Garden Planning Basics

Design Basics

When you start your garden, there’s a lot more than just grabbing seeds at the store. Consider just how much produce you can (or will) use, the size of the plot, what tools are available, the correct planting dates, and the area mature plant will require.

FlowerPartNamesPlanning ahead results in a more productive harvest and much more satisfying gardening experience. So, let’s look closer at some of these points.

How Much Chard Can You Eat?

Realistic expectations from your garden are essential when planning your a garden. Weather, varieties you select, the weather – all have an affect on production. Even with the unknowns and variables, a fairly large family can grow enough produce for themselves throughout the growing season – and Camarillo’s growing season is virtually year-round. Our Mediterranean climate allow you to have vegetables for the table in some quantities 12 months of the year. Now is always the correct time to start your garden.

If you are a beginning gardener, start slowly. If you plant too large a garden, or plan very intricate succession plantings, you may become discouraged by the work involved, by weather or other circumstances. Plan larger gardens as your gardening skills grow.

Cultivation And Weeding

Keeping weeds out of your garden is easy in a small garden plot such as we have. The ground is soft, rich, fluffy and topped by a rich layer of mulch –  weeds pull easily. Some hand tools, such as trowels and weeders, will let you work around fairly closely spaced plants. You can plant in wider beds laid out in grids or in straight rows, but remember you will need to reach every part of the garden, so make reasonably sized beds.

Cultivation, or regular turning of the soil, is not needed, and may in fact harm the structure of the soil. Double digging and other extreme measures are only needed when the garden is first established.

Turning the soil is only needed when you add compost into the soil. You can get the same ultimate result by simply turning the compost into the top couple of inches of the ground and letting the earthworms and other soil life incorporate into the soil for you.

We encourage the use of drip irrigation systems and mulch. Using these, you conserve water and you have far fewer weeds;  weeding is reduced to just an occasion weed to pull. Do not walk on the garden beds, especially when they are wet, as this compacts the soil.

Don’t crowd the plants in your garden! It’s a tempting to plant too plants in an area, especially when the plants are so small when you set them out. Look at the mature size of each veggie plant, and leave room for them to grow without crowding. Plants that are packed together are an invitation to pests to hide out and feed unmolested.

To maximize your yield and minimize the effort, consider creating raised planting beds. Raised beds have deeper, richer soil, are well drained and produce healthier plants and a higher yield. Kits and plans are available commercially, but they are quite easy to fabricate your salvaged materials.

Selecting Your Crops by Planting Dates

Consider the seasonal requirements of your vegetables and plan accordingly. Crops are generally considered to be either ‘cool’ or ‘warm’ season – this describing the best growth period. All catalogs will give you this information.

For a web page that has planting dates for veggies that grow best in Camarillo, see When to Plant Veggies.

Renee’s Garden Seeds has two free garden plans on-line that will give you some ideas of what your garden can contain. The are some cool online garden design software packages to help you draw up your garden. Look here to try GroVeg, the software I use. I have posted a review on this site with a video of the program in operation – check it out!

Also, remember that corn is much taller than tomatoes. When planting a taller crop, place it to the north of the shorter one so as not to shade the shorter plants.

While the work involved in gardening can be rewarding by itself, it’s certainly worth planning your labor expenditures. Working smarter, not harder, provides maximum gardening enjoyment.

Gardening is work, but it’s fun, too. It’s not often you can reap such a reward in such a short time. If you are a beginner and would like to learn more, visit my website. There’s a lot of info to help you as you grow into a great gardener. There you’ll also find other material on Recommended Vegetable Varieities, When to Plant Veggies, How to Install a Water-Saving Drip Irrigation System. Take a look at

Read the article: Weeds!



Mike was one of the founding members of the garden, author of this website and first chairman of the garden. Mike helped create the Antonio Garden which in turn has spawned more gardens throughout the county and across the country. The latest garden that used our model is in Iowa.
Mike Taylor is a best-selling author, Sr. Editor at Newswire, publisher, broadcaster, business strategist and coach. Mike works from Southern California offices and helps businesses and professionals across the country. Mike's work has been seen on major media sites including ABC, CBS, CNN, FOX, NBC, Yahoo Finance, the Sacramento Bee, the Wall Street Journal and Reuters as well as local TV and newspapers. Visit his Amazon author page here or connect on LinkedIn or Google+.

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