Do you set vegetable gardening goals?
If you're like many gardeners, in the past you might have said your main motivation was simply to get outside and reconnect with nature. You'd dig in the dirt, plant some flowers, herbs, and vegetables.
Or maybe you enjoy gardening as a way to squeeze more physical activity into an otherwise hectic schedule. And it is true, growing a vegetable garden is a very relaxing way to accomplish these goals.
However, as the past few years have shown us, food shortages are a very real threat. And becoming more self-reliant is increasingly necessary.
Setting gardening goals to grow more vegetables takes planning. Especially, if like us, you are serious about increasing your family's food supply.
Read on to learn more about how to set vegetable gardening goals and grab your free vegetable garden planner down below.
Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
Set Gardening Goals in the Winter
Learning how to plan a garden for 2022 begins with setting your goals. And by the way, if you find you are short on space in your backyard garden, clearly defining these goals before you start planting will make it a lot easier to achieve them.
For example, if you want to reduce your monthly grocery bill throughout the year by preserving part of your harvest, you’ll need to figure out how much you can actually grow in the space you have available.
Even if you just want to grow enough so your family can enjoy fresh produce during the warmer months, you’ll still need to figure out how much to plant per person and how to make it work within your personal space and time constraints.
Some common gardening goals include:
- Learning to plant indoors
- Setting up grow lights
- Learning how to use compost in your garden
- Learn more about permaculture
- Seed saving
- Organic gardening
- Securing Your Family's Food Supply
- Herb gardening
- Gardening in an apartment
- Gardening in a cold climate
- Cold frames to extend your growing season
- Gardening with kids
Another benefit of setting your gardening goals during the winter means you should have some extra time to build, repurpose or source whatever supplies you might need to fulfill your goals.
For example, with proper planning, you can drastically lower the cost of your garden. And saving money wherever possible is one of the essentials to off-grid living.
Take stock of what materials you have around your property, like old barrels or vessels, old hoses, wood materials, compost, etc. Depending on what materials you have available, you may want to base some of your gardening goals around repurposing.
Find a way to make your own rain barrel and irrigation system to save on water costs over the summer, or to lower the burden on your well/water supply. Wood materials can be used to create cold-frame gardens, boxes, stakes, or even a pallet fence around your garden.
Take Stock of Your Personal Resources
In most cases, the amount of vegetables your garden produces will depend on the amount of resources you devote to it. Therefore, you’ll want to ask yourself the following questions:
- How much time do you have to work in your garden?
- How much space do you have available to plant?
- If you plan to preserve part of your harvest, where will you store it?
- What is your budget?
This last question is often overlooked, but it is very important because financial considerations will define your gardening goals. You'll need money to invest in seeds, seedlings, soil, tools, and other supplies.
Honest answers to all of these questions will ensure you don’t get in over your head or become discouraged before you’ve had a chance to see results. Defining and listing the gardening resources you have available upfront will allow you to set more achievable vegetable gardening goals.
Remember, it's always easier to overcome a challenge once you clearly define it.
Taking stock of your current situation can help you find creative solutions to potential challenges.
For example, perhaps you can overcome a small budget by swapping seeds with neighboring gardeners or online communities. If you are short on growing space, maybe you can take advantage of unused vertical space along a sunny wall or try repurposing old appliances into planters.
Another creative way to save money when building your garden is to build a simple cinder block garden. They might not be the prettiest, but they're cheap and effective!
Clearly Define Goals for Your Garden
Once you’ve developed a clear picture of what you have to work with, you can set realistic gardening goals.
Make a list of the fruits, vegetables, and herbs you use most in your cooking and highlight your most important “must-have” items. Next, you'll need to find out if everything on your list can be grown in your climate.
To find out what plants will thrive in your area, ask neighbors or local gardeners who will likely have decades of experience.
Another option is to use the USDA's Plant Hardiness Zone Map for our American readers, or the Canadian Plant Hardiness Zone Maps for us north of the border. These interactive maps will help you pinpoint exactly what plants will thrive in your garden, and help you set more specific gardening goals.
This will help you focus your resources on what matters most to you and will make it much easier if you decide to scale back your plans later.
Do you see? Setting vegetable gardening goals provides many benefits. Once you get a clear picture of what you’d like to get out of your vegetable garden, you’ll have a better idea of what you need.
And you can move on to the next step in planning your garden.