Gardening Goals: How to Achieve a Glorious Garden

Establishing goals at the beginning of every growing season gives me direction, motivation, and gets me excited for what my garden may become. Make a list (check it twice) and with a little bit of planning, set out to have the best garden ever.

Photo By: Emily Fazio

Photo By: Emily Fazio

Photo By: Emily Fazio

Photo By: Emily Fazio

Photo By: Emily Fazio

Photo By: Emily Fazio

Photo By: Emily Fazio

Photo By: Emily Fazio

Photo By: Emily Fazio

Add Native Perennials to Your Landscape

Native plants in your garden and yard not only stand a better chance at survival, but they improve soil, attract wildlife and enrich your local ecosystem too. Native plant gardens are a draw for birds and insects, and their presence will help with cross-pollination and the overall well-being of the fruits and vegetables in your garden. See a collection of native plants by region on

Plan How Your Plants Will Be Spaced

Whether you’re seed planting or transplanting, pay attention to how much space each plant needs and how tall they'll be at full size. Prevent overcrowding and put yourself on a path for success by measuring your space to accommodate each plant. For small beds like this one, you can easily use string to map out the spacing. To plan larger beds, map out your garden on a piece of paper with a ruler (1” scale works well). Remember to leave space for walkways! Learn more about planning a vegetable garden here.

Get to Know Your Soil

Spoiler alert: Not everything grows well everywhere. Testing the pH levels in your soil at the beginning of the season helps you learn whether or not the soil needs to be supplemented before planting. Learn more about the type of soil you have in this article on HGTV.

Challenge Yourself to Try Three New Plants This Year

It’s easy to stick to the tried-and-true, but this year explore new fruits and vegetables to add to your garden. Cut back on some of the risk factors by purchasing young, healthy seedlings from the local nursery instead of starting from seed. Will they be tasty? Will they be highly productive? Or will your sole watermelon be the tiniest watermelon you ever did see? (Yep, that’s the truth.) Need inspo? Here are 35 exotic fruits, vegetables, and herbs to get you thinking.

Upgrade Your Garden Fence

Your garden should be a happy place, and it should feel adequately-sized and well-protected. I upgraded the size and design of my garden fence gradually over four years. When planning my “permanent” garden with sunken posts, tall fencing, and this very, very easy-to-operate gate (with self-closing hinges), I took all of my previous learnings into account. By gradually changing the garden plans and learning what worked best for our needs, we ended up with an upgraded garden fence that makes us really proud and keeps our foods accessible but safe from wildlife.

Have a Plan that Promotes Early-Season, Mid-Season and Late-Season Harvests

When you’re planning what to grow, remember that different plants will be harvested at different times – some may be ready in June, while others aren’t fully matured until September. Choose some plants with a short growth cycle and others with longer growth cycle so that you can get some reward early in the season. For plants with short grow cycles, like peas or lettuce, you can also replant and harvest a second crop before the end of the season. If you have the square footage in your garden, you can also stagger plantings to have an ongoing supply of certain plants with shorter growth cycles. Curious what you can grow for a fall harvest? Learn more on HGTV.

Keep Weeds at Bay From Day One

Don’t wait until a sunny day in June to begin tackling unwanted growth in the garden and landscape beds. Start now, and dedicate a little time every day to pull weeds while they’re small and before their root systems inhibit plant growth or become hard to remove. Plucking a few every day will keep the garden looking perpetually neat and prevent it from becoming a looming chore.

Make The Most of Vertical Garden Space

Maximize your garden’s square footage by allowing climbers to grow vertically. If you have limited overall space, also consider choosing plant varieties that climb – such as choosing pole beans over bush beans. Our cucumber trellis is several years strong and makes it possible to harvest dozens of cucumbers on 50 sq. ft. of wire fence within a small 12 sq. ft. space.

Supplement With Container Gardens

You might be surprised what types of plants grow just as well in containers as they grow in the ground. Potatoes, for one, are easy to grow in both spots but easier to harvest when grown in deep containers (tip them over, roll them out). They make for lush patio accents, too! Learn how to grow potatoes in containers on DIY Network.

Plan Ahead For Next Year

When the harvest is winding down in late summer, consider your goals for next year. Take the time to add bulbs to the landscape so you have flowers next spring. Determine which crops in your garden are hardy enough to withstand winter, and consider potting herbs like thyme and oregano to bring indoors before they freeze; those can be replanted outdoors next year. The planning is totally worth it when the snow melts and little garlic shoots are peering through the soil!

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