3 Steps to Make a Garden Map

In my post about the Top 6 Gardening Mistakes from our First Year, I mentioned that there was no plan for our garden at all. When it came time to plant the plants our seeds, we just said “this looks like a good spot.”  This was definitely something I wanted to change this year, so I decided to make a garden map.
3 Steps to Make a Garden Map
Updated Garden Map
Here are the steps I used to make my garden map.
3 Steps to Make a Garden Map

Step 1: Measure the garden area

I didn’t measure the garden when I made the garden map that I included in my last post. Instead, I looked up our house on Google Maps and printed out a picture of the garden area. I then measured the picture with a ruler and made a rough map based on that. But I knew that I needed to measure the garden for real, so I finally wandered out to the garden with a measuring tape a few days ago. Since my measuring tape was only 16 feet long, it’s still not accurate down to the inch. But I realized that while I was pretty close in my estimate of how wide the garden was, I was way off when it came to how long.
Step 2: Decide what to plant
I have also previously mentioned that I made an Excel spreadsheet for the garden. The spreadsheet included everything I wanted to plant in the garden. This included things that I wanted to plant over the long term. I learned my lesson last year about going too big too quickly, so we won’t be planting everything on the list this year. But as we get the hang of this whole gardening thing, I’m sure we will be adding more variety as the years go by.
This year we are going to plant corn, 3 types of tomatoes, jalapenos, bell peppers, potatoes, sweet potatoes, 3 types of onions, cucumbers, zucchini, broccoli, sweet peas, green beans, pumpkins, and watermelon.
Step 3: Decide where you want to plant things
This sounds super simple, but to be honest it was actually the hardest part of planning the garden. I recently found some information on companion planting, which is defined as “the close planting of different plants that enhance each other’s growth or protect each other from pests.”While I discovered that some plants do better together, I also learned that some plants do really poorly together.
For example, tomatoes and potatoes are bad companions. When I read that a light bulb went off in my head. While our tomatoes did really well last year, our potatoes did not. Most of them were pretty tiny and we didn’t end up with very many. I was unsure why this had happened, and had been previously blaming it on the fact that the weeds had gotten out of control. But guess what? The tomatoes and potatoes were planted right next to each other. It suddenly made sense.
When I started planning out our garden map, I tried to keep bad companions away from each other, like tomatoes away from the potatoes and corn. I’m sure my map isn’t perfect, but I’m hoping there will be enough space between everything that none of the plants will end up with stunted growth.

Hopefully these steps will help you make a garden map of your own. Good luck!

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