New Gardeners – Plans, Planting, Moving Forward

Last month we began a series for new and beginner gardeners; the first installment addressed gardening by starting small.

It’s my hope those seeking to establish a garden are excited to move forward without feeling intimidated. I’m assuming you’ve read my first post, your garden space is marked and you’re in the process of tilling soil or adding raised beds.  Visit these helpful posts to prep your new garden space.

Building Raised Beds – Building your own is a breeze; you just need a saw and drill.
Establishing a Raised Bed – If you have access to natural matter you will like this idea.
The Soil Recipe – Is your soil filled with clay? Don’t panic this recipe works.

Today I’m sharing the next three stages, beginning with making plans.

Making Plans

Making a plan will save you time and keep from wasting funds.  Use an inexpensive notebook, this will be a place where you can record your garden experience.  It’s a way to remember what worked, areas of improvement or how to expand.

Your first step for this garden will be simple because we’re starting small.  I’m going to imagine that you have two raised beds; each measures an 8 x 4 space.  They’re full of dirt and you’re wondering what you should plant.  My question is simple.  “What do you like to eat?”

I highly recommend growing food you like to eat.  In my family everybody likes broccoli so you can bet this will be something I want to add in quantities.

I cook with fresh herbs so I make sure to have space available for my favorites, basil, oregano, parsley and thyme.

Lettuce is another favorite but I’m the only one who eats it so I plant a small amount.  If you’re not sure what everybody likes to eat have a family gathering and talk about it.  This discussion might spark interest and excitement which can be helpful later on.

Once you have the food list the next step is to purchase seeds; I recommend heirlooms. Begin with five or six favorites from your list.  This will allow you to have a nice variety when harvesting arrives.

Seeds can be purchased as local nurseries or online.  I like Mary’s Heirloom seeds, Burpee is a good source, Territorial Seeds, White Oak Valley Farm, and there are many companies available who offer heirloom seeds.

Do a search to see if you have a local source in your area, seeds that are native are a good choice because they’re acclimated.


When your seeds arrive, the soil will be ready to plant.  You can start seeds indoors or do direct seed. This is when you plant the seed in the ground and let germination begin; this can save time.

Last year I did a blog post on making paper pots for starting seeds,  I used these pots for my smaller seeds.

Before you can plant outdoors check the freeze dates in your area; the Farmer’s Almanac is a helpful resource.  Once the freeze is no longer a concern go ahead and follow the directions on the seed pack and get planting.  I like to plant in 4 ft. rows and then label with stakes so I remember what I planted.

Moving Forward

If the garden is planted it’s time to pat yourself on the back.  Moving forward is about caring for your little garden.  This doesn’t need to be a daily attendance.

This time of year watering is based on when needed; we’re in our wet season so hopefully you won’t have to water much in the beginning.  Weeding will be the next thing but not something I do until needed; weeding is a breeze after it rains.

Plans, planting and moving forward is all important just remember to break it down in sections. Gardening is a process; it takes time to cultivate something wonderful.

New Gardeners Plans Planting and Moving Forward


  1. Amanda Smith says:

    I've got to write down our garden plans this year. We have to replace several old shrubs and a dead honeysuckle, plus plan our vegetable garden. I need to focus on those things first and hold off an anything else because of finances. I'm thinking about replacing the shrubs with small blueberry bushes. Why plant more shrubs when I can plant food that happens to be a shrub/bush.

    1. I completely agree edible shrubs is a much better idea. Just remember they'll look like sticks in the winter. Check out my Home and Garden Page you might find some neat ideas that will help with your budget. We raised our family on one income, budgeting was my middle name. Kidding but I get where you're coming from. Remember with the blueberries you can start new bushes from cuttings. Which will help stretch your progress. Hope you have a great weekend. -Carole

  2. I'm totally a beginner gardener and this is super helpful to me! I'm so excited to have found your blog!

    1. Fantastic and how exciting you decided to start gardening. I've got another post that I wrote for beginners. Make sure you check out my home and garden page – you'll find lots of helpful and fun articles there. Also know I love questions. Have a Great day! -Carole

  3. Brittany says:

    So helpful! This is the first year we are planting a garden and we are very excited! We actually tried a fall garden (we live in San Diego) and that didn't work out. So this spring we have bought some veggies that are already started but also trying our hand at sprouting seeds. I already pinned this so I can come back tonight and read more of your beginners series! Thanks!

    1. Hello Brittany – so glad you stopped by and found this information helpful. I love that you purchased veggies that are already started, this was a smart move for new gardeners because it helps build confidence. Try direct seed and see what you think, in conjunction with starting in seed starters. I love it that is how we always planted our garden growing up. If I can answer any questions please feel welcome to ask. -Carole

    2. Brittany says:

      Thanks Carole! I actually am visiting from over at and I am going to be doing a post roundup about beginning gardening tips. I would love to feature one of your posts! Would that be okay with you? If so, would it be okay to use one of the images from your post? Of coarse I will be leaving a link directly back to your post!

    3. Sounds great – Let me know when you publish and send me the link so I can pass it out to others.

    4. Brittany says:

      Thanks Carole! I am really excited to learn more from you! The post will be live on Monday but I will remind you and tag you on Facebook! Thanks again!

  4. daisy g says:

    Good solid advice for newbies! We also LOVE broccoli and have a forest of it growing right now. So glad you stopped by The Maple Hill Hop! Have a lovely day!

  5. Gentle Joy says:

    Good ideas and advice…. gardens are so beneficial to the family. 🙂

  6. Joy Mooiweer says:

    Great tips! We still have about 5 feet of snow on the ground, but I enjoy reading about other's gardens during this time. Thanks for sharing at What'd You Do This Weekend? I hope you will join us again this Monday!

    1. That's a fun link up – glad I found it. Hope that snow melts soon – this is a good time of year to plan and see what others are doing. I got a chance to work in my garden today, lot's of work ahead of me in the next few weeks. -Carole

  7. Great post. Pinned and tweeted. We are so thrilled to have you at our party. Please stop by on Monday at 7, so we can see your amazing projects. Lou Lou Girls

  8. Hello beautiful! I’m stopping by to let you know that your garden plans was Cassie's favorite from our last party. Happy dance time! We will be featuring it tonight’s party at 7. I hope to see you there! Lou Lou Girls

    1. Thanks so much for the feature – What an honor. I will be there sharing and will make sure link up that post to the parrty. -Carole

  9. Great gardening tips and very well explained. We are still too cold here on Long Island to start gardening but the temperatures should warm up soon…can't wait to get the hands into the soil again! It is a good time for planning though! Happy spring!

    1. I hope it warms up soon for you. It's been nice here this week and we finally got a break from all our rain which helps. The ground is still pretty muddy here, I'm doing some transplanting but no actually planting yet. Thanks for stopping by hope to hear from you again. -Carole

  10. Hi Carol, thanks for sharing the new garden plan at my last party, great tips,

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