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6 Steps for Planning Your Dream Garden: From Choosing Seeds to Planting

Starting a garden doesn't have to be overwhelming, although even as a gardener for 4 years now I still get overwhelmed from time to time. This year I have felt more on my game than I have in the past and I'm ready to share all my tips and tricks on how to have a successful growing year. Here are 6 steps for planning your dream garden - seed to planting.

Picture of a garden

Step One | Get Yourself a Calendar

Get yourself a cute calendar for the year. Now don't get me wrong I would be lost without my iPhone calendar however there is something to be said about physically writing down a plan and whether your garden is big or small I find this step super helpful. I start my garden planning in January, starting with googling your last frost date and first frost date for your growing zone. Now you have an average date of when you can calculate when to start your seeds.

Step Two | Order Seeds/Read Seed Packets

I am a big fan of Johnny Seeds, almost all the seeds I have are from there. I love all the information that is provided on the bad of the seed packet, it's so helpful. Once you have an all your seed packets it's time to actually read them. If you purchased from Johnny seeds you want to look for Transplant. Here it will tell you have many weeks to start your seedling before transplanting in outside. So for my growing zone 4 my broccoli seed needs to be started 3-4 weeks before transplanting outdoors. Do this for all your seeds. if you're planning on starting your seeds indoors then make a pile of seeds that can be transferred.

Step Three | Write Down When to Start Seedlings

Using my calendar I would calculate a rough date when I can start each seed based on what is recommend for that seed. I start my seedlings indoors so for broccoli I would take my calendar and calculate a rough date working backwards from my average last frost date. Because Minnesota is a wild card when it comes to weather I like to add several weeks so that my seedling is extra strong in case we get harsh weather. For seeds that are recommended for direct seed, calculate when you can plant outdoors. Johnny seeds provides a soil temp recommendation so make note of that in your calendar for each seed that you need to direct seed.

Step Four | Organize Your Seeds

Organizing Seeds

I have what I like to call a collection of seeds so it's important for me to stay organized so I'm not missing any or over ordering. I like to use these transparent photo container. I have two and they work great. I place each seed packet into a plastic zip bag and then place into the individual storage case. Because I have multiple different types of a vegetable, I label each case by the generic name and place all the different types into that case. For example one case is labeled beans and I have both pole beans and jade beans in that case.

Step Five | Map Out Your Garden Space

Now that you know what to plant and when, you can start mapping out your garden space. I like a good old fashion pen and paper method however this year I tried Canva and I have to say I may like that a lot better. My garden structures don't change so it nice to be able to draw in once on Canva and then use it as a template each year to move my plants around. If you're unsure where to start with placing your plants I highly recommend you check out my blog post all about companion planting. You can read about it here.

Step Six | Start your Seedlings

Seedling trays sitting on heat mats

If you plan on starting your seedlings indoors this is where I would start. First get yourself a couple of good seedling trays. I have used 6 cell trays with drain holes and then placed in larger trays for the last 3 years but since I need to replenish I will be buying some from Gardeners Supply Company, I will link the ones I'm getting here. Next get some seedling garden mix, I use Espoma organic seed starter. If you don't have a green house or a place that gets full sun in your house I would recommend getting grow lights or grow light bulbs and heating mats. It will make a big difference. I will link everything that I have purchased below.

Seedling Trays: 6 cell Trays, Growing Trays

I hope you find this post helpful. If you looking for more information I do have a page on my website for all things garden. Happy Planting!


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