Deciding what you should plant in your garden this year can be daunting, there are so many splendid options. The key to choosing your plants is to make a gardening plan that inspires you and to keep to that plan when you march off to the gardening store. Every plant can be alluring when you are hungry to grow. Before you buy, consider the following questions to make the most of your space, time, and dollars.

Here’s What You Should Plant in Your Garden this Year:

How to Decide What to Grow In Your Garden

What Are Your Favorite Smells and Flavors?

What colors would you like to see when you wake up every morning? What smells would you have fill your kitchen? What flavors do you want to taste in your tea or your omelet for breakfast?

These are the most important questions you can ask yourself when thinking about what food to grow, whether it be on your windowsill or in the patch of grass along the sidewalk. Do thoughts of lettuces named Golden Frills and Ruby Streaks thrill you? Me too! And just because they say gardeners are supposed to grow tomatoes doesn’t mean you should, unless you salivate at thoughts of homemade ketchup, tomato marmalade, and panzanella salad—in large quantities. There is no need to toil away at a garden or even a window box unless it is producing something that you want to eat. So pick your favorites, the same way you would at a restaurant. Your micro plot of land, your fire escape, or your windowsill are going to be your menu.

How to Decide What to Grow In Your Garden

How to Decide What to Grow In Your GardenWhat Do You Spend the Most Money On?

If you are thinking about the economics of growing your own food, ask yourself what you eat in a given week. Are you a lover of tomato sauce? Or is fried okra more your thing? Are you buying a lot of lettuce at the grocery store because you are a chopped salad fiend? Try planting what will save you money.

How to Decide What to Grow In Your Garden

How to Decide What to Grow In Your Garden

What’s Missing from Your Grocery Store?

Speaking of your grocery store, what do you wish yours had more of? Does it have candy striped beets, purple potatoes, white eggplant, or other unusual flavors and colors? Or a wonderful assortment of hot peppers for all of your homemade hot sauce needs? If the answer is no, try growing several varieties to diversify the flavors available to you in your cooking.

How to Decide What to Grow In Your Garden

How to Decide What to Grow In Your GardenWhat Are the Demands of Your Space and Your Life?

Think about your particular environment. How much sun does your chosen gardening spot actually get? Also consider your time. Is the plant high-maintenance? How much will it yield? Find the answers before you decide. If you’re a busy lawyer, do you really want to fuss over a single artichoke and give it valuable space?

How to Decide What to Grow In Your GardenHow to Decide What to Grow In Your Garden

Once you’ve answered these questions you have a plan and a bright future for your garden. Be sure to share with us what you’re growing so we can get ideas from each other. And post a picture and tag us on social media so we can find you!

Georgia Pellegrini

Growing up on her family’s farm in upstate New York, Georgia developed a passion for simple farm-to table food and a deep connection to the outdoors. Having worked in the finance world after college, she decided to leave her cubicle and reconnect with her roots. After graduating from the French Culinary Institute, she began working in Michelin restaurants in New York and France, and soon started leading her renowned Adventure Getaways: excursions around the country aimed at promoting “manual literacy” and helping participants step outside of their comfort zone and experience life more viscerally. Georgia is a firm believer in empowering people to be self-sufficient, identify personal strengths and pursue their life passions.