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2018 Garden Goals Challenge from the Organic Gardener Podcast!

Is 2018 the year to make your garden goals come true? 

Is one of your goals to grow a garden full of healthy vegetables but feel you don’t have time? Do you struggle to get all the weeds pulled and watering done in the heat of summer when your friends are all headed to the lake? Are you tired of paying the high cost of organic vegetables in the store but struggle to grow your own?

Well, our 2018 Garden Goals Challenge will help you find success in your garden journey!

Free Garden Course.comFree Organic Garden Course Website

So, if you follow me you probably know that I created a Free Garden Course also known as Free Organic Garden Course over Christmas break!


Days 1-8

2018 Garden Goals Challenge


For the first 8 days of 2018 I’m going to walk you through the steps of planning your garden goals so you are growing awesome nutrient dense vegetables with the least amount of work and time. Now I’m not gonna fool you and say it’s all gonna be easy but I will say it will be worth it. 

Day One is all about brainstorming! 

You can  download the first 30 days of the 2018 Garden Journal and Data Keeper while you’re waiting for it to come in the mail. 

boat of peas

The first page is a great place to make a list of all your garden dreams! Don’t leave anything out! Do you want a pond with a water fountain in the middle? An orchard full of fruit trees? Deep beds full of healthy nutritious broccoli, tomatoes and fresh lettuce? 

Garden Challenge Beds

Imagine anything is possible.

The first page is a great place to make a list of all your garden dreams! Don’t leave anything out!

  • Do you want a pond with a water fountain in the middle?
  • An orchard full of fruit trees?
  • Deep beds full of healthy nutritious broccoli, tomatoes and fresh lettuce? 
  • An earth friendly landscape your puppy can run around on without a worry?
  • A root cellar to store your produce come winter?
  • Build a green house to help extend your season?
  • Find a place to market your extra produce?
  • A fence to keep the deer out?
  • Would you like a chicken tractor?
  • Growing sweet potatoes?
  • Ordering some heirloom seeds?
  • Pollinator plants to attract bees and butterflies?
  • Beehives full of honey?

bee hives MGGGarden Goals Challenge Mini Farm

Today I want you to start your list of gardening dreams!

2018 Garden Chalelenge

Day Two Make a Plan

Let’s take your list and start to define a strategy.

The first step is to organize and prioritize your goals. I like to start with the calendar and put my goals into chronological order.

Garden Goals Challenge

A general guess for now is fine. We’ll get to the details down the line.

  • Which ones can you start now?
  • Do you need to wait until the ground thaws?
  • What goals do you need supplies for?
  • Which ones do you have to accomplish this year?

Our Garden Journal from 2001!

A secret I have learned about successful gardening is that you should start with your harvest date? When do you want to be done? If you’re working on a landscape when do you want to be able to enjoy it? If you are planting vegetables when would you be harvesting? Do you have a list of seeds you want plant?

 2018 Garden Goals Challenge

Day Three – S.M.A.R.T. GOALS

To listen to the podcast go to

The acronym S.M.A.R.T stands for

  • Strategic
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound

For each of your goals you are going to need to create a SMART strategy. Today we are just going to start with your most important goal you want to complete in 2018.

Succession Lettuce

Let’s say your SMART goal is to plant a bed of lettuce every week for the first 2 months of spring. It’s:

  • Strategic because you want to eat healthy lettuce while it’s growing before it get’s too hot and bolts in the middle of summer.
  • Measurable because you can schedule out plantings each Saturday morning perhaps starting in April through the end of May.
  • Attainable because by April you should be able to get lettuce seeds started. And if you can’t you can always adjust your dates.
  • Relevant because you like lettuce.
  • Time bound because it will start in April and end in May.

This might seem like a lengthy process but if you really want to achieve your goals and not just say, I’m gonna put in a garden this year, it’s much more likely to be successful.

garden challenge deep boat bed

Two New Deep Beds

Another example of a smart goal might be you want to build 2 new deep beds by Spring growing season.

  • Strategic – deep beds can add convenience, more space for planting, and organization to your garden.
  • Measurable – you have decided you want 2 new beds.
  • Attainable – you can create beds out of recycled materials or purchase new wood if needed.
  • Relevant – deep beds help grow nutritious food.
  • Time-bound – you can give yourself a specific deadline before June 20th the first of Summer.

Here’s a great article by Rodale’s on building deep beds in an afternoon! 

If you need more help with your S.M.A.R.T goals let me know. You are more then welcome to email me at and I will answer as soon as possible.

S.M.A.R.T. Market Farmer

  • Strategic – Reach out to your market manager and 2 fellow farmers.
  • Measurable – Yes because you did reach out or you didn’t
  • Attainable – It’s attainable because you should be able to find your local market manager and fellow farmers
  • Relevant – it’s important because finding out about your market is crucial to your success.
  • Time-bound – you can give yourself a specific deadline like 2 months before the market opens.

Organic Gardener Podcast OGP Facebook Group

Or you can post in the Organic Gardener Facebook Group or message me or Mike on Facebook.

Day Four – Research Time

What do you need to accomplish your goal?

What supplies are you going to need? Where are you going to get them?

