As the weather turns cooler, my mind begins to move to next year and all the preparations that need to be made. One of the things I love to do is plan out the farm beds for next year.
For me, I appreciate putting pencil to paper. I have a graph paper notebook where I keep all my farm notes and plans each year. I review what I grew this year, make a list of the flowers and foliage that I want to grow next year, draw a diagram of the beds that I use, and then fill in the diagram.
As I am filling in what I will grow, I make sure to rotate crops, take into account bed space and size, and keep in mind succession planting. I will expound on crop rotation and succession planting in the next few weeks.
First, a look at my notebook and the map I make.
In the past, I have made 2-3 maps of the farm per year that represent each planting in spring, summer, and fall. For example, in one flower bed, my spring diagram might show ranunculus, summer would have zinnias, and the fall diagram would show snapdragons as a hardy annual.
For 2023, I am choosing to put everything on one diagram that is labeled to show all the different flowers that will be planted in each season.
One of the best things about making a farm map each year is being able to look back and know where certain flowers were planted. I don't have to rely on my memory, and I can see what worked well and what may need to change in future years. This helps with crop rotation and interplanting for next year.
The map helps me figure out how many seeds I need to plant of each kind of flower and how much space I have for succession planting. Once I know what flowers are going in specific beds, I figure out plant spacing and can calculate how many seedlings will be planted in that size bed. From there, I can figure out how many seeds to start. If I am succession planting, I will fill 1/2 to 1/3 of the bed and go back in with another planting later in the season.
After calculating the quantity of seeds I will need, I can take stock of the seeds I already have and know what seeds I need to order for next year. I review the flowers I want to grow again, add new varieties to fill any holes, and see what seeds are leftover from this past growing year. Then, I am able to purchase seeds for what I need. My goal is to not have too much seed leftover, to not have waste.
Making a map can apply to a farm or to a garden. Do you grow mostly perennials around your home or do you supplement with annuals each year? Do you have a home garden that you fill with flowers? Make a map of your yard or garden so that you can see where you have placed flowers and plants each year. Keep notes of how these plants have done and dream about next year. Dreaming about next year's garden is one of the best parts of growing flowers.
This post is a part of a series on planning your garden space for next year. Check out the other posts in this series.