Dear Friend and Gardener: Veg Garden Plan


“Over the years I’ve learned that for the gardener, in addition to rest, winter is a time for wide-awake visions about things to come.”  ~Judith Couchman



A couple of weeks ago I was reading a blog post, from Hannah@Weeding On The Wild Side, about being a gardening fanatic.  And it brought to mind, how fanatical I can become once seed starting season (especially indoors) begins in late February and continues through March and April.

IMG_2132And continuing with that theme was Pam@Pam’s English Cottage Garden who has a super organized way she puts her veg garden seeds together that is all too familiar to me.  Then Kathy@The Violet Fern (about 1.5 hours North of me) posted her grand plans for her Potager.  It is getting closer to spring as we all think about starting our seeds and planning our veg gardens.  And I do love to read what others are planning for their veg gardens, and what better time to plan but now just as spring is beginning.  

As I begin this new veg gardening season, I am joining in again with Dee Nash for her virtual garden club called, Dear Friend and Gardener.  You can see the badge here and on my sidebar.  As Dee says about this new club:


Carol Michel, Mary Ann Newcomer and I are starting a virtual garden club for everyone growing their own food, flowers or herbs this summer. It’s a fun club. There are no rules except if you grab the badge, please link it back to this page. Here, I will list everyone joining us for our summer adventure of growing our food, flowers and herbs. You are welcome to post once a month if you want. We’d love to see what you’re growing.


And I am linking in with Judith@Lavender Cottage who is hosting Mosaic Monday.  



Seed Starting Indoors



When we finally cleared the basement of so much we didn’t need, I was able to carve out an actual workspace to start seeds.  You can see the Grow Station that is full of herbs that have been growing indoors to either overwinter or to use throughout winter.

The table and shelves are new.  All the pots, and seed starting materials in that big pile need to be cleaned and moved to the shelves.  I am working through that little by little.

I start sowing early flowers, in late January or early February so they can be ready for potting up in early April.  And I begin to sow my summer veggies, in late February.  I keep a calendar showing what I need to start when.  And I also keep a plastic storage container for flower seeds, one for veggie seeds and one that I move seeds to by season and month as I start sowing.  A bit obsessive I know.  But I am now sowing so much from seed, that I feel I need to be super organized.  I also think it is a bit of my old self as an over planner, left over the over from my old line of work.




Veggies-I just started 5 varieties of eggplants, and 10 varieties of peppers (2 types of green chiles, 3 sweet pepper, 5 hot pepper).  I also started celery.  This is a new veggie I will trying to grow in a container.  Tomatoes will be started in mid-April.  


Flowers-Pansy/viola were started in late January (shown above), while snapdragons or Antirrhinums were started in late February with Petunias.  Next week I will be starting 6 varieties of marigolds or Tagetes, and a few varieties of Alyssum.  And I am finally trying a few other flowers that will need to be started indoors here as we have such a short growing season; namely Tithonia, Calibrachoa, Gilia.


Herbs-Most of the herbs I grow are either perennial or are started outside.  But I do grow basil from seed, and will start it at the same time I start my tomatoes. 



veg garden 2015-1

Here is this year’s Veg Garden Plan.  I generally change it a bit once I get started, but not too much.

I usually know my general planting scheme by early fall of the year before, as I have to rotate crops and figure out where I am planting the garlic (which was planted this past October).  But there are always small tweaks.  I am trying to use the beds as much as I can, and will be growing squashes and melons up trellises again so I have more space to grow more veggies under them.

I do have one new bed, the portable 4ft by 4 ft bed.  It has a liner and a plastic frame.  I will have it up on the patio planted with early greens, and later green chiles around the perimeter on 3 sides and watermelon growing up a trellis.  We shall see how it goes.  It seems my patio is becoming more of a growing area with loads of grow bags, the round asparagus bed and now this new bed.

I will give more specifics about what I am growing and updates, in monthly posts, usually near the end of each month, and in my Journal posts.



veggie collage

Here are plants that I have started from seed in years past, and I plan to grow these again this year.  Starting top left is okra.  Moving clockwise is basil, peas, tomatoes and sweet peppers in the center.  All big favorites in our house.  I am unsure when my peas will be sown, but it will depend on how fast all that snow melts, and the soil can be worked in the raised beds.  Still very cold and all our snow is still piled high.


