For me, Winter is a time for garden planning.
Seed catalogues are one of the gifts of winter. While the earth sleeps and rejuvenates, images and words of the plants that i could plant and care for fill my mind. To fully engage with the process of garden planning, I give myself space to sit and immerse myself in the language of the seeds. I turn off the computer, lower the ringer on my phone, make a cup of tea and sit with the catalogues. I spend the next hour or so making notes and highlighting the seeds I am considering for this years planting season. I first allow myself freedom to highlight everything I wish to plant. No editing on the first round of seed catalogue reading. I then put the catalogues down for the evening.
The next step is returning to the catalogues and editing down the initial highlights I made. Some of the edits are easy if I selected a plant that does not grow in my hardiness zone. Before I make the tough edits, I grab some paper and write down my goals for the garden. Are there particular meals, or dishes, that I would like to make from the vegetables, fruits, herbs, and flowers I can grow in my garden? It is, basically, meal planning for the summer and fall and then creating a shopping list of ingredients I would like to have available to me. I then take another break.
Rough sketches of the space I have to plant in comes next. This allows me to visualize where I will be able to plant, and how much space I really have to work with. This is also a perfect time to jot down the growing conditions in each space. What is the soil type? Will it be a space for container gardening? How much sun does the spot get? It's important to be honest at this step. I always want to grow everything I see and read about but I do not have the space or the capacity to do so. Remember to take into consideration the amount of time you have to give to the care of your garden. It's now time to go back to the catalogues!
Once I have a clearer picture of my garden must haves, the physical space I have, and the time I will have for gardening, I am able to make further edits to my seed list. I always to try to plant at least 2 new things a year. It's important to be creative and maintain a sense of play in your garden. After I have a list of seeds that is manageable, I make my orders and gleefully wait for the ultimate in happy mail to arrive.