Free Garden Planner Printable for Beginners

Download your free garden planner printable template for Canva! Fully customizable and updated for 2024!

garden planner

Download your free Garden Planner Printable and keep reading below for step-by-step instructions how to plan your beginner garden!

This printable planner template is fully customizable! You can change colors, fonts, and the front image- or print it exactly how it is!

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    How to Plan Your Beginner Garden

    Whether you are a first-time gardener or a seasoned expert, taking time to plan your own garden can keep your organized for a relatively stress-free growing season. Keeping track of things now can make or break the success of your garden year so you don’t miss any important planting dates! The best time to start garden planning is right now!

    Download your free printable planner and plan alongside me. You can also fill out the planner on Canva and print the completed version.

    1. Decide goals for the garden (Why are you doing this?).
    2. Learn about your garden zone.
    3. Determine your garden type.
    4. Assess your garden soil.
    5. Are there any big projects you are planning for the garden this year?
    6. Take inventory of your seeds.
    7. Choose what you want to plant and make notes on each item’s individual worksheet.
    8. Get to shopping!
    9. Design your garden around the space you have and what you plan to grow.
    10. Make a year-long planting schedule and to-do list with the basics so you can plan ahead.
    11. Get to gardening!

    Garden Planning Using The Free Garden Planner Printable

    1. Set Garden Goals

    Goal making is so personal to where you are on your garden planning journey. I am starting from (almost) the very beginning here. Honestly, my main goal is to not kill everything.

    Start planning your garden early to create the best chance for success.

    Whether your goals are broad like mine or more specific, try to look back on them several times throughout the garden season to help remember your “why” when things get tough!

    gardening goals

    2. Learn Your Garden Zone

    If you are in the U.S., it is very easy to determine your garden zone by entering your zip code into the Garden.org USDA Plant Hardiness Zone finder.

    Garden Zone Map | USDA Click to See Full Version

    Here in lower Alabama, I am in Zone 8B. That’s great and all, but what does this mean?

    Your garden zone will tell you the climate of your area. For a beginner like me, I am just looking at this to see when I need to start growing things. Garden.org is amazing in that it tells you exactly what time of year to start planting each crop in your area, whether you are starting seeds inside or direct sowing into the ground.

    Gardening is obviously not a one-size-fits-all all kind of thing. I looked up my mom’s garden zone in Ohio, and she would start planting crops a full month after me!

    garden zone and basic information

    3. Garden Type

    There are many garden types (crop rows, English cottage, zen, the list goes on and on). Take this fun quiz on howstuffworks.com to help determine your garden style!

    The potager style is the perfect choice for any beginner gardener with a small garden size.

    What is a potager (poe-ta-jay) garden?

    A potager garden is perfect for beginners. It’s a French-style of planting that combines function with aesthetics. It is also known as a kitchen garden, providing fruits, veggies, herbs, and flowers, right outside your kitchen door (and looking pretty while producing).

    This is perfect for those of us who do not have a giant space to garden, but want to make full use of the space we do have. I am a military spouse living in a rental house, so I need to keep this garden small, simple, and productive.

    Potager Principles

    • Beauty
    • Function and Production
    • Structure
    • Access

    You can create a potager in many styles, but I chose to build a raised bed garden. I also have free raised bed build plans if you need them!

    Keep it simple. A potager garden is supposed to be simple. Plant only what you love and will eat. You do not need to plant enough for the whole neighborhood either. This small space should work for you, don’t create something that will completely overwhelm you.

    4. Assess your Garden Soil

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    Soil Prepping and Compost

    If you already have garden beds in place, now is the time to test your soil and start amending. I do not have beds yet, so you will already be a step ahead of me! You can get a simple soil test off Amazon.

    If you are a beginner, you can bring your results to your local nursery or garden center and they will tell you what you need to buy to amend your soil.

    I started my first ever compost this two years ago using a backyard compost tumbler. It has been so easy!

    If you haven’t already started your compost, today is the best day to start. It does take a while to get started, so plan well in advance if you want to use your own compost.

    big gardening projects

    5. Decide Big Projects for This Gardening Season

    If this is your first ever gardening season, you may have some big projects ahead! Two years ago, we built our own raised beds and they are still looking great!

    Raised Garden Beds

    Raised beds are perfect for the beginner gardener. They have less weeds, better water retention, you can use the soil of your choosing, plus they are higher up so they are less harsh on your back when gardening.

    Check out my free printable garden bed plans! You can always adjust the sizing based on the square footage you have available.

    6. Take Inventory of your Seeds

    Taking a seed inventory before you begin planning and shopping will allow you to be sure you are not buying what you already own and take an honest stock of what you actually used the past year.

    garden seed inventory

    In addition to the seed inventory, you can take a plant inventory of any perennial plants that will be popping back up in the spring.

    7. Picking Your Plantings

    Now it is officially time to decide what you are planting. I have divided the planner into three sections (herbs, flowers, and vegetables). You can first list out what you want to plan from each category. Once you decide, you can go a step further and make a page for each specific item you are planting.

