Best Way To Plan A Garden

Walkways – simple herringbone paths and gravel paths snaking through flowerbeds – are a perfect way to be immersed in the colours and scents of the garden, but they are also practical, allowing easy access for tending to plants and garden maintenance. Choose traditional cottage plants that release scent when you brush past. Or if you have a sunny patio, switch to container gardening. That way you can place sun-loving vegetables and herbs (tomatoes, eggplants, cucumbers, peppers, peas, beans, corn, and squash; basil, dill, and rosemary) where they’ll do well. Provide Plenty of Water Watering wisely is key to garden success, especially in warm, dry regions. Mulch is what I have on my the path to my shed now. I love the way mulch walkways look, especially in informal, wooded areas like this one. Maybe if my path looked like this, I wouldn’t be wanting to change it 🙂. Mulch garden paths are really easy and relatively inexpensive way to create a pathway.

Looking for a simple garden plan that allows you to grow some, most, or nearly all of your family’s food this year?

Growing your own food is easier than you might think. And as you will see with the simple, all-purpose garden plan below, it really can help to feed your family in a big way.

And in this fast changing world, growing your own food has never made more sense than right now.

Getting Back To Gardening…

Recent events have certainly made people think more than ever about our food supply chain. And what better way to help solve the food issue than by growing your own?

We have been growing nearly three quarters of our food for going on 10 years now. All with a simple, 40′ x 60′ low-maintenance raised row garden that lets us grow the vegetables we love.

Why Gardening Makes Cents and Sense!

Growing food in our organic garden has always made sense to us for so very many reasons.

First and foremost, it provides our family with healthy, nutritious food. Food that in addition to being consumed fresh, can be canned, stored and preserved for use the whole year round.

And because we grow it, we know exactly what is in it. But maybe more importantly, what’s not! Like harmful chemicals and sprays.

But growing our food also been a great way to keep our family budget under control. It’s simple. Less trips to the grocery means less cash out of pocket. And back in the days when we were feeding four teenage children, that was a big plus!

But perhaps best of all, having a garden as always been an incredible way for us to get outdoors, exercise, and stay healthy. And what can be better than that!

A Simple Garden Plan To Grow Your Family’s Food

So the big question is how much do you have to grow to feed the average family? It can vary for sure, but as a great guide, we have included a simple garden plan below based on feeding a family of four.

It can, however, be easily scaled to fit any size family, simply by adding or deleting rows. The real key of the below plan is to give a great starting point for knowing how many plants are needed for a good supply of food.

This 26′ x 40′ plan is set up for raised row planting, but can certainly be planted in a traditional garden setting too. With a total of (16) 18″ wide x 20′ long raised rows, it is also an extremely manageable garden. Especially when planted with raised rows.

Why Raised Rows?

If you are not familiar with no-till raised rows, be sure to check out our article How To Create The Perfect Raised Row Garden With Ease for a great overview. It can guide you through the entire process, and explain why it works so well for low-maintenance gardening.

New Ways To Garden

Raised Rows are quite simply the easiest and most simple way to garden. They grow a lot of food in a small space, and cut weeding and other maintenance chores to near zero. They also happen to be a great way to start a garden for beginners and seasoned garden veterans alike.

A Simple Garden Plan To Feed A Family

The plan and suggested plant list below is created with big flavor, big production, and ease of growing in mind. It should produce more than enough to help feed an average family of four. Both for fresh eating, and for canning and preserving for year round supplies.

It is a garden that can help create everything from staples like corn and green beans, to fresh salads and soups, salsa, sauces and more.

It is intended as a solid starting point for those looking to provide fresh food for their family this year. To make the plan yours, simply sub out vegetables you don’t like for those you do!

Plan & Plant List

The plant list below is based on the simple garden plan pictured earlier in the article. We have included it again below as a reference.

Along with the specific vegetables, we have included “best selections” for varieties that grow and produce well, or can be used for multiple food staples like soups, canning, etc.

Paste Tomatoes ( 6 Plants)

Paste tomatoes are perfect for canning and for making fresh salsa, pasta sauce and soups. They are also great for slicing up for salads and fresh eating. 6 plants will yield plenty for canning, soups and fresh eating. Best Varieties : San Marzano, Amish Paste

Heirloom Tomatoes ( 6 Plants )

These are the mainstay tomatoes full of flavor and size. They are great for fresh eating, hamburgers, and canning too! Best Varieties : Brandywine, Celebrity, Black Krim, Tiger Blush

Peppers (12 Plants)

For this garden plan there are 2 rows of peppers, one for large bell peppers, and one for smaller snacking peppers and hot peppers. Peppers are great for stuffing, fresh eating, salads, soups and more.

A good variety of 3 to 6 bell peppers, 3 snacking peppers, and a few hot varieties of peppers works well for most. Best Varieties : Green Pepper – California Wonder, Red Pepper – Italian Roaster, Snacking Pepper – Lunchbox Peppers.


Potatoes store well in a cool, dark location, so they are great for creating food over the winter. (2) 20′ rows of potatoes will produce a good amount for fresh eating and storing. Best Varieties To Grow : Yukon Gold

Sweet Corn

Great for fresh eating, and for storing and using in soups. (2) double rows will produce enough ears for all. Best Varieties : Peaches & Cream, Silver Queen

Green Beans

Green beans are an excellent crop to have for both fresh eating and preserving. Not only do they produce high yields, they can be replanted several times for multiple harvests each year. Best variety : Blue Lake Bush Green Beans

Zucchini / Cucumbers

Zucchini are great for stir fries and are a heavy producer. Cucumbers are perfect for all kinds of fresh eating, and for making pickles. Best Varieties : Boston Pickling for pickling, – Straight 8 for slicing.

