You may be thinking, “Garden planning in winter??” And to that, I say, YES!

You really need to start planning well in advance. Farmers are always *on* with their crops and rotations. The newbie city or rural farmer needs to stay on top of things as well. We live on about 1 acre on a mountain on the East Coast of the U.S. We started a small garden a couple of years ago. I am certainly not a professional Gardener, but I have learned a lot through trial and error!

I’d love to share my tips and tricks that I’ve picked up along the way, as well as share what I have success growing, and what I don’t.

Our soil here is very, very rocky. For the best possible outcome, we have to do raised garden beds using fill dirt, old potting soil, and mulch. My husband is very handy and loves to build things, so he put together 6 raised beds. They’re about 4 ft by 7 ft.

Here are a few tips that I highly recommend you take into consideration when planting your own garden:

  1. Plant smart-Not all crops can be planted next to one another. Please do your homework and make sure your plants are compatible! Onions cannot be placed next to beans or peas. Tomatoes cannot be placed next to potatoes or cabbage. etc.
  2. Pest deterrent-There is nothing worse than watching your garden begin to take shape, and then finding damage to the leaves and fruit. There are many safe and natural options, like my personal favorite, Marigolds!, that will deter many pests from the garden.
  3. Be diligent-There are some easy crops, but most need TLC. We live in an area that has frosts that drag into late Spring. This can ruin all of your hard work! We start our seeds/seedlings in a greenhouse or in our house early in the year and wait to transplant to the garden until the threat of frost has passed.
  4. Rotate each year-This was something I had NO clue about until I started really researching how to set up my garden. For the best results, you should not plant the same plants in the same spots every year, you should be rotating your crops. I find it’s best to make a garden plan each year and keep it on file so you remember where everything was the previous 2-3 years. Keep things moving.

Those are the big ones that I wish I knew from the very beginning. I’ll add more as I go!

I have successfully grown lettuce, spinach, watermelon, cucumber, yellow squash, tomatoes, bell peppers, garden beans, and carrots. I also had a good deal of dill and basil. I did not have much luck with onions, garlic, thyme, oregano or strawberries. This year’s garden plan is under way, and I will share it in a future post!

For some great gardening tips and ideas-please check out some pins I’ve collected on Pinterest!