Do you grow veggies, herbs and flowers from seed?  Which are a must to grow yearly in your garden?



In A Vase On Monday 


So we are slowly moving to spring, but I still can’t get to my gardens.  Five feet of snow on the ground takes a while to melt especially when temps are still hovering in the 20s or just around freezing.

I needed a different container to display this week’s vase, and this time I found a pot that was given to me as a retirement gift from a friend.  I loved the sharp white contrast.  I put a small jar inside of the pot so I could place the flowers in water, and keep the arrangement tight and not floppy.



white vase collage2

I was thrilled that Hippeastrum ‘Red Lion’ was blooming again.  Such a rich brilliant red to brighten up these days before spring’s arrival.



white vase collage1

This collage shows the progression of the growth of the flowers, starting with the full flowered version top left and ending with the beginning flower buds I started with, bottom right.  It took a few days for the flowers to fully open.  I again used Chinese Evergreen or Aglaonema ‘Emerald Beauty’ along with the dried seed pods of Baptisia and dried grasses both from last week’s vase; originally used in vases in December. 

I really like how this vase complements the tapestry of the couch and the table runner.  And I added a red candle for a bit more contrast against the white.

I am joining in with a couple memes this week as I prepare this vase:  Cathy@Rambling in the Garden for her wonderful meme, In a Vase on Monday, and Today’s Flowers hosted by Denise@An English Girl Rambles.



I am observing and celebrating as the new season awakens.  I hope you will join in the celebration whether you are in the Northern or Southern hemisphere. 

All you have to do is write a post between now and March 22nd.  Then leave a comment on my Seasonal Celebration post with your link so I can include your link in my summary post on March 23rd.  

I do hope you will consider joining in celebrating the new season in your corner of the world.


And as always, I will be collaborating with Beth@Plant Postings and her Lessons Learned meme at this same time.  What lessons have you learned this past season of winter here in the North and summer in the South.  Write a separate post or combine your lessons with your celebrations for one post.



Next up on the blog:  

Next Monday, I will have my final Flower Tale of winter. I am hopeful I will have spring blooms to show off next month.

I am linking in with Michelle for her Nature Notes meme at her new blog just for Nature Notes.  It is a great way to see what is happening in nature around the world every Tuesday. 



I am also joining in I Heart Macro with Laura@Shine The Divine that happens every Saturday.

All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Gardens Eye View, 2010-2015.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.


109 Replies to “Dear Friend and Gardener: Veg Garden Plan”

  1. HI Donna, lovely quote and blog post which makes me green with envy (almost that is 😉 ) because you’re so well organized. You even make a proper plan, wow, I’m impressed. I love growing veg but for now it’ll remain a spontaneous affair as I’m on the road quite a bit and so busy that I never seem to able to organize myself the way I want. But at the end of the day it’s about the fun of pottering around and growing things so I’m pretty relaxed. I’ve still plenty to sow but have to wait til I get back from my next trip. Garden dreaming and planning keep me happy 🙂

  2. Hi Donna, I’m afraid I’m a very lazy gardener and don’t use seeds that i have to start inside and transplant, but I found it interesting and impressive to see how you do it. The flowers in the vase are a divine colour, and beautifully arranged

    1. Thanks Sue. I do love some warm weather veggies and the only way to grow them is if we start them inside….someday that may wear thin, but for now I still enjoy it.

  3. Hello Donna, you are very organized and devoted gardener. Your growing station looks wonderful. Thanks for the great ideas. I love your pretty flowers in the vase, beautiful images..

    Have a happy day and week ahead!

    1. Thanks so much Eileen. I have really loved the idea of starting veggies from seed and do enjoy it…glad to give you a peek.

  4. Lovely photos and inspiring texts, Donna! You are really very organized! 🙂
    We sow tomatoes, nasturtiums, Million Bells every March. For example carrots will be started outside in May-June.
    This year I tried for example Viola cornuta (lovely colours). They germinated very fast and are already 4 cm tall. That’s too early!
    Have a lovely week ahead!

    1. Most seeds I can start outdoors, but a few veggies we love like tomatoes I have to start indoors. We do seem to like many of the same veggies and flowers.

