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Garden Gardening Greenhouse

Spring garden planning layout

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

When I was a little girl, I spent my off-school days outside playing outside from morning until just after dark. I’d spend my days digging in dirt, climbing trees, painting rocks, making forts and generally just taking in the small pleasures of the world. It was like the Earth was calling to me to soak up all the sunshine-filled days and the rainy days alike.

Over the years, I grew away from the great outdoors. Pretty painted nails became more of a priority versus nails filled with dirt. Air conditioning gave me the best results for my hair and clean clothes smelled better than jeans stained with dirt.

However, as I grow older the Earth feels like it’s calling to me again. Something drove us to move here and a large part of that was the land and the promise of a large, beautiful garden built via hard work and dirty fingers.

Seeds gardening for honeybees book flowers

A year of learning

Last summer was tough. We were doing so much construction here at Sugar Maple Farmhouse that we didn’t get the garden in until almost July and it was much smaller than the one I had been dreaming of.

However, that may have been a blessing in disguise. I’ve found that I really need to sit with spaces – inside and out. My first instinct is to fill walls and garden beds but then after a month or two, I’m itching to redesign things to be more functional, simple or beautiful as I work through the design process.

That same idea applies to our garden.

With a year to sit on the space, I’ve now had time to think through all aspects of it – the current footprint and the future one. I’ve had a season to understand the issues we have here at Sugar Maple (Hello, tomato horn worms!) and a season to figure what will grow best and what will need a little more help.

All of that helped me to plan this year’s garden space and I’m so thrilled to be sharing it with you.

 

Garden Planning Layout Overview

Basically, we will be almost tripling our growing space this year. We have the space and we are going to take advantage of it as we expand and think about what we want to do with the rest of our land. This year we will also be adding a greenhouse, which I’ve been dreaming about for a long time, adding in fruit trees and growing cut flowers for the first time.

Garden space

Last year we had 12 garden beds (depicted in the blue/green color)  and this year we will be adding another 26 more beds! (yellow color) I hadn’t counted them until just now and that number seems a little bit overwhelming, but I know we will fill them.

This year, I plan on spreading out my nightshades (tomatoes, peppers, eggplants) more this year due to the issues we had with tomato hornworms last year. I may put one in each box and create a permaculture set up versus grouping them together in the same box. Also, I plan to keep a vigilant eye out for the worms early.

 

I also plan on moving my lettuces and leafy greens to the boxes behind the greenhouse. Last year they had too much light and too much heat. Our house sits in the northern part of the northern hemisphere and the garden gets beautiful overhead sun all spring and summer. It’s perfect for tomatoes, zucchini, corn, fruit trees, flowers and so much more but it’s a bit harsh for the greens. They all started bolting early in the season. I’m hoping the structure of the greenhouse will provide some cover for the greens this year.

 

Fruit trees

I’m so thrilled to be adding in fruit trees to the garden this year too. I’ve ordered several apple trees, a pear tree, a fig tree, a plum tree and will be purchasing some cherry trees locally. Most of the trees, especially the ones I ordered, will be much too small this year (and probably next year) to expect to see any fruit. Nevertheless, I’ve given them each a 4×4 space so that as they grow, they have enough space to spread out.

However, I’m hoping I can find local cherry trees that are large enough to produce a bit for us this season. You can see where I intend to put them on the garden planning layout above.

Here are the types I ordered:

  • 2 Wealthy Apple Trees
  • 3 Duke Blueberry Bushes
  • Italian Plum Tree
  • Chicago Hardy Fig Tree
  • Pink Pearl Apple Tree
  • Macintosh Apple Tree (Full disclosure: I didn’t really want this but needed a pollinator for the other apple trees.)
  • Shinseiki Pear Tree

 

Blueberries

I’ve ordered a handful of blueberry bushes this year, which grow especially well in the Western Michigan sandy soil. These should be large enough to produce this season. I can’t wait until the kids are able to eat the blueberries right off the bush. I just have to make sure I don’t have any little furry or feathered friends eating them too.

 

Cut flowers

This will be our first year growing cut flowers and I plan on using a technique found in Cut Flower Garden from Erin at Floret Flower farm. This consists of using landscapers fabric and sowing the flowers straight into the ground versus using boxes. Based on this technique, we should be able to maximize space and have fewer issues with weeds.They’re represented on the garden planning layout as the blue bars on the righthand side of the diagram.

I’ve ordered Dahlias, Zinnias, Ranunculus, Sweet peas, Poppies, Strawflower, Phlox, Yarrow and more. Some of the seeds have already arrived but I’m still waiting on the Tubers.

I ordered the flowers from Floret and Eden Gardens.

 

Greenhouse

We went back and forth on the greenhouse. Should we build one? Should we buy one? I finally decided to buy one because, while I like the idea of building one, it would have probably proved more costly for us at the end of the day.

I searched for a long time before deciding on the greenhouse I would buy. And then I looked and looked to find the best deal on it. I finally found that at Bettergreenhouses.com

Our greenhouse will be a 10×16 Colonial Greenhouse on the website. We ordered it about two weeks ago and I expect it to be shipped out sometime in the next week. Its Amish made and built when ordered. Here a photo of the same model as an 8×8.

