Planning a first garden plot can seem like a large task, but broken down into steps it is quite doable in an afternoon. The most important things to remember are how much room you have and what you and your family like to eat. Even if you have never grown anything in a garden before, some basic planning and a little bit of research can result in a manageable garden plot that will supply you with vegetables all summer long.
List all the vegetables that you and your family like to eat regularly. You can try to grow dozens of types of foods, but if this is your first garden stick to the most common types that you eat at least once a week. Choose 6 to 10 kinds of vegetables to start with.
Study seed catalogs to get an idea of how each vegetable will grow. Most reputable catalogs will tell you how far apart each plant must be placed, whether it grows on a bush or on a vine, how tall the plant will eventually be and how long it takes before you can harvest any vegetables to eat. Take notes about the general characteristics on each vegetable that you want to grow.
Decide how much land you are willing to devote to your garden plot. Don't skimp on the size of the garden, but keep it to a reasonable amount of the yard.
Draw a sample garden plot on paper, using a scale for which 1 inch is the equivalent of 1 foot of garden space. Draw lines on the plot in a grid design, marking out the entire plot in square-foot areas.
Using your notes on your plant characteristics, decide how many of each type of plant can be planted in each square foot of ground. Depending on how large the plants are and how much your family likes each vegetable, decide how much of the garden to devote to each variety.
Draw darker lines on the grid to separate the portions of the garden devoted to each vegetable. Mark a dot in each grid to show where each plant is to be planted. If it helps you read your plan, use colored pencils to show different areas for each plant.