It is garden planning season, so with the planning comes vegetable garden planner printables. We are going to share our step-by-step garden plan with you as we know many of you loved to see what we were up to with our gardens in previous years, pictures from our garden growing indoors and out! It helps to see other’s gardens and plans to help you plan your own.
Yes, successful gardening takes planning. We are not master gardeners, but merely city dwellers that want to make the most of our budget and our yard to produce some fresh, homegrown, organic produce.
Several years ago, Alex created downloads for me to use to help me have an even more efficient and effective garden plan.
We have shared our plans in the past and along with those plans, we have shared our vegetable garden planner printables. We want you to be able to utilize these as well, no matter the type of gardening you are doing. Planning your garden on paper before helps to ensure a bit more success, along with saving the budget from not buying more than you need.
I have used these exact plans for years as they are simple enough to do the trick, while being effective at the same time.
So….. I am sharing these downloads he created for me with you too as you prepare and plant gardens this year! We want to provide tools and resources when we can to make this thrifty life a little easier. This is one of those tools!
A Little History About Our Gardens
For the past several years, we have shared our personal garden plans and lots of gardening tips and tricks. We love to garden and growing your own food could be a good way to save money.
So I want to share some ideas from our past years to help get the juices flowing for you!
Well, let me start off by saying that we switched to square foot gardening after a few years of rough gardening and rough results from “row” gardens. We struggled with using the actual ground as our soil. In our area, the soil is terrible, filled with clay and very high maintenance. Weeds, tough ground, terrible soil, etc. So we finally made that switch a few years ago and it was finally awesome!
We followed Mel Bartholomew’s Square Foot Gardening Book. This is the EXACT one that we use!
You can see the details and information on this book on Amazon HERE.
So of course we are doing square foot gardening again. Not only is it low maintenance, but has very little weeds and nutrient rich soil for our food!
We also use Heirloom Seeds – I hope to harvest my own seeds to use again from these same plants!
Since one of the sheets from the vegetable garden planner printables set includes a square foot gardening planner, we thought it would be good to share how to build your own square foot garden box, because buying them is ridiculous!
In fact, at places like Home Depot and Lowe’s, you can buy a 4’x4′ garden box kit that does not include a bottom (and we share in the post why a bottom is helpful) for nearly $70. BUT…with a few simple tools and about 30 minutes of your time, you can build one for about $25 with the bottom. This saves you loads of money and makes for a better garden box.
The boxes were very easy to build and we shared the step-by-step DIY square foot garden box instructions in this post:
Now that I have shared our method that we prefer, the next step is planning. Note that you can use these vegetable garden planner printables for any method of gardening you prefer. Regardless, you need a plan!
Here’s the steps I follow to plan and plant a produce garden!
Step#1 – Figure out what varieties I want to plant!
- I use the Planting Schedule download and fill in the first line with the plant.
- Then using planting guides or on the seed packs themselves, decide which ones need to be started indoors and which ones are planted directly in the ground.
- I wait on the number of plants until another step. So I skip to the last section and write the start date based on when I want to harvest that food! Often, I will be starting seedlings and different intervals to have food coming in at different times and not all at once!
Step #2 – Complete the Companion Guide
- It is important to figure out which foods are friends and which ones are enemies – to put it in simple terms! This is called companion gardening and it is a simple, but very beneficial step to take to have a healthy, flourishing, bountiful garden!
- I use the Companion Guide download. In the first box, write the plant name. Then there are two sections – one for the “Friends” and one for the “Not’s.”
- To find the friends and not’s of planting together, I use Almanac.com or OrganicGardening.com sites.
Step #3 – Write out your plan
- Whether you are planting square foot gardens, rows or something else, it’s best to write it out so you don’t over or under plan.
- For square foot gardening, it’s easy to write it out! I just use the Square Foot Garden Planner download to write what food will be planted in each “foot” and then the number of seeds or plants to be planted in each square foot. You can research online how many of each type of plant can fit in a square foot, or use the official square foot gardening book which lays all of this out!
