tips for each vegetable.
National Nutrient Database lists all
nutrients of most foods in many different
forms (e.g., there are 19 listings for
Lists are sorted either by food
description or in descending order by
nutrient content in terms of common household
vegetables can offer the best savings or
superior quality compared to bought produce?
vegetables do you have space to grow?
vegetables grow best in your climate?
(Check with local gardeners and
3. Determine Amount
You do not have to plant all the seeds in
each seed packet you buy. Consider the
following questions and then see the back of
the seed packet for the expected yield of
much can your family eat fresh as it is
much do you want to give away or sell?
much do you want to preserve by canning,
freezing, or drying?
4. Make a Commitment
much time do you have to devote to garden
Estimate the number of hours per day or
week that your garden care will take.
much money are you able and willing to spend
on garden supplies and water?
Make a budget.
will be responsible?
Assign specific chores or a section of
your garden to specific family members.
5. Find a Location
how much space you need to grow the types and
amounts of vegetables you have chosen.
For example, if you grow corn or spreading
pumpkin and squash, you will need much more
space than just a "salad garden" of lettuce,
tomatoes, green onions, radishes, cucumbers,
how much money, time, energy, and commitment
will be required for the size of your garden.
Novice gardeners need to start small;
however, "small" has been suggested to be
anywhere between 12'x16' to 20'x30'.
a space that gets 8 hours of sun (unshaded by
buildings or trees), adequate water supply,
and good drainage.
you do not have a lot of space, consider
planting in borders around your lawn, in
containers (e.g., tomatoes) or on trellises,
and in several smaller patches.
Small, well-maintained gardens with
successive planting can produce more than
large gardens that are overridden with weeds.
Read suggestions for Urban
Gardening and Growing
Vegetables in Containers.
6. Allocate Space and Map It
your garden to scale on graph paper and label
Use 1/4 inch = 1 foot or tape two pieces
of paper together and use a larger scale.
three maps for spring, summer, and fall
plantings, or use one map with color codes
for each of the succession plantings.
space for each vegetable based on its yield
and the amount you can use.
Check the planting and maturing time for
early and late vegetables to see if you can
make a second planting after the first is
space for each vegetable in rows (narrow or
wide) or in blocks.
space for paths between rows or every other
Be sure you and your children can
comfortably reach all the plants from the
your rows to run east and west, with the
taller vegetables on the north side.
vegetables together according to similar
Some plants do well with overhead
watering; others do not.
Planting: Basic Concept and Resources.
a Garden discusses all aspects of this
How-To Info's Planning
a Garden lists many articles on different
types of gardens.
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