How I Choose What to Grow in My Vegetable Garden

4 Materials
1 Hour

It's veggie garden planning time! Here's how I choose what crops to grow in my vegetable garden. For years I was buying too many different seeds, trying plants that don't suit the local climate, and growing vegetables I don't even like to eat. Now I know how important it is to start with a plan (and stick to it!).

To get started planning your garden, download your free printable garden planner. It'll help you through all the steps of garden planning (even if you've never had a vegetable garden before). You're also very welcome to follow my Pinterest Board "Growing Organic Vegetables". That's where I share my favourite crops to grow and tips for growing the healthiest plants!
Step 1: What grows well in your area?

One of the first steps when deciding what to grow is figure out your local climate zone. If you don't know your growing zone, check my blog (link below) for a detailed article on finding your local growing zone. Once you know your zone, search online and make a list of veggies that grow well in your climate.
Step 2: What veggies does your household eat?

Make a second list, of the veggies your household eats. In my household, this includes the kale we put in our smoothies, the tomatoes I use for making salsa and pasta sauce, and the culinary herbs I love to cook with.

Once you have a general idea of what grows well in your area and what you generally eat, you can match up the two lists to choose what to grow in your garden. Create a new list of your favourites that both grow well in your area and you like to eat. Visualize what these crops might look like in your garden space.
Step 3: What characteristics should these veggies have?

For each veggie, think about what you're looking for. For instance, if your goal includes growing enough tomatoes to make 52 cans of tomato sauce, you’ll want to grow a prolific paste tomato that produces a ton of tomatoes which also taste amazing in sauce.

Step 4: Shop for Seeds (and complete your crop list)

Once you know what you're looking for, it's time to shop for seeds! You can find seeds at a local seed library, seed swap, or from seed companies. Check my blog for more details on each of these seed sources.

After you've found the right seeds for your garden, complete your crop list by adding detailed info for each type of seed. This table will help you organize these seeds into the proper order for seed starting.

Resources for this project:

Printable Garden Planner
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Home for the Harvest | Mary Jane Duford

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


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2 of 4 comments
  • Nadine Hartman Bourne
    on Mar 29, 2018

    I've learned the hard way that not everything grown in summer. Lettuce for example I planted in April one year I was looking for a summer full of salads. By June my lettuce bolted and went to seed. I had no clue lettuce was a cool weather crop. end of summer is when you should plant things like cauliflower, broccoli, lettuce, peas and winter squash. don't forget to save your seeds. If you bought heirloom seeds when those plants make seeds collect them to use next year. Don't bother with hybrid seeds you won't get the same plant. so like if you plant carrots leave a few still growing and let them flower and go to seed. somethings you can get free seeds for. for instance if you like acorn squash when you cut one open save the seeds to plant in your garden. It doesn't work with bell peppers those are usually hybrid. And with your kale you don't have to cut the whole plant, just daily snip off the leaves you need and the plant will keep growing. one of my stalks was about 8 feet long before it froze and died. you can do that with most of the leafy veggies. I do it with swiss chard too. That I have growing where ever the seeds landed when I pulled the plants, some are in the middle of the grass area. Oops LOL

  • Renee Labrenz
    on Mar 29, 2018

    Very practical, thank you. I like Pinetree Garden Seeds too. Smaller quantities of seed (so less expensive) and unusual and heirloom types. Very customer service oriented company.

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