  5. Organization is key when you’re sowing as much as you do! My veggie garden is tiny, so I don’t have nearly as much going on. Right now I have a few peppers and some Aunt Ruby’s German Green tomatoes sprouted, and a small flat of Gomphrena.

    Do you plan to mount grow lights under those shelves? Best wishes with all your baby seedlings!

    I like your vase this week, and the setting you created for it. I’ve also sometimes put a smaller container inside a larger one to help keep the flowers together. Still can’t bring myself to cut my amaryllises, though!

    Warmer weather in store this week, and no big storms! The snow pack should shrink, and my kids should have their first full week of school since before Christmas!

    1. No lights under those shelves. The lights are on the 2 shelves to the left of the picture. Glad you enjoyed the vase. Here’s to a nice melt to continue.

  6. Oh, I am so excited to see your plans! (Thank you for mentioning mine Donna!) LOTS of veggies and WOW, what a seed set up! So organized and so much space! Makes me feel so far behind but I plan to start seeds in my little greenhouse (if it’s still standing) and feel they will be hardier, faster growing. We leave Cedar Key tomorrow, sadly – oh, how I love it here – and begin a round about way home. All of a sudden I’m deathly afraid to return home! What damage will there be? Will everything work again? And most of all to see firsthand the slow torturous demise of all my houseplants ): Spring here I come – ready or not! Your vase is beautiful. You have created beautiful vases all winter – quite an accomplishment this year especially!

    1. Have a safe trip Kathy…I bet it will be hard to come back, but your garden is waiting and you will catch up with seed sowing before you know it.

  7. So nice that you can start planning for your veggie garden. I’m sure that must help with the end-of-winter blues. I look forward to more information as you get them into the ground and they grow and then, you get to harvest and eat!

    1. Tina it does help to grow seeds in winter so I still feel connected to my garden still….it won’t be long now before the garden season is in full swing.

  8. Thank you for showing what goes in your basement – it will give me a clearer picture now when you refer to it. I am well into my seed sowing, but almost exclusively flowers – and have no neat plan of where things are going to go when they are ready to plant out, just a hope that I will be able to squeeze them into my cutting beds or elsewhere! Necessity is the mother of invention for winter vases, hasn’t it, but for US Monday vase bloggers more so than the rest of us. You never fail Donna, and I love seeing what you come up with – you have certainly confirmed that Hippeastrum looks far better with a short stem in a vase than on the plant 🙂 You may be recycling grasses and seedpods but each vase looks fresh and different in its own right – thank you for sharing them each week.

    1. I am so glad you have enjoyed the vases Cathy. I have a few more bulbs that will take me until April which is lucky given all our snow. I still have not figured out where I am putting all the flowers started from seed yet, but it will work out.

  9. I LOVE your garden plan and I’m interested in a couple of specific things. What garlic variety do you plant? I was thinking you must plant a few, soft and hard necks and various varieties of mild and spicy–you have put aside a large space for them. (Gal after my own heart!) And a tiny tiny space for pumpkins! How does that work when they spread so? I have to leave lots and lots of space for pumpkins. I’m incredibly impressed with your tidy spot for starting seeds under grow lights in your basement–Bravissima Donna!

    1. Susan I can only plant hardneck here because of our winters. I plant a Tuscan that grows easily and is harvested first. Then a few other spicy varieties for a few weeks later. I change these up every year depending on what is available. I had a few go to seed last year and planted those cloves in another bed to see how they grow. We usually grow between 80-100 cloves of garlic so I need a big space. I am trying to grow the pumpkins up a trellis again this year so using less space. We shall see how it goes, but I have to start them earlier.

      I finally have a neat spot…before it was a mess until we cleaned, cleared and added a few things.

  10. Oh my Donna, you take me back to the days when I had a 3 tiered grow light system in the basement. I started many perennials, herbs and some annuals from seed for myself and to sell at our garden club plant sale. All my equipment was donated to a youth gardening club in one of the schools.
    Now I only direct sow; flowers in the fall and my veggies in late spring.
    Thank you for linking to Mosaic Monday.

    1. That’s a great idea if I ever give it up Judith. I can’t direct sow some flowers and some veggies we like so I still start them indoors.

