Winter is a great time to plan a garden. Cooler weather makes for more comfortable outdoor work, and mosquitos are much less aggressive.

If you are starting a brand new garden, doing a little bit of planning will make your garden more plentiful and easier to manage once things get growing. Start your garden on the small size to cut down on unnecessary work. You can always add size next year. Your site needs at least 6 hours of direct sun, and should be in an area with easy access to water. Also consider that people are more likely to work the garden and check for pests when a garden is close to the house. Try not to plant too close to trees or shrubs, because they will steal water and nutrients from your plants.

It you do not have space for an in ground garden, try container gardening. As long as you have the proper soil, water and sunlight, plants in containers can be grown anywhere. Patios, balconies, window boxes and porches can all be used to grow vegetables.

If you have land that does not drain very well, or want to garden on a hillside, then raised beds may be for you. These are also popular as gardeners age, and don’t like to bend over as far. Raised beds are best made with rot resistant material or concrete blocks. They are easier to maintain and you won’t have to spend as much time weeding. Raised beds can vary in size, but are best at three to four feet wide, so you can reach the center of the garden without having to step into the bed.

You will also want to decide what to grow in your garden. Grow foods that you and your family will eat. There is no use in growing turnips if nobody likes them. You need to know when your favorite plants will grow. Gardens in the Carolinas grow year round, and many plants grow better at a specific times of the year. When you make a plan of what you will grow, and when you will plant it, you can now order your seeds.

Ordering seeds and germinating them yourself will save you lots of money in the garden. One of the benefits of growing your own food is saving money. If you spend money on plants already started, there goes your savings. January is a great time to buy seeds for your garden. There is plenty of variety, and some of the earliest summer plants should be started indoors in the winter.