How to Plan a Home Garden


Fresh fruits and vegetables from your own home garden certainly seem to taste better than those in the produce section of the grocery store. It's easier to control pesticides and fertilizers because you're the one applying them. More varieties are available to the home gardener. For example, you don't have to limit yourself to red tomatoes. Choose from pink, chocolate, yellow, orange and even green when ripe. Or grow gold, white and purple cauliflower.

Step 1

Pick a sunny location that receives a minimum of eight hours of sunlight. Although leafy greens and lettuces will grow in dappled shade, tomatoes, green peppers, beans and other veggies won't.

Step 2

Research your hardiness zone and the average last frost in spring and first frost in fall. That determines what types of vegetables and fruits will do well where you live. It doesn't make sense to plant a variety of watermelon that matures in 120 days when your growing season is less than 100 days.

Step 3

Select vegetables your family likes from a plant catalog. Kids see gardening as fun and are more liable to eat the vegetables they've helped to grow. But if they hate spinach, they probably won't eat it even if they planted it.

Step 4

Consider inter-planting. It's planting a fast maturing crop, like leaf lettuce, with a slow maturing crop, such as green beans, in the same rows. By the time the leaf lettuce is done producing, the beans are ready to pick. Other inter-planting methods are planting a crop like pole beans with corn. The beans use the corn as a support and add nitrogen to the soil. Corn is a heavy nitrogen feeder.

Step 5

Plant just enough for your family and a bit more. Some crops like summer squash are prolific. Plant enough but don't go overboard. There's not a lot you can do with an overabundance of veggies unless you plan on freezing or canning the excess.

Step 6

Rotate the crops from year to year. Even if your garden is small, don't always plant the same vegetables in the same spot. Peas, as well as beans, add nitrogen to the soil. Cucumbers are heavy feeders. One year plant the cucumbers where the beans used to be.

Step 7

Sketch out your garden on paper and plan what you will be planting where. Plan early spring, late spring and summer plantings. Notate on the plan what grew well and what didn't so you can make adjustments for the following year.

Tips and Warnings

  • Keep fertilizers away from children and pets.

Things You'll Need

  • Plant catalog


  • "The Country Garden"; Charlie Ryrie; 2003

Who Can Help

  • TheGardenHelper: How to Plant and Grow Your Own Vegetable Garden
Keywords: planning a garden, plan vegetable garden, home vegetable garden

About this Author

Katie Rosehill holds an MBA from Arizona State University. She began her writing career soon after college and has written website content and e-books. Her articles have appeared on, eHow, and GolfLinks. Favorite topics include personal finance - that MBA does come in handy sometimes - weddings and gardening.