  11. Your basement seed production area is impressive, Donna! Would that I had such a space. Last year, I started seeds indoors on a shelf in my tiny laundry room and this year I skipped it altogether. Regrettably, we have no basement here. (They aren’t common in SoCal.)

    You did a great job creating a cheerful vase despite your undeniably touch conditions back east. Five feet of snow! I hope you get a gentle melt – and that it starts soon.

    1. Slow melt is starting Kris. I do love having a basement, but with your weather, I bet you don’t have to start many seeds indoors. Glad you enjoyed the vase.

  12. i love your plan – and your photos I don’t garden in the ground anymore – we have deer that come through our yard in groups of 4 to 8 and I don’t want to deter them in any way and I don’t want to feed them all my plants – so I garden on the deck – in pots. I even grew potatoes last summer. We’ll see what I grow this year.

    1. Oh my I would have to reconsider gardening if we had so many deer too. But that is wonderful you can still garden on the deck.

  13. Hi Donna,

    Good luck with your seeds, and I do hope the snow melts soon for you!
    I’m going to start sowing some seeds for my parents – I’ve planned a cutting garden for them – so must get round to their house and get to work with the seeds… Motivation… needed.

    Lovely vase, very nice indeed. Really must learn how to properly arrange things.

  14. You seem so well organised with your seed sowing Donna. I love the way you have arranged your Hippeastrum this week – the white vase and the red candle go very well and it is lovely to see this bright splash of colour.

    1. Thanks Cathy. A few more bulbs to go for March and I hope the snow is gone and the blooms are started by April.

  15. I like your organised approach to gardening! We just have a couple of windowledges, but we grow tomatoes and other things (this year parsley and small lettuces)

  16. I really enjoyed reading about your vegetable garden plans Donna and studying your sketch. I am making a few changes to my vegetable garden this year with a couple of raised beds going in this week and a fruit cage to protect my crops from the birds. I have planted out the first broad beans sown in February and peas will follow next week. In the greenhouse I will be sowing lots of seeds – I am also trying celery for the first time and I hope to start sowing direct towards the end of the month. I am looking forward to keeping up with your progress! You vase is lovely this week – lots of colour and drama whilst you wait for spring.

    1. Oh how I wish I could start earlier in the ground with plants and seeds….we will have to compare how our celery does.

  17. Wow- you are organized, and devoted! Can’t wait to see all your gardens and the harvest later on! Lovely mosaics! The amaryllis bouquet is beautiful! 🙂

  18. Your Hippeastrum ‘Red Lion’ has such strong color. It pairs nicely with that patterned leaf (is that the Chinese evergreen?). And your friend’s retirement gift certainly was well chosen, with “Flower” coming across as good advice. Hope you enjoy your new workspace for growing seeds. It’s nice to be able to clean out an area and repurpose it for such a gratifying activity.

    1. It is a wonderful red color in those blooms and I have loved working with them. That is Chinese evergreen….I am looking forward to more seed starting soon.

  19. I thought okra is pretty hard to grow in the north. My mother-in-law grew it in her southern Ohio garden, though. It’s actually a very pretty plant, nice flowers. I love Indian-style okra (bhindi masala) and okra fried with cornmeal.

    1. Actually Jason I have found okra easy to grow in my garden…much easier than tomatoes and peppers and I direct sow it in late May. Love fried okra and we pickle it too.yummy!

  20. I love your basement setup! It looks like you can really get into a mess of trouble down there 😉
    I’m busy with seeds as well. I only have so much space, so priority first goes to the earliest veggies which while be moved out asap to be replaced by the warm weather veggies. As soon as the warm weather stuff goes out I’ll move on to perennials, the seed of which are in baggies in the fridge chilling. As soon as they come out of the fridge they should start to sprout and that should fill the space until I get sick of everything and it all goes out!
    Love the vase too, I always like a nice amaryllis bloom!

    1. Well I make a mess down there Frank…Sounds like you have a great system. Once I get it all sorted out, I am hoping to learn more about propagating my native perennials this year….

  21. It is so challenging to make a vase when your garden is covered with snow, but you have been so creative and inspiring!Thanks for sharing, Donna!

