Free Garden Plan: Fall/Spring Garden

by Daisy


Here’s the last garden plan, for the last plantings of the season. (If you don’t know when that is for you, print out our Fall Garden Planner. Yes, it’s already time!)  This plan is still worked out according to companion planting rules, but it has more flexibility than previous plans because of the cooler weather:

broccoli*–if you don’t care for broccoli, you can substitute 1 cabbage or 1 cauliflower in each broccoli spot
kale*–if you don’t care for kale, you can substitute 4 collards
beets*–if you don’t care for beets, you can substitute 3 chard

You will need:
4 – 2×8 boards, 4ft long each
12 deck screws or nails
1 electric drill or hammer
(If you have no idea what I just said, walk into the lumbers section at Depot or Lowe’s and hand them the above list. They can make it all happen.)

1 small roll of weed blanket (any kind)
5 – 1 ft bags of potting soil
5 bags of different composts (This guy says that the more different nutrients the better your garden. I have found him to be correct.)
2 tomato stakes (any kind)
nylon string
12 flat head nails
2 broccoli plants*see above note
2 heads of garlic
1 pkg pea seeds
1 pkg spinach seeds
1 pkg beet seeds*see above note
1 pkg leaf lettuce seeds
1 pkg head lettuce seeds
1 pkg kale seeds*see above note
1 chrysanthemum plant
1. On your driveway, screw(nail) together your boards in a square. Don’t worry about how crooked the screws are or how maimed the heads of the nails end up. Just make the boards stick together in a square-type shape long enough for you to get it to the back yard.

2. In a sunny location, lay down your square. Cut a big enough piece of weed blanket or layer it to cover the bottom of your square. Figure out where North is. You’ll be planting all your big stuff on that side.

3. Mix all your dirt and compost on a tarp.

4. Fill box with dirt and WATER that bad boy till it’s damp all the way through.

5. Smooth the surface and using your finger (or what have you), divide the square in half both ways and do it again on each side to get 16 squares.

6. Poke holes in your garden with your finger about 1/2in deep so it looks like this:


7. Break apart your garlic and insert one fat clove in each of the nine holes.

8. Open your peas. Pinch out four seeds. Put two in the first hole, and two in the second and cover. Put two seeds in each hole in your garden corresponding to the names on the grid.

9. Put your broccoli* plants in the dead center of the corresponding square on the chart.

10. Drive your tomato stakes in DEEP behind your peas squares. Put a nail in the top and run string to nails in the side of your box like this:

The peas may take some coaxing at first, but those bad boys are dying to climb that string. Buh-lieve me!

11. Water every other day for a week, and as needed after that.

***And for you savvy gardeners, you already know that this is next year’s early spring garden plan too, don’t you?  Maybe minus the garlic.  Gotta have a few really cold snaps to get that going.  Could change it with some leeks.


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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Bethany James June 15, 2009 at 11:22 am

These are all the plants that I miss growing because it’s too wet to get them in when they need to be in the spring, and then it gets too hot too fast any time after March or April. Thanks for this plan, it’s my favorite so far.

When do you suggest planting this box? Weeks before first frost, I mean. Thanks!

ivorysoap76 June 15, 2009 at 12:47 pm

@ Bethany–Everything should be in 7-10 weeks before your first frost. If you go to our free stuff section, you can download the Fall Garden Planner. For me it’s already time to start sowing indoors…if I were going to do that. I haven’t decided.

Eleanor June 15, 2009 at 4:33 pm

My summer raised beds are just starting to really get going. I don’t want to clear them out. How do you handle this problem, start a new garden?


ivorysoap76 June 16, 2009 at 6:30 am

@ Eleanor–We have a really long growing season here, and since this bed doesn’t really go in until 7-10 weeks before frost, I have time for most of my summer crops to finish before I put this one in. I won’t be clearing anything out until September. This is a bed you plant about the time you’re putting your summer bed night-night for the winter.

rowena___. June 16, 2009 at 7:21 am

oh i am so excited about this! thank you so so much for making these plans available for free, you have really enabled me and given me the confidence to become a real gardener! our season is long here too but i got a late start, i think i’ll go ahead and just build another bed for this one!

JoAnn June 16, 2009 at 9:31 am

Ok, I printed out the Fall Garden planner… thanks! Now I have a question…what if you don’t like turnips,chard or beets? Can I plant more of one of the other listed items or do I just need to learn to like turnips? :)~

ivorysoap76 June 17, 2009 at 8:49 am

@Rowena–I would build another bed about ten weeks before your first fall frost. Or go get the materials and fill it full of bush beans and radishes and scallions– anything with a super short cycle that will clear in time.

@JoAnn–Chard and beets are in the same family as spinach–so you can certainly plant more of that. And turnips are in the cabbage family, so you can replace it with bok choy, kohlrabi, collards, radishes, or kale.

JoAnn June 19, 2009 at 5:42 pm

Thanks! I would definitely plant more spinach and kale…keep my green smoothie supply going. 😉

Kartik August 9, 2009 at 11:36 am

Thanks for the site! Love all the advice, plans, etc., for a relatively new gardener like myself. I’m going to try this plan, but don’t understand your instructions for step 10 (I get it conceptually). Do the nails go in the top of the 2×8 on the “back” of the peas (top wall in your diagram), with the tomato stakes in “front” (between peas & spinach) to draw string to the nails?

Also, which way is north in your diagram?

Thanks very much! Really appreciate your site.

Stef August 11, 2009 at 1:14 pm

You mention to plant broccoli ” PLAnts” will broccoli seeds not work?
Newbie gardener ,

Ivory Soap August 14, 2009 at 8:10 am

@Stef They could, but starting those from seed isn’t easy for me.

@Kartik The posts go on the North side, outside of the big box. The top. Does that help?

Kartik August 17, 2009 at 7:58 am

Yep, that works. Thank you.

Heidi August 19, 2009 at 10:22 am

Thank you!
I am such a newbie at gardening, this really helps!

nancy March 14, 2010 at 4:47 pm

Bought my lettuce, peas, onion starts, and spinach today. Put the first sfg together and got the dirt in, but it was beginning to rain to hard to get any of the plants in today. The nursery said broccoli is about 10 days away. I’m so excited! Thanks so much for helping me get a grasp on my first early spring garden!! You ladies are the best!!

Amy Durham July 12, 2011 at 8:16 am

Can pole beans be planted in the Fall, such as next to the peas (in place of the broccoli)? I see in your Fall Planting Booklet you list bush beans, but not pole beans. Is there a reason for that?

Tomato Lady July 12, 2011 at 12:24 pm

Amy Durham–Pole beans can be planted up until early July for a late harvest, but they are frost-tender and will croak when it freezes. Since pole beans produce over a long period of time and bush beans produce one crop all at once, it’s less likely you will be able to get a pole bean crop in before it’s too late.

Lalewin February 18, 2013 at 12:07 pm

Looking around, but not finding. Are there diagrams for other things like tomatoes? Maybe I didn’t look far enough. would they be placed in the same area as where the peas are? On the north side? last year I grew in containers, so this year want to start a raised bed garden.

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