Do you know the things you need to do NOW to prepare for next year’s garden?

This past year we had our first full-blown garden. And as an all-in kind of family, we planted a lot!

We had 2 long rows of green beans, two large sections of zucchini, broccoli, cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes and strawberries.

There were things that went really well and things that totally flopped. So how can you prepare for a great garden in the upcoming year?

What To Do Now to Prepare for Next Year's Garden

I wanted the fresh, home-grown produce, but I always worried about my follow-through because growing up I hated gardening. My dad always had a garden growing and I just dreaded getting on my knees and digging holes for seeds, watering and then tediously picking the things we grew.

My husband was enthusiastic about our garden and this was so helpful in the process. It’s hard to do it all on your own. He helped with some of the tough labor in the beginning, the rototilling and all. And then I did most of the work once it was planted.

I loved it! I couldn’t believe how much I loved it.

It felt so good being able to bring home-grown fruits and vegetables into my home. I loved knowing where our food came from and the taste of garden fresh veggies. And despite the large undertaking we were told would overwhelm us, I was disappointed in the number of veggies we got. I wanted more!

I even planted a second round of green beans that I harvested at the end of September. We have a lot in the freezer and I love it.

So as I think about next year, there’s a lot I want to prep ahead of time so that I’m ready for a great garden and veggie harvest.

If you are new at planning a garden or maybe, like me, you’re ready to make your garden bigger, here’s what you can do to get ready!

Consider The Past Year’s Garden

In order to make next year’s garden even better, we have to consider how last year’s garden went. There were things that worked really well and things that definitely needed improvement.

For example, there were patches in the garden that didn’t grow at all. We think this is because of the sunlight that was blocked by trees. Because of this, we plan to move our garden away from the fence and extend it more into the yard.

I’m also considering the veggies we ate a lot of and the ones we didn’t enjoy as much. I will definitely be growing less cucumbers and a lot more zucchini next year.

If you had a garden this year, consider what went well and what didn’t. This will help as you plan your garden for next year.

Here is a quick list of some things to consider:

  • What didn’t work and what we don’t want to plant again this year
  • What failed last year but we want to have this year! (broccoli)
  • What we loved & want lots more of (green beans & zucchini)

Choose What You Want to Grow

I know that we will be making our garden much larger this year. But because I really want to get as much as possible out of it, it’s important to be strategic about what you grow, where you grow it and when.

Write a list of things you’d like to grow. It’s okay if this list is too long. You can narrow it down later.

My list for next year includes:

  • Green Beans
  • Zucchini
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Tomatoes
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Peas
  • Strawberries

We really love green beans and zucchini so I will be planning on saving a large space for those.

As you decide on what you want, look up the best times to grow and how long they take to harvest. You can sometimes dig up the finished crop once they are harvested and plant another round before the year is over - doubling your crop!

Once you find these pieces of information for your area, write it all down next to your list of items.

Mapping It Out & Writing It Down

Once you know what you want to grow and have an idea roughly of how much you’d like of each, you can map out the best way to plant.

This will help when it comes time to plant so that you can be strategic and get the most out of your garden space.

I like to literally draw out a shape of my garden and draw and re-draw what I want to plant until it fits in the way that makes the most sense.

One of the best tips I received when starting our garden was to keep a journal of what works each year.

It’s so easy to forget what happens from year to year. When you write notes, it will help you perfect your garden!

Growing your own vegetables and fruits is an amazing way to help your family live more naturally and healthy. It’s fun to be able to harvest your own food, store it for the winter and rely less on store-bought food.

I recently listened to Kristin’s podcast, What is Real Food? I love her approach to healthy living. She reminds us that being healthy isn’t about a restrictive diet or crazy fads, but about eating real food!

And the food that we grow in our garden? That’s real food!

Growing your own food helps keep the preservatives and chemicals that are on store-bought food lower in your home which leads to a healthier lifestyle and family! I feel good when I can feed my family food I’m confident in!

What are you most excited to grow in your garden? What is your biggest garden struggle? Answer in the comments below 🙂