I know, I know, it’s only November of 2023 but now is the time to start planning your spring gardens! For us here in North Florida, we are lucky and can plant a few things through the winter as long as they are frost tolerant. But the first step to garden planning is knowing your gardening zone.
Know Your Garden Zone
Check out this handy map for your gardening zone: https://garden.org/nga/zipzone/2012/
Now visit this page and put in your zip code for lots of helpful info: https://garden.org/nga/zipzone/
The planting guide for your area is a great place to start. You also want to know your LAST and FIRST frost dates. These are important to know because they will help you plan when to start your starters, plant directly in the ground, and when to harvest.
For me, our first frost date is mid November and our last is mid March. So I know that I can old plant frost hardy/cold tolerant plants between November and March. Now I may be able to get some seeds in the ground in early March and by the time they’re up we’ll be past the chance of frost and as you keep gardening you will experiment more and get better at knowing your area and weather patterns.
Get Out Your Seed Catalog
Ok, so now I browse through the seed catalog and start to take note of the things I want to grow this year. I have some tried and true varieties that I know I can count on. I list a lot of them in this article: 7 Best Vegetables to Grow for Beginners. I choose to grow those year after year because I can rely on the harvest. But I also like to try new varieties and add new things in, like this year I am going to grow some melons. We have grown some watermelons in the past but I’d like to give it a real try this year. I also love to grow flowers and I’m always looking for new beauties to add to the garden.
As I browse the seed catalog I start to formulate my plan, it looks like this:
2024 Garden Planning
- Snap Peas
- Sweet Corn
- Green Beans
- Sweet Potatoes
Now remember, this is my planting plans, not harvesting. I have to remind myself to succession plant as well so that I don’t have thousands of one thing all at once AND so I have a longer season. The rule of thumb with succession planting is every 2 weeks.
I will also start some of these ahead of time and transplant into the garden.
You’ll also notice that I only go through June. Florida is so hot in July and August that I don’t put anything new in the ground. Sometimes I start fall planting in late August but I usually don’t start until September. And by then I have all new plans in my head so it doesn’t make a lot of sense for me personally to plan more 6 months out but depending on your growing season it may make sense for you to plan out your entire year.
I also didn’t include flowers in my plans because I tend to plant those as I go. I’m about to add new beds just for flowers in another area so maybe I’ll get more organized when I start that project!
Order Your Seeds
Now that I have my plans I go to Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds and start picking out the varieties I want. I do re-use seeds I have from past years and I’ve started to save my own too.
I used to sketch out my garden rows but then I’d change my mind once I got into the garden so I don’t do that anymore. I look at what’s already there and work my way in and around. Some years my garden is very organized and other years it looks a bit wild, but as long as you’re keeping weeds under control, getting harvests and it makes you happy, then it doesn’t really matter what it looks like!
What are you planning to grow in 2024? Is there anything you’ve been wanting to try? Tell us in the comments below. Happy Gardening!