When To Start Garden Plans – Learn About End Of Season Garden Planning
By: Mary Ellen Ellis
The end of the growing season can be both rewarding and sad. All your hard work has resulted in a beautiful garden and maybe vegetables, herbs, and fruits you can enjoy in months to come. End of season garden planning is your next task. Clean the dirt out from under your fingernails and head indoors to dream and plan next year’s garden.
When to Start Garden Plans
Garden planning in winter (or even fall) is the perfect balm for the dreary season. Of course, there is no wrong time to start planning for the coming spring, but don’t leave it too long or you’ll be rushing.
This down time is the perfect time to prepare for what comes next. There isn’t much you can do out in the garden, but indoors you can assess, plan, and purchase.
Tips for Planning Next Year’s Garden
Start by assessing the garden that has just gone dormant. Reflect on what you liked about it, what didn’t work, and what you wish you had done differently. Maybe you found a great tomato variety you want to use again. Perhaps your peonies didn’t like being transplanted and need something to fill in that void. Do some reflecting now so you remember what worked and what didn’t. Then dig in and make those plans.
- Do some research and get inspired. This is a great time to dream about what could be. Leaf through seed catalogs and garden magazines to get ideas and find new varieties to try.
- Make a list. Now make a master list of plants. Include those that will stay put, like perennials, those you need to remove, and any annuals like vegetables and flowers you want to grow.
- Make a map. A visual tool is so helpful. Even if you don’t expect to change much about the layout, map out your garden to look for places that could be improved or spots for new plants.
- Order seeds. Make sure you have your seeds ready to go in time to begin starting them ahead of the last frost of spring.
- Make a planting schedule. With a list, map, and seeds you’re ready to make a real plan. When will you do what? Considering frost dates and when certain plants should be started, create a schedule to keep your work on track.
- Buy materials. Check up on tools, potting soil, seed trays, and make sure you have everything in place when it’s time to start planting.
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There is nothing like a few wintertime garden tasks & projects to help chase the winter blues. And, of course, get you more than ready for your best garden season ever!
Just because the snow and thermometer might be falling, it doesn’t mean you have to stop thinking or working on what your garden will need for the coming year.
Even though the cold, dreary dark days of winter are here, your garden doesn’t have to take a back seat. In fact, it’s actually the perfect time to plan, prepare and even create all kinds of great things for your garden.
How I Use a Garden Planner
At the end of each growing season, I always sit down with my garden planner. In it, I make certain to take careful notes about where each plant was located and the next year’s crop rotation. In addition to garden design, I make sure to write down when each flower type started to bloom, as well as about how many cut flower stems I was able to harvest. With that information, I begin planning for next year’s planting and start the wishlist of seed varieties I would like to add in the spring.
My garden planner also serves as a place where I note when each type of seed will be started, how many trays of each seed I will sow, and the approximate transplant date. This helps me to ensure that none of my plants are forgotten in the scramble to prepare for a new growing season.
Among my favorite pages in the planner are those dedicated to possible flower bed combinations that I would like to try and a detailed list of plant crosses that I’ve made in the past. Even when the weather is cold outside, I can’t help but daydream about the return of warmer days and potential for the new planting.