Is your goal to plant heirloom tomatoes? Where are you going to get your seed? 

Do you have a catalog? Have you picked out varieties that are acclimated to your climate?

Do you have your seed packets? What are your harvest dates, date to maturity, can you start marking on your calendar when each variety needs to get planted?

Is your goal to sell micro-greens to your local restaurants? Have you made a list of restaurants in your area? Spoke to the chefs? Found out what their needs are? Is there a special herb they would like too?

Are you going to install a new automatic water system? Do you know someone who has one? Is there a local sprinkler service that can help?

Are you wanting to plant Sweet Potatoes? There’s a great video on Johnny’s Select Seed Site or maybe you want to bring in some beneficial insects?

Seed Resources

The Good Seed Company has been a huge source of seed for us. To listen to my interview with Robin Kelson the owner and learn about the Good Seed Company’s roots!

Good Seed Co Webpage

We’ve also used a lot of seeds from Johnny’s Selected SeedsOrganic Peaceful Valley and Bountiful Gardens 

And like I said in Lesson One the Fedco Seed Catalog is highly recommended!

Some other highly recommended seed companies include:

Day Five – Get Organized

What do you need to do first?

For me this is the fun part. Making a list of things to do.

  • If your goal is to build a deep bed, do you know what materials you’re going to choose? Where you’re going to get your soil to fill it? What you’re going to put in there? Seeds? Starts? Transplants? Where will you get them and when do they go in the ground?
  • Perhaps your goal is to create a water feature for bees what’s it going to be made out of? Where will it go? How will you access water? What can they stand on while their drinking so they don’t drown?
  • Maybe your goal is to plant an orchard have you picked out your fruit trees? Do you need fencing? If so how much? Will you need a post hole digger? Where will you get your fence posts?
  • Is your goal to plant an herb garden, then do you have list of herbs you want to get? Will they need full sun or shade? Do they stay out all year or do you need to keep them in pots so you can bring them in during the winter?

Make a list of all the things you will need to purchase or gather and do for each step of your goal. Make sure you have an idea of how long each project will take.

Day Six Photo Time

It’s always good to have a before and after photo to record your progress. When I look back at our place in the early 90s I can’t believe how far we have come. Take a picture now of your before and get ready for the after!

Clearing the mini Farm

Mike clearing the mini farm back in 2014 and his first year of planting it.

Mini Farm after

2018 Garden Goals Challenge

Mike works on a greenhouse to extend our season!

2018 Garden Goal Challenge Raspberry bed

This was our raspberry bed that fed us for years but last year it just finally quit. This is one of the very first beds Mike ever built and is still there today!

Day Seven – REFLECT

Go back to your garden journal goals and see if there are any new goals you’ve decided on or any that you might have left out. Look at your brainstorming list, your list you’ve made. Go back and reflect. 

Paradise Garden Journal

What other things have you decided you would like to accomplish this year?


Do you have something you want to accomplish each month?

Been Teepee

Is there something you learned when you were doing research you think you might also like to take on?

Cut Flower Garden

Kind of make sure you have it all organized in one place. To me, journaling when I hear people talk aobut the importance of journaling is going back and looking back at your journals, and seeing what did you get accomplished. I saw yesterday people are really downloading this so they must like it.

Organic Gardener Podcast OGP Facebook Group

If you want to reach out to Mike and I on Facebook or via email or

I’m so curious where do you hang out? Do you hang out on instagram? What social media channels do you like the best? Tomorrow’s the last day of the 2018 Garden Goals Challenge.



Now I want you to visualize yourself enjoying your garden this summer. You’ve done the hard work, you’ve mastered the challenges, your ready to harvest the fruits of your labor.


Close your eyes and imagine all of your garden dreams have come true. At least the goals we set out in the last few days.


What do your senses say?

What does that look like? What does it feel like? Can you smell it? Can you taste it? Hear it? What do you feel when you pick a fresh flower?

Garden Challenge Beds

Are you drinking coffee or tea and enjoying the lovely aroma? Taking pictures of a beautiful butterfly or flower? Eating a fresh garden salad or apple from your fruit tree?

Dragon Tongue Beans

Can you hear your grand children skipping through your earth-friendly environment? Are people raving over your fresh veggies at the farmer’s market stand?


What does achieving your 2018 garden goals really mean to you?

Organic Gardener Podcast OGP Facebook Group

If you want to reach out to Mike and I on Facebook or via email or

I’m so curious where do you hang out? Do you hang out on instagram? What social media channels do you like the best? Tomorrow’s the last day of the 2018 Garden Goals Challenge.

and don’t forget if you need help getting started check out our new 

Free Garden Course.comFree Organic Garden Course Website

 Free Organic Garden Course 

Remember you can get the  2018 Garden Journal and Data Keeper to record your garden goals in 


 2018 Garden Journal and Data Keeper on sale for just $12.95!!  You can  download the first 30 days here   while you’re waiting for it to come in the mail. 




About the author, Jackie Marie

I'm an artist and educator. I live at the "Organic Oasis" with my husband Mike where we practice earth friendly techniques in our garden nestled in the mountains of Montana.

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