Planning your garden is important. Then loving to be in it becomes more important. This isn't the best picture, and it looks more like a jungle, but it's the way I like it. Barefoot wading through the vines and plants.
Yes A garden you love to wade in does produce.
Now we get to the fun part (in my opinion) and where the garden planner becomes one of my new favorite tools.
I plan my garden to feed my family. Canning, dehydrating, freezing..... Then subtract the things that can be bought in bulk for a price that is more reasonable than planting. Dry beans, for instance, are super cheap and already preserved for you. By the time I planted, cared for and prepared them for storage I would have put far more into it than it's worth to me.
My list might start something like this.
15 lg tomato plants
8 paste tomato
3 cherry tomato
I plant different varieties of each because I love the choices of colors, textures and flavors. This is where it's important to keep track of what you planted and where you got it. If you plant (specific) variety of cherry tomato and it doesn't produce in a way that suits your needs, you don't want to plant it again next year by accident. On the other hand if it does well, especially in bad weather, you want to be able to find it again. Take a moment here to find a list of good companion planting. There are some very useful things to be learned about what works well with what, such as tomato worms actually like dill better. If you plant plenty of dill in you garden some for use and some sacrificial to the worms you win twice. The worms are easier to find on the dill.
So now my seed list looks like this.
German Pink 1pkg. (catalog or store where they came from)
Green Zebra 1 pkg. (catalog.......)
If your putting your produce up for storage you can add this to the planner. Print extra copies of these months. Use them to keep a running tally of how much you put aside.
At the end of the printable are also some sheets of graph paper. Use these to plot what and where you planted .
In the end, you have a great record of your last year. When January rolls back around, the holidays are over and your looking forward to the spring season, break out your folder and put it all together. On a fresh January page total up how much of what you ended up having for storage, check this against what you have left. If you used up your tomato juice before you even got to christmas then plant/can more. If your cucumbers did really well and you pickled your heart out but the family doesn't eat pickles, maybe plant less or find a different way to use them. Don't forget to make notes of things that are available to you during certain months, peaches, wild blackberries, anything that you don't produce yourself but can forage for or pick up at a farmers market.
If this is your first time planting a garden, start smaller, don't get discouraged and most of all have fun with it. If your reading this then you probably have access to the wonderful world of web. A few suggestions for reading, whether your a new comer or an old hack, are Lasagna Gardening, Square Foot Gardening, Raised Beds.
If you read this far than I will take a moment to apologize for my clumsiness with my posting. I'm just learning how to work with all this social media stuff. I hope to be able to share enough useful information to those who are starting out on a project that they will ride along as I'm starting out on mine.