  22. Oh, Donna, how I envy your basement space! Our basement, in this 150 year old farmhouse, is too ‘unfinished’ and I am restricted to a couple of card tables in dining room and grandson’s room. You are doing a much more adventurous job than me. Thank you for your kind words. In another life I was a school librarian, so I tend to be organized. Love your vase creation. P. x

    1. Oh so now I understand Pam…one of my fav places, the library. I do feel very lucky to have such a wonderful space…soon my friend our seedlings will be placed lovingly in our thawed gardens.

  23. Wow… one that you cleaned the basement and secondly that you are already planting and so organized. We need that snow to melt and the ground to warm up…. Michelle

    1. Some of the flowers and veggies need a few months lead time so in later April and May I can plant them out….and a few are for early April so we need that melt.

  24. Very nice plans for your vegetable gardens. It is so nice you have all the room to add gardens. Great too you made the space in the basement to start the plants. Retirement is keeping you busy.

    1. I do feel lucky to have the space to veg garden Donna. We’ll see how long I keep the veg garden going as retirement progresses….but I am sure I will always grow some veggies just maybe not to this scale. I even envision myself in my old age in a retirement home leading gardening classes and planting veggies and flowers in raised beds that are accessible……

  25. My first seeds arrived in the mail the other day. I bought a nice range of traditional cottage flowers each with a twist (unusual color or arrangement of petals etc.). Unfortunately I don’t have a basement area to use. Our basement is as cold as a refrigerator! I envy your early start with seedlings. My seeds will have to wait for quite a few more weeks.

  26. Wow – You really have a garden in progress. Your flowers are beautiful – thanks for sharing them.
    My daughter has started many of her veggies from seeds this year and they are growing like crazy. Spring needs to arrive soon so she can get them in the ground.
    Thanks for stopping by.

  27. What a great planner you are! I have just got all my seeds in the mail, and this week I am setting up my indoor growing station too. I’m not a real good gardener, but I have fun trying to make things grow!

    1. I don’t consider myself a great veg gardener as I haven’t even been at it but maybe 7 years, and I am learning so much still….but I love making things grow from seed too Karen….have fun and good luck.

  28. Hi Donna,

    Your organizational skills, as well as your garden know how and green thumb, I’m sure will reap the benefits of a gorgeous harvest and flowers for you. My husband plants some things from seed, but our veggie patch is very simple, compared to yours!


    1. I started simple but just love home grown so much it has become an obsession Poppy…I am not sure it will stop anytime soon either…. 🙂

  29. Your plan that you mapped out is divine!!! And your growing area is fantastic as well! I grow seeds under shop lights in my family room but with limited space I usually start up my flowers. I look forward to watching your plan bloom this season Donna! Nicole xo

  30. Very organized and creative, Donna. Looking good! This is the best time of year for garden planning (I think), because the actual digging and planting is just around the corner. Yay!

    1. Thanks Beth….it is a great time for some planning. I have so much to do that I will be busy planning and redesigning in between maintenance tasks long neglected. I can’t wait. We are down about 1.5 ft of snow as it has melted in the last few days…about 3-4 feet of snow to go.

    1. They get too big and spindling under that grow light in just 6 weeks. I need some bigger pots in the future so I can move the plants from under the lights to perhaps a window sill.

      Once I plant them in late May, they grow fast and start putting on flowers in June.

  31. Thanks Tatyana! With retirement, I now I have time to grow even more seeds….but I imagine one day I will reduce or stop seed growing in favor of something else….maybe!

  32. I’m still learning what I need to start indoors and the timing for everything. I’m finding it a huge learning curve and long for the days when I didn’t have to think about it and just did it. It doesn’t help there is a variety of opinions from local gardeners, some have planted peas outside, some have them in pots, some say wait, aargh! Sweet peas are a must have in my garden, nasturtiums too. Root veg are the mainstay in the veg garden as we can store them in the ground over winter. I’ve just pulled up my last parsnips and have a few beets and turnips remaining. Happy gardening.

    1. Susan, I know that steep learning curve. As I start more flowers from seed, I am in that learning curve. And it can be quite frustrating when there are so many opinions. I start my peas outside when the soil can be worked and then I cover them because we will get extreme cold still….but I would love to plant more root veggies….I hope to this year. Well gardening will be upon us soon outdoors (at least for me in a few weeks)….so have a wonderful time in your garden!

