If you’re anything like us, you probably make resolutions and goals at the beginning of each year. If you’re like almost everyone in the entire world, you’ve scrapped those ideas before spring break.
You don’t have to fall into that same old trap when setting goals for your garden. Creating the garden of your dreams doesn’t have to be an overwhelming or daunting task. Keep reading to learn steps for successfully planning and creating the garden your New Year’s goals describe.
Clarify Your Reasons
The first thing you should do when setting goals for your garden is to decide what purpose it will serve. To do that, you’ll want to understand your motivation for planting a garden. Whether you’re new to gardening and just getting started or an experienced gardener looking to expand, understanding the why behind your desire will help keep your goals on track.
Some popular reasons to begin or expand your garden include:
- Cutting down on your grocery bill
- Increased food security for your family
- Fresh flavors and ingredients in your cooking
- Creating a deeper connection with nature
- Teaching your children about gardening, growing food, and responsibility
- Learning a rewarding hobby
- Using compost from household waste effectively
- Creating your own green space
Once you know why you want to garden, you’ll have a better understanding of the scope of your project. If your goal is to have fresh herbs on-hand to punch-up the flavor in your weeknight dinners, your gardening space can be much smaller than if you’re dreaming of creating a more food secure future for your family of eight.
Research Your Plants
If you feel stuck and aren’t sure how to get started, don’t let that feeling hold you back. By reading this you’ve already begun! Keep your clearly-defined reasoning in mind and make a list of all the things you want to plant. Then, start your researching the plants you want to include in your garden. Answer the following questions for each plant.
- When is the plant’s growing season in my geographical area?
- How much space does it need?
- How much light and water does each plant require?
- How long does the plant grow before you get produce?
- How much produce should come from one plant?
This is not an exhaustive list, but it should help get you started. As you continue your research, further refine your questions and soon you’ll have a folder of information for each of the plants to be planted in your dream garden.
Create a Plan
Sit down with your research, budget, and calendar. Begin mapping out when each of your plants needs to be in the ground. You can use online tools to help you learn more about each plant. Another option is to pick up the latest copy of The Old Farmer’s Almanac.
For instance, in Stillwater, Oklahoma, if you want to harvest tomatoes in the fall you’ll probably want to start them as seeds indoors during the middle to the end of May. You’ll then transfer the seedlings to your garden at the end of June or beginning of July. It usually takes 100 days for the plants to produce mature tomatoes.
Before the middle of May, you’ll want to have purchased seeds, soil, a seedling pot, and any additional needed equipment for your future tomatoes. Before the end of June, you’ll want to have your outdoor space prepared and any equipment purchased.
Divide up the time and expense of the process during your planning stage to avoid feeling overwhelmed. Instead you will be full of excitement and hunger (at least for tomatoes). Just remember:
- Take small steps
- Keep a small financial cushion for unexpected items
- Don’t schedule over your gardening time in your calendar
Watch Your Dreams Come to Life
The process of setting and following through with your gardening goals will be satisfying. Not only will you have stuck with your goal, but you’ll literally see your dream come to life.
Get connected with experienced gardeners in your area through garden clubs or other similar programs to enhance your experience. If you’re pressed for time but craving the feeling of a gardening or hobby farm community, try subscribing to a magazine or two. When something like Mother Earth News or Hobby Farms hits your mailbox you’ll not only feel like a part of a special club, but you’ll increase your inspiration level.
Remember to keep records of your progress, how your plants performed, and what the weather was like for first-hand information when you’re planning next time. As your garden and needs expand, check out our irrigation solutions at Big Sprinkler for quality products you can count on to solve your watering needs.
The feeling of satisfaction alone is a great reward, but you’ll also have the abundance of produce from your garden as well as a deeper knowledge of your world and how it works. Remember to celebrate the completion of your goals and share your abundance with neighbors and friends. With a New Year’s resolution like this – everyone wins.