Planning your garden ahead of time is important and if you haven’t gotten around to it yet, now would be a good time. I used to be a market gardener and then taught at the community college. Through teaching I met enthusiastic gardeners of all kinds and guided them through the process of garden planning. I even made a DVD about that to help people who couldn’t take my classes. The DVD cover is the photo you see. One of my mottos is "Ya Gotta Have a Plan!"
Planning means not only looking ahead — you need to incorporate what has already happened as you plan for what is to come. How did your garden do last year? Even if you have a great garden plan at the beginning of the season, often there are changes or things that just didn’t get done for one reason or another. (I’m sure all those reasons were good ones.) Take time now to think about last year’s garden before you jump into this gardening year.
Imagine that you are writing a letter to your best friend about last year’s garden. Tell that friend what new things you tried and how it went. Tell your friend about the awesome things you experienced in the garden last summer. If there was no awe, make it a point to take time to find it this year. Do that by slowing down and really noticing what is going on. Also, include what held you back from having the garden live up to your original plan and what changes you might include to make it better this year.
As you can imagine, you are that best friend and the letter is your annual garden report. Taking time to think through last season will help jump start your planning for this year. Ideas will come to mind that you want to implement. You will remember things that you promised yourself you would not do again. As for awe in the garden, you will find a photo of an awesome moment in my garden last year of a leatherwing on a mint plant at Homeplace Earth where I write more about making an annual garden report.
Cindy Conner is the author of Seed Libraries and Grow a Sustainable Diet and has produced DVDs about garden planning and managing cover crops with hand tools. Learn more about what she is up to at Homeplace Earth. Read all of her MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.
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