  33. that is seed sowing on an almost industrial scale Donna and I envy you that work and garden space. Have sown a few herb and flowers on a windowill scaled propagator and using out of date seeds inherited from a deceased family friend – surprising how many have emerged, even those over 5 years past their sell by date. Where there is life there is hope so they say and I guess that is what the stirring of Spring fever is all about
    p.s. love the seasonal contrasts with the Christmasy amaryllis and your ever present snow alongside the Spring green of new growth

    1. Laura, I used to throw seed away as I was told it was too old, but I am thinking of keeping my seed and trying it now…why waste all those veggies and flowers. I love that yours germinated even after 5 yrs…what a lovely surprise of life.

      Those seasonal contrasts worked well as we are still in that in between time….some warmer temps, but not consistent so we can call it spring yet.

  34. I am so impressed by your organization, Donna, but I’m especially impressed by your basement seed starting area. I need to bookmark this page to get inspired to clean all the clutter out of my basement so it looks like this, too! I do start some seeds indoors, but it’s mostly for fun because I have had mixed success with it. I’ll be planting my seed trays very soon. It’s been very warm here the past week and all but a few patches of snow have melted away–hope your snow is melting, too!

    1. Rose it has taken me a long time to get to this place or organization, but it certainly helps me especially as my seed starting has increased….our snow is melting from 4 ft to 2 ft left and today is supposed to go back to the 40s…a week or so of 40 degree temps would do it, but we are supposed to get another cold streak next week in time for spring.

  35. Hi, Donna! I really love your modules with seedlings of different veggies. I have sown some seeds as well. I have paper and plastic modules and there are two varieties of tomatoes, basil and flowers as nasturtium, aster, lobelia and petunia. How do you separate seedlings if you sowed many seeds in one module?
    I love this beautiful Hippeastrum it’s so bright!

    1. Nadezda, I carefully pull them out and transplant the seedlings. If I don’t want all the seedlings, then I dispose of them. For instance I only have room for 6 tomato plants, but I grow about 20 seedlings just in case some die. But with flowers, I keep them all.

  36. I love your garden plan! I like to keep my seed starting super organized, too. It makes life easier in the long run and the notes are helpful the following year. 🙂

    1. I couldn’t agree more….perhaps we teachers are just that way in so many things we do after so many years of planning lessons.

  37. I’m definitely a garden fanatic, though not as organized as you 🙂 I just sowed my pepper seeds and will probably start my tomatoes and other things soon. I do a lot of winter sowing for my flowers. As far as vegetables, tomatoes, tomatillos, and peppers are must haves – basically stuff for canning salsa later in the summer!

  38. Oh I enjoyed reading about your veggie growing plans Donna and admire the planning/work that must go into kick starting seed sowing off indoors. I do grow my own fruit and veg but I am trying to cut down on seed sowing this year which is proving a challenge in itself 🙂 I’ve also come to the conclusion that in our climate later sowings usually catch up with the earlier ones and often make for more sturdy plants. I sowed my very first seeds of the year today but they were not edibles. Maybe that will be rectified tomorrow. What are bush beans? I am looking forward to reading about how your veg gardening progresses this season.

    1. Anna, I agree with starting many seeds later if we can, but with my short growing season I have to start them now to make larger plants further long when I plant them out….bush beans are green beans that grow from a small bush and not vining.

  39. I admire your organization! Starting seeds indoors surely is a great way to garden during the winter and to express hope that five feet of snow will eventually melt! I don’t use many seeds, but when I do, I usually plant them directly in the ground once our last frost date (April 15) has passed, for example bean seeds. You make me realize how fortunate I am that I can do this! If I lived in your climate, I probably would be gardening in every room of the house, including the bathroom!

    1. Yes this climate can wear on a gardener indeed Deb……we have lost half the snow but now are in a cold snap with snow again so I don’t think we will lose much before April and spring will be delayed.

  40. Oh gosh, I’m coveting that super-organized seed-starting station. I guess once I’ve got the main floor of my house sorted out, I’ll need to get to work on the basement and work on that long-dreamed-of gardening work area. Thanks for inspiring me.

    1. You are welcome Jean. I finally got it all cleaned up and have updated pictures for my Journal post in 2 weeks. It is amazing how much easier and pleasurable it is working in an organized space.

Comments are closed.