 

If you want to order from Better Greenhouses, you can use the coupon code SUGARMAPLE50 to get $50 off an order over $1,000. The coupon code will also work at all of the company’s websites including:

Bettergreenhouses.com

Bettersheds.com

Betterchickencoops.com

Bettergazebos.com

 

Garden planning layout

To plan this year’s garden planning layout, I used graph paper as recommended in Cut Flower Garden. I’ve never planned that way before and I have to say that it has really helped me to organize and visualize the whole area in a way that allows me to see big picture.

You can find the paper I used here. It’s a large book so if you mess up a few times like I did, you have plenty of pieces of paper. 🙂

You can also find the book Planting for Honeybees that I used in my main image for the post right {HERE}.

To see more details and have me walk you through the whole garden plan, watch the video above!

Thank you so much for visiting today. I hope you’ll come back and check on our progress as we build the garden this season and continue to grow on our little farm.

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32 Comments

  1. Amber Myers

    I love this! You have a nice garden. I wish I could grow things but alas, I cannot. A fruit tree would be awesome.

  2. Brianne

    You have a great garden layout! I love all the raised beds separated like that. It makes is so much easier to control moisture and to take care of the beds, in general.

  3. Mimi

    I’d love to have a greenhouse, love the way you planned it

  4. cait

    oh my goodness i love this layout so much- i hope to have something similiar

  5. Tasheena

    Your layout is so pretty, I have to still work on my garden layout. Looking forward to start gardening.

  6. Marta

    GIRL!!! I am SO jealous of this garden space! I have a 5×3′ balcony and this is making me green with envy (no pun intended).

    • Rachel Quenzer

      Haha! One time that’s all I had too.

  7. Tara Pittman

    I would love to start a garden this year. This planning layout might just help motivate me.

  8. Jamie

    Great information!! Our oak trees here in the mountains of Arizona haven’t sprouted yet, so we’re still waiting on planning for the garden. I’m definitely going to save some of these tips, though!

  9. Fatima Torres

    I’ve been meaning to set up a greenhouse section in our yard. It would come in handy for our veggies.

  10. Marysa

    I love planning for spring and for my garden! Still too cold here, and now we have to deal with the quarantine, so at some point I’ll have to get brainstorming!

  11. Heather

    That greenhouse is AMAZING! I want one! I can’t wait until we move so we can start our garden.

  12. Gervin Khan

    Wow, all I want to say is you have a beautiful garden and I am so jealous about that. I wish that I have to make a garden.

  13. Lisa Joy Thompson

    I’d love to have a garden so that I could grow zucchini and spaghetti squash. We just moved to Florida in August and I need to figure out what will actually grow here and when to plant it.

  14. Catalina

    These are awesome tips! I think that those that have a little garden are very lucky nowadays. Thanks for sharing it!

  15. Mama Maggie's Kitchen

    Oh wow! I’ve been wanting to have a greenhouse. It’s really fun and satisfying. You really did a good job here.

  16. Toni

    These are really awesome tips! Thank you for sharing! I wish I could start my own garden soon.

  17. April Kitchens

    Your garden plans are beautiful! My mom has a garden every year and would love to see this post, I’m going to share it with her.

  18. Lisa Favre

    I am so excited for spring’s arrival and I absolutely can’t wait to start gardening. I’ve never really gardened before but this is the year I’ll start!

  19. Sarah Bailey

    What an amazing garden layout you are going to get some lovely things planted and growing in such a well laid out plan!

  20. Lynndee

    I bet your garden would look wonderful. I have a flower garden and I can’t wait to start cleaning and preparing it for spring. And that greenhouse is gorgeous. I want one.

    • Ranesha

      I’ve always wanted to plant a cpl fruit tress this post is my inspiration and motivation to get moving.

  21. Shayla

    It looks like it is going to be a beautiful garden! I miss gardening so much!

  22. Beth

    It looks like a wonderful garden! We are thinking about starting beekeeping, so I think I need to order that book.

  23. Natalie

    These are awesome tips. I will forward this to my brother. He has big beautiful garden. I help him sometimes so these tips will be helpful for both of us.

  24. Jenn

    Definitely lots more time for gardening while our school is closed. The kids are getting involved this time.

  25. I have gardening space I would love some help with. With all this time I can start planting

  26. Natalie

    yay! I have been looking for something like this! We are attempting to start our first garden this Spring and I have been trying to figure out how to draw out a plan of where everything is going.

  27. Swathi

    Yes I need to try working on gardening. These are really wonderful garden planning layout.

  28. Mommy Peach

    I wish I have a space for a garden! These are great gardening tips you got here.

  29. Flossie McCowald

    I love looking at your grids! My dad used to plot out his garden like that. Makes me think of him – my mama has scaled back quite a bit since he passed, but I swear she still grows enough to feed a small village!

  30. Jennifer Maune

    I am loving all of your layout ideas. especially for the cut flowers. The garden is going to be beautiful!

    -Jennifer


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