Garden Goals for 2016

Setting goals is a great way to get ready for spring and stay focused throughout the future growing season. January is the perfect time to figure out the direction your garden is headed.

Before I set my goals, I usually look over my past goals from the previous growing season. Sometimes I'm too ambitious and try to do too many things. This happened last year. For example, I never tried corn but I did experiment with pumpkins. However, I started them too late and I'm not sure they had enough sun, so they didn't do well in my garden..

Keeping in mind that I'll be busy with grad school, I have to try and not be too ambitious. (Maybe you have a young family that keeps you away from the garden, or a demanding work schedule.) Keeping my garden ideas in check can be hard, but one of my favorite parts of gardening is all the daydreaming, sketching and even scheming that happens long before the first frost is gone.

Here are my goals for this year:
  • Grow more flowers for cutting. For me, this means giving up space in two of my front grow beds that were used for veggies in the past. Ideally, I know I want to grow more zinnias, dahlias, cosmos and sunflowers.
  • Intersperse edible plants into my garden beds, especially areas that are under-utilized right now. For example:
    • Grow pea plants along the right border of the garden. After the plants die back, I'll cut off the stems and leave the roots so the plants will continue to add nitrogen to the soil as they decay.
    • Add dinosaur kale to garden beds for dramatic impact.
  • Grow a three sisters garden next year in the back grow bed.  I was intrigued by this post I found through Facebook that explains how to plant to corn for better pollination.
  • Make hypertufa containers this year! Check out this how-to video I found here from Garden Answer. Don't forget to wear a mask and gloves!
  • Try something new this year - such as amaranth! 
  • Troubleshoot my figs and figure out why they haven't produced yet. One tree will be three years old this summer and the other tree will be two years old. Since it gets too cold for them in my growing zone, I store them in my garage for the winter.
  • Spice up container plantings this year. When I visited Florida recently there were fun combinations of plants that I normally wouldn't think of, such as crotons and petunias. I want to remember to look at the houseplant section for potential hot weather combinations.
  • I didn't have as many Japanese beetles eating my plum tree leaves this year, which could be attributed to the nasturtiums I grew at the base of the tree. I'm going to try it this year, too.
  • I had to make a list of vegetables we eat to decide what to grow. I like growing garlic but last year I grew too much of it since we don't eat that much garlic. This year I am growing less. Vegetables that have made the first cut: tomatoes, beans, sweet peppers.
What are your garden goals for this upcoming growing season? Leave a comment below or share your ideas through our Facebook page, found here.


  1. I need to grow more garlic and brussel sprouts this year, and try to extend my garden back along the fence a little, where all the sun is!

    1. I didn't know you wanted more garlic! I could have given you some of mine! I had a lot left over and cut back a bit on growing it this year! Good luck with the brussel sprouts!


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