It’s hard to know exactly what vegetables we eat over a year. Planning our gardens each spring, we try to remember what worked last year, and what we needed more of, but we tend to rely on vague recollections a bit too heavily.
By following these few simple guidelines, you can get a better idea of what to grow, when to plant it, and how much to sow.
Grab the Data
For two weeks in the fall, write down every vegetable you eat. This list can be kept in the kitchen, close at hand (near the cutting board) to keep top of mind. At the end of the two weeks, you might be surprised! How many meals do you actually eat at home each week? How many of them include vegetables?
For us, it’s about growing not just vegetables, but family time in the garden and at the table.
Organize Your Veggies
Your next step is to organize your two-week inventory. What vegetables do you eat regularly? List them in a column on the left of a sheet of paper. These are “Vegetables We Eat.” Next, make two other columns: “Vegetables to Buy” and “Vegetables to Grow.”
To fill the first column, total the vegetables you eat each week and estimate how that extends out over the year. Some vegetables, you might find, are more staples. Others, more seasonal.
Organize Your Time
Few of us have the time and space to grow all our veggies. Prioritize which ones you will feel best about when you harvest them. Is it better to focus on your family’s staples – like peas, onions, potatoes, or beans? Or do you appreciate the rarer vegetables that get you excited for the seasons?
Reap What You Sow
By planning your garden based on your real wants and needs, you’ll know exactly what to plant. Instead of one garden plan, you might draw three, for the early, mid, and late planting seasons.
For us, it’s about growing not just vegetables, but family time in the garden and at the table. With this method, we found we can add a family project to the weekend that we can all talk about together, adding more fun to doing what we love.