Is this the year you’re going to get on top of your plans and make garden goals? It doesn’t take long to sit down with a notebook and set intentions for the year.
I highly recommend putting in a little bit of time to set the direction of your season.
If you’re like me, you might be a spontaneous type of gardener. Every year I choose seeds that feel like they’ll be fun to grow. I get a bunch of hectic starts in, fill in the gaps with seedlings from the nursery, and keep popping plants in different spots until my beds are full.
Maybe you’re more organized, and already have recorded ideas about what you will grow, and where you will put it.
Whatever your style, taking a moment to make garden goals that reflect your gardening dreams will contribute to a successful season and all the joy that gardening can bring us.
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How to Make Garden Goals
Examine your “why”
Before you make garden goals you will want to spend a few minutes defining the reason you garden.
Think about your space at the peak of the season. What emotions and benefits come to the front of your mind?
Use a page and jot down all the practical and emotional responses you might have if you were asked what it is that inspires you exercise your green thumb.
If you imagine filling your basket for dinner you want to prioritize growing kitchen vegetables. Do you love clearing weeds and moving compost? You may want a plot that gets you moving and gives you some nature therapy. Perhaps you picture beautiful vases of fresh bouquets and neat rows of flowers; your goals will reflect this.
There is no wrong answer! Whatever motivates you is the best reason to get growing. Most likely, you will make garden goals that address a combination of intentions.
Here are a few things that might come to mind as you make garden goals:
- Growing a significant portion of your own produce
- Creating a garden that brings beauty into your life
- Finding a way to interact with the natural world
- As a form of stress relief and to complete satisfying physical work
- Creating a setting to interact with others, likely family members
- Promoting sustainability and reducing carbon footpring
- Improving your own food security
- Increasing the value of your property
- Staying active and/or mentally engaged
Examine your infrastructure
Infrastructure is not the most exciting part of gardening for most of us.
I’m expanding my growing space this year as I transition away from my old garden plot. Therefore, most of my goals have to do with garden infrastructure.
You might be well-established and have all your needs met. If that’s the case, you can breeze through this section as you make garden goals and carry on to something that might be more fun.
Infrastructure plans are usually semi-permanent, which can make the whole thing a bit intimidating. It can also use up the bulk of a gardening budget.
Nonetheless, without good infrastructure you’re garden will never meet its potential.
Here are infrastructure items to consider as you work through your goals:
- Garden beds or plots (Read: Establishing a Garden: Building up the Beds)
- Layout and growing techniques
- Shade and full-sun areas
- Pest management
- Water systems
- Composting system (Read: Easiest compost method ever)
- Gardening tools
- Attractive features (benches, gates, gazebos, birdhouses)
- Sheds and storage
- Raised beds
- Growing tunnels/bed covers
- Seed start systems
- Wash station/gardening table
Make garden goals around organization
Of course, as you make garden goals you’re already on your way to conquering garden organization.
When I go into a garden season without planning I commit loads of mental energy to keeping track of things, and I do so inefficiently.
I like to have a blank space where I can sketch my garden plots and roughly mark down each plant and variety. It’s a simple way to get a quick reference down that will be beneficial throughout this year and the next.
I have included a perfect grid for this in my Garden Goals Workbook, which is available to my email subscribers. Please join my list using the form below to get this great resource
Some things to consider as you make organization garden goals:
- Paper system to keep track, such as log or garden journal
- Your garden budget
- Companion planting guide
- Crop rotation
- Soil testing records
- Inventory of produce
- Seed organization
- Calendar of start and harvest dates (Read: How to Calculate When to Plant Seeds)
Perennials, trees, and shrubs
Some of these items will last the life of your garden, and are worth considering carefully.
Trees and, to a lesser extent, bushes will need a little more caution. Permanent landscape or food-producing plants can add a lot of value and beauty to your garden. I’m a firm fan of investing in long-lasting plants as early as possible. However, you will want to have a large-picture view of your space before diving in too deep.
Some plants to keep in mind as you make long-term goals:
- Fruit trees
- Other landscape feature trees (maples, cedars, oak, etc.)
- Berry bushes, shrubs, and canes
- Living fences
- bulb flowers
- Strawberry plants (You’ll want to move these every few years.)
- Perennial or self-seeding herbs
Produce and planting goals
As you set gardening goals in the area you will work closely with your organization.
As you decide on your produce and plant goals you will also want to think back to your “why,” and also look back to your experience with previous years.
What have you grown before that you’d like more of? Is there something you’ll eliminate entirely this year? How did you use or benefit from your garden in the past?
Think on these questions, and then decide how to set garden goals that will fit into what you want to achieve with your quality and quantity of produce and plants.
Things to think about regarding produce and plants:
- Plants you want to include
- Varieties you’ll choose, and why
- Shade and sunlight areas
- Amount of each type
- Room required: Calculate spacing
- Starting from seed vs. buying starts
- How much you will preserve and use fresh
It’s so easy to drop off from exhaustion at the end of the gardening season. There are still mounds of produce to deal with, the beds are dead and boring, and you’re just ready for a cup of tea.
However, it’s still important to make garden goals for the end of season.
Trust me. Your future self will be grateful. Think of that fresh-eyed next-year you who is excited when the peppers pop up.
End-of-year goals to make
- Harvest any remaining fruit or flowers
- Put the beds to bed
- Bring potted plants inside
- Consider indoor growing, such as microgreens
- Succession and seasonal planting (for warm climates)
- Drain and store water systems
- Save seeds
- Record, reflect, and review
Ready to make garden goals?
All that’s left is to grab a notebook, my free garden goals workbook, a coffee, and get get to work. (Sign up in the form below to get this workbook that I’ve made especially for readers of this post!)
I’d love to hear your goals! Let me know in the comments below.
Did I miss something important to think about when you make garden goals?