Step #4 – Finish the Planting Schedule
- Go back to the first download and now fill-in how many seeds you need to plant. It is best to add 10-20% more seedlings to plant as you will often lose some. Worst case, if they all sprout and grow, then give some of your seedlings to others and bless others! But this excess will hopefully make up for seeds the don’t sprout or plants that don’t turn out very healthy. So if I want 4 of something, I will plant 5 or 6, etc.
Finally, once you are all planned out…. get growing! Follow your “start dates” and start your seedlings!
We have several ideas for starting seedlings including these articles:
So here’s what we typical grow in any given year. We have 6 square foot garden boxes now. We also have a potato tower for potatoes. This is a great way to grow a bunch of potatoes in a small space.
But here’s what’s going in the boxes:
- 32 peas
- 4 Tomatoes
- 4 Cabbage
- 4 Kale
- 8 Cucumber
- 6 Broccoli
- 6 Cauliflower
- 4 Pepper
- 128 Carrots
- 32 Beans
- 32 Corn
- 4 Spaghetti Squash
- 36 Onion
- 4 Zucchini
- 4 Mixed Lettuce (this is one where you cut and it keeps regrowing)
- 4 Spinach
- 64 Radish
- 8 Watermelon
- 8 Cantaloupe
We already have a bunch of fruit all over our yard in the form of fruit trees and berry plants. So it makes for a nice, complete garden.
With the above plan, the seeds I needed to start in the house were:
The next question to answer is how to deal with the pests?
We actually have a number of articles on natural pest control, pest control ideas without the use of chemicals so you can technically keep your garden organic in nature.
To find these articles, head over to our Garden Gallery of Ideas
What are you growing this year?
Print off your Vegetable Garden Planner Printables
|<== Download your Planting Schedule page HERE
|<== Download your Companion Gardening Planner page HERE|
|<== Download your Square Foot Garden Planning page HERE
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See our Gardening Pinterest Board
I love your site. Wonderful information. I am having a problem tho. Most of the links go to Bluebook site or car ads. Downloads will not print. Please advise. I would love to have the benefit of the links and downloads.
At the bottom of the post, there are links to each of the downloads in bold print or you can click on the download image and it should come up. Let me know if that works!
I really enjoyed this post! But one comment I wanted to make – your photos are dark and hard to see – any chance of you increasing the brightness and contrast? Just might make it easier for your readers to get a better idea of what we’re looking at. 🙂 I love your site and all that you share with us!!!! Thank you for your thriftiness!
We love Square Foot Gardening! I fell in love with it so much I became a Certified Square Foot Gardening Instructor a few years ago. It is incredible – and amazes people – with how much food you CAN grow in a single square foot! Your garden planning sheets look great. (In years past, I have just written everything down in a notebook.) I’m anxious to start planning our garden for this year! ~Adrienne
Awesome Adrienne. Becoming a certified master gardener is on my bucket list. I just wish I had time! But it is a goal and a dream. In the meantime, I am self-study and learning! I hope those planning sheets are a blessing! Thanks!
I like the printables, but what about the companion planting chart that you featured on facebook with the lead in to this article? Is it available somewhere?
Thank you so much for printables. These were just what I needed to organize my gardening plans better. I’m getting so excited for my garden this year! We’re using square foot garden spacing this year, but we’re doing it lasagna style with no bottoms for our beds.
One of my top 6 ways to get seeds for free is use seed exchanges, where community members bring whatever extra seeds they have and trade them. We attended a community seed exchange last year and ended up not having enough space to plant everything with all of the seeds we brought home.
This year we have a much better space and we can use all of our free seeds that we received from the exchange and other ways to hopefully have a fantastic harvest. Thanks again for the printables, it was just what I needed to get organized!
Excellent printables and so much great content here. Thanks. I pinned a few things for later.
Gardening Tips And Ideas
A well detailed and valuable article. Thank you for sharing,
it’s bound to help plenty of people out there.
You always post helpful advice, some of which I share on Twitter.
I really liked this article! I adore your website and all the information you provide to us. I appreciate your thriftiness.