Best Way To Plan A Garden
Lettuce / Radish / Kale / Spinach / Spring Onions / Carrots

There are two rows for growing what we refer to as salad crops. These can be planted in succession for a continuous harvests from spring to fall. Carrots and spring onions are great to plant on the outside edge of the rows to have as needed throughout the year.


You can grow sugar snap peas in the early spring, or traditional green peas. Both are high in nutrition and great for all kinds of meal preps. Favorties : Snow Peas : Sugar Pod Peas – Green Peas : Alaska Shelling Peas


Sweet Onions and yellow onions, like potatoes, store well and can be used in so many dishes. They are easy to plant in sets, and can usually be found at local garden centers in the spring.

Grow Your Own Food This Year!

So how about making this the year you start a garden or expand your own to grow more of your family’s food!

Use this simple garden plan as a starting point, and adjust it for the vegetables you love, and that your family eats the most.

And if you want to find out even more on Raised Row Gardening, check out Raised Row Gardening – The Book. The 200+ page comprehensive guide is dedicated to perfecting the art of simple gardening.

Here is to growing your food this year with a simple garden plan! Happy Gardening – Jim & Mary

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Many of us will have drawn out our gardens, if only a rough sketch, to work out what space we have and to help us to select the plants we’ll grow. There are a few essential questions to ask to make sure that your time spent garden planning is as productive as possible.

How many plants can I grow in the space I have?

One of the most common mistakes gardeners make is trying to cram too many crops into their gardens, which results in overcrowding and poor harvests as the plants get bigger and compete for the best nutrients.

What is the best layout for my plants?

Best Way To Plan A Garden At Home

It’s usually necessary to rearrange the plants on a plan until you achieve the perfect layout. Make sure that you consider both the size of plants when they are fully grown, and their growing needs; for instance, sprawling squash should be at the edge of vegetable beds so they don’t smother other crops, leafy crops like summer lettuce can benefit from the shade cast by taller plants, and sweet corn should always be grown in blocks rather than a single row so that they can wind-pollinate properly.

What do I need to buy or order?

Carefully planning seed and garden supply orders is essential, so you can get growing as soon as the weather is right.

When should I plant?

It’s important to draw up a schedule of the best times for planting each crop in your local area. For best results some crops such as tomatoes and peppers should be started off under cover or indoors several weeks before your last frost. Other crops such as beans and squash can’t be sown until outside temperatures are reliably warm.

What might go wrong?

Consider what might cause problems. For example, big blocks of single crops can easily be attacked by pests such as aphids so don’t forget to include flowering plants to attract beneficial insects in your plan, or a sudden hot spell might cripple young tender plants unless you have planned adequate irrigation or shade.

All this planning can be done using pen and paper, but this can be time-consuming. It becomes increasingly complicated the more plants you grow, particularly if you’re keeping track of several years of plans for crop rotation purposes.

Using the Garden Planner

The Garden Planner has been designed to solve many of the headaches of growing a successful garden by helping you to produce the perfect plan of what you’ll grow where and when.

The first step is to add all of the key items that you have or plan to include in your garden. The Garden Planner has lots of ready-designed garden objects such as sheds, fences and compost bins, which can be dropped straight into your plan. Many of them, such as raised beds and glasshouses can be adjusted to fit your space. For odd-shaped gardens you can mark boundaries with lines or fences, which can be curved if necessary.

To add plants, just click on the plant to pick it up, click on your plan where you want to place it, and then hold down your mouse button and drag to draw a whole row or block. As you add vegetables the space they require is clearly shown by the colored area around each plant, and the tooltip displays how many plants will fit into the area.

Click on the ‘i’ button next to the plant in the selection bar for growing information. You can also use the Filter button to the left of the selection bar to only crops that suit your requirements.

You can plan traditional rows or blocks, or if you’re using the intensive Square Foot Gardening method, the Garden Planner has a dedicated SFG mode.

More Useful Garden Planner Features

The Garden Planner has many other powerful features that make it easy to get more from your garden.

  • Personalized sowing, planting and harvesting times. The Garden Planner adapts to your location by looking up the average frost dates for your area in our database of over 5000 weather stations and using this to produce a personalized Plant List, showing how many of each plant you require and when to sow, plant and harvest them in your location. Twice a month the Garden Planner sends email reminders of what can be sown or planted now from your garden plans to help you keep on track and not miss key planting dates.
  • Succession planting. Organize which crops will follow on from others using the succession planting feature, setting in-ground dates for your plants and viewing them month by month to show where gaps will appear.
  • Crop rotation. Each plant has a crop family color so you can easily identify it. The Garden Planner warns you about where you should avoid placing each vegetable based on what was in that area in previous years, helping to reduce the likelihood of soil-borne pests and diseases surviving from one year to the next.
  • Irrigation. Use the Filter drop-down box to select Irrigation, and then use the various components to create your system. The Parts List will create an easy to use shopping list of the items you will need, based on your design. Other garden objects from your plan will also be listed here.
  • Season extenders. Glasshouses, cold frames and row covers can all be used to extend the season. The Garden Planner automatically updates the sow, plant and harvest times for your vegetables when you add these protective structures to your plan.

Best Way To Plan A Vegetable Garden

Planning your garden will ensure you’ve got all the information you need to start your plants at the best time and give them the best chance of survival through the growing season. With good planning, some hard work, and a little help from Mother Nature, you can look forward to harvesting a bumper crop.

Best Way To Plan A Garden For Beginners

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