    You can print as many of these planning sheets as you need for each herb, flower, and vegetable you will be planting. Organize them in your planner by plant date (the ones that need planted first should be first in line).

    Determine how much food you want to grow for your family, and decide if you want to give away or sell any excess.

    Common beginner mistakes are planting too much that they cannot consume the abundance, and planting the wrong things. Sure, some things in the catalogs look dreamy, but be sure to only plant things you will actually use and enjoy!

    Planting From Seed vs. Plant Starts

    You need to decide if you are planting each of these items from seed, or starting them from an already established plant. Planting from seed requires more effort and advanced planning, but it is still a desirable method for several reasons.

    I am choosing to plant from seed for three reasons:

    Planting From Seed:

    1. Allows you to plant the exact varieties that you want, as there usually is not as much selection from your local big box store.
    2. Allows you to plant for sustainably, or organic if desired.
    3. Is cheaper than buying a bunch of plants that someone else already put labor into.

    If you have never started plants from seed, check out these Simple Seed Starting Tips and Tricks!

    When looking at seed packets, take note of the plant name, the time of year you must plant, the germination rate, and square footage needed.

    spread of free printable garden planner

    8. Shopping for Garden Seeds

    Now that we have a plan, it’s time to shop! Use the convenient shopping list in the free printable to see what you still need to buy for this season.

    Seed Catalog Season

    It may seem too early to be dreaming of your garden when you have snow on the ground, but late fall and winter planning will give you a leg up in the new year!

    Many companies also have holiday sales! I purchased most of my seeds from on a Black Friday Sale.

    If you start planning early, you can order seed catalogs in the late fall so you can slowly choose the varieties you wish to plant. The major companies will come up with beautiful seed catalogs for you to browse while dreaming of the growing season.

    Baker Creek and Johnny’s Selected Seeds have excellent free catalogs.

    9. Design Your Garden

    Based on your chosen garden type, the space you have, and your chosen plantings, you can begin your garden design.

    This garden grid will allow you to be realistic about the amount of space you have and work on creating the best garden layout to maximize your space.

    Companion Planting

    During planning, consider companion planting. Every plant has companion plants, or plants that compliment or enhance their ability to grow. There are also things to avoid planting next to each other! Do a little research on each of your plants and see if any of them can benefit from other plants you plan to grow in your garden.

    grid with drawing of garden plan

    Print as many of these pages as needed to plan your entire garden. You can even plan where you are planting each item in each bed (which can help you remember what is what later on… which can be helpful, from experience).

    10. Create a Month-by-Month To-Do List

    After all that garden planning, we can see that there is a lot to do! Use the monthly planner to lay out the basics of projects, planting, harvesting, fertilizing, or anything else you don’t want to forget.

    After the to-do list, you can break it down even further and plan which month you plan to start each seed, sow it in the ground, and harvest.

    garden planner to do

    11. Start Gardening!

    Now the fun begins! You can check out what I planted last year in Zone 8B for inspiration!

    Use the notes for next year’s section as a mini garden journal so you don’t make the same mistakes twice.

    Using Your Free Garden Planner Printable

    Now that you kind of know what to do, print your free garden planner below.

    I always update from my garden on Instagram throughout the year and I would love for you to tag me and use #thehomesteadchallenge in any projects you take on as a beginner homesteader!

    Subscribe for Your 2024 Garden Planner Canva Template

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      This printable garden planner is for personal use only. Please don’t customize and sell.

      You can print this planner and bind in a 3 ring binder to use throughout the entire year. Because it is customizable, you can use it for future years as well!

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      About the Author:

      I’m Brittany, totally modern and mainstream turned crunchy mama!

      Read more here about how I went from a totally incompetent cook and hyper-consumer to striving to live a more meaningful life from scratch.

      I can’t wait to share my modern homesteading journey with you and I hope I inspire you to join along!

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      1. This is an amazing post with such great information! I love an organized plan to tackle gardening and you’ve done just that!

      2. I love the printable! It’s so in-depth, it’ll be very helpful for my husband next year. I kill all the things I grow, so he’s our master gardener 🙂

        1. Haha I feel you! My husband is going to build the beds and then it’s all up to me! I am great at indoor houseplants but I tend to kill every single herb I’ve ever tried to grow. This should be interesting.

      3. This is such a great post especially to get people started! You really thought of everything. And I love all your free printables.

      4. What a great post! It’s true that you need to be thinking about this stuff now, and getting prepared for the coming season. Love all of the excellent information you’ve provided here.

      5. Wonderful information and step by step process to start gardening. I’m a beginner gardener and some of these tips are really great reminders to come back to. And a garden planner – icing on the cake! When I knew I wanted to start a garden, the first thing we did was build a compost bin. That in itself is just amazing! Not to mention my worm babies ????????

      6. I do love a good planner! Every year I say I’m going to get my garden started and every year I am terribly late! lol So, obviously, I need more planning!

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