It will be time to start working outside in the garden again next month (March). That means that now is the time to start planning what to grow, who will help, what materials you need to get, and what the layout of your garden will be this year.
Deciding What to Grow
There are many options of edible plants you can grow, but depending on the type, you could be planting it in the ground at different times ranging from March to December. While you can plant one spring species in a bed, harvest it, and plant a fall crop in the same bed, you need to decide what to plant when in order to not run out of space for everything you want to grow. In order to pick plants each year, our garden staff usually have a meeting in which we look at a list of types of plants in order from the earliest plantable crop to the latest, and vote on what to grow in each of our beds. Keep in mind that any perennials will come back on their own, and take up the same space as the previous season. Also, some plants will need extra time to germinate seeds while others can be bought as seedlings and placed in the soil almost immediately (you want to leave seedlings outside at least a day before planting).
Something else to consider is that certain annuals can only be planted in the same spot for a certain number of years in a row. For example, if we grow tomatoes again, they will need to be moved to another bed because tomatoes cannot be planted in the same bed for more than two years. Otherwise, diseases that affect that specific type of plant will build up in the soil, and kill the tomatoes or lessen the amount of tomatoes that can be harvested. Plants should not be rotated to beds that had contained plants that are closely related. Tomatoes and potatoes are actually related closely enough that a blight known to grow in soil that grew potatoes can also kill tomatoes grown in the same soil the following season. Since we grew both tomatoes and potatoes, we must avoid switching the beds these two species of plants were in.