Gap in knowledge about garden planning / urban farming

So…after two years of vegetable gardening on a tiny scale, I have taken the plunge and developed a larger growing area in my yard. I’ve created a few raised and in-ground beds.

There’s a critical piece of info that I still need and that is an wholistic plan! I’m growing some random seedlings in my garage - because I had some leftover seeds, but I don’t know how to lay out crops, how many seedlings to plant, how to select companion plants, when to plant the seedlings or when to expect to harvest my crops.

Can anyone recommend a book or youtube channel or blog or other resource that specifically addresses garden planning? Thanks!

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PlantEater, I don’t see in your profile what state you live in, just your zone. It is difficult to answer questions like this if forum members don’t know the general area you live in (at least the state). :slightly_smiling_face:
Have you checked out your state’s Cooperative Extension service to see what resources are available?
I live in Kansas. Our Ext. service puts out the KS Garden Guide that pretty much covers everything you need to know to get started gardening. Check out the link, look at the table of contents to see what I mean.

The recommendations are backed by years of experience and experimental research at experiment stations in the state. Using a guide like this will probably provide you with more applicable information than a random youtube video put out by someone who doesn’t live in the same growing area as you. You should look for something similar put out by your state.

Below is a link for Cooperative Ext in each state.
Select your state from the map and then choose the link for the Extension office in your state. Then you can select a local office for your county. If you can’t find what you’re looking for on their website, just give them a call and ask if they have a Garden Guide and other gardening resources for your area.

Hope that helps! Happy gardening!!


I got Vegetable Gardener’s Bible by Edward Smith for Christmas. Read it from cover to cover and learned a lot. Looks like a good beginner resourse.

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Patrick Dolan has a nice YouTube channel, One Yard Revolution (OYR).


As with almost any project you’ll get better (more targeted) advice if you define your goals as well as you can. If it’s a general “learn more about gardening on a larger scale than I was previously used to”, that’s totally fine–but you may be overwhelmed if you start reading about successive planting, companion planting, square foot gardening, etc.

I’d simply identify what you’re interested in growing, group them into “cool temperature spring plants”, “warm summer plants”, and “cool fall plants”. Look at their days till maturity and start seedlings around that. Then decide what plants will go into each bed.

Don’t feel like you need to hold everything in your head before you begin too… You can learn on the fly–if I told you about tomato pruning to a single or double leader now it would seem very abstract. But if the plant is in front of you, you’ll be able to wrap your head around it no problem.


I started out using some of the principles of Square Foot Gardening. (There are books and websites about it if you’re not familiar with it.) But I didn’t stick slavishly to the methods–I took what appealed to me and made sense, and built from that.

I would encourage you to only plant what you like. It takes up a certain amount of effort and resources to grow a particular crop, so there is no point on throwing those resources and effort away on something random.

I just set up my garden last year, so I have made a lot of mistakes and am still learning from them. We are in the same USDA zone, so like me, you may be able to crop year-round. The advice to learn which vegetables are warm season and which are cool season is good advice–this will help you determine when to plant certain vegetables. But a lot of it you will just learn by experience and experimentation.


I found the squarefoot gardening book very helpful for solidifying a general overview of what I wanted.
I do think having goals in mind really helps you figure out a plan.
What to you like to eat? How much can you deal with? How much time/$ can you put in? ( and you have to figure in picking and processing to your time estimates)
Also, it’s worth thinking about what is good and available locally. We don’t do apples since this is a big growing area and we can buy b grades at $20 a bushel, pretty much most of the year. With limited space, apples don’t make sense for us. Blueberries are another I don’t do. They are hard here but there is a great pick-your-own 5 mins away.

I’ve mostly gone with permaculture, small fruits, herbs and some trees with a few raised beds and pots for the annual stuff. High value stuff, hard to find and things where there is a significant difference between grown and bought are our main focus.
A few things were free and/or are super easy to grow and we’ve found ways to use them so they are kept too.


What’s the purpose of your garden and what are your main goals?

Try Joy of Gardening by Dick Raymond, covers most everything about gardening.

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