This morning, even though it was about 25 degrees out, I armed myself with a tape measure and confirmed once and for all that yes indeed, I will have room for the grow beds that I've had my eyes on.
Lengthwise I have as much room as I want. Widthwise I have about 5 feet, and I only need 3 feet - perfect - we'll have room for the beds and then room to walk around them. I've decided that I'm going to spring for two of the 3' x 3' beds as well as one of the 1.5' x 3' bed for my herbs. I'm also going to invest in a netted covering for one of the 3' x 3' beds - the bed that will most likely be targeted by the neighborhood wildlife.
The first 3' x 3' bed will be for "tall" vegetables, namely my tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant. The second 3' x 3' bed will be for my "short" vegetables. This second bed will be broken up into an early/cool planting, followed by a later/hot planting. The early planting will include short plants such as radish, beets, carrots, onions, and greens. The later planting will include climbers such as squash, zucchini, melon, and cucumber.
I've used my stunted Excel skills to create a crude visual map for myself (yeah technology!):
In addition to an outdoor map, I've also laid out plans for my indoor seed starting operation. I will be using the same seed starting set-up as last year - it worked so well for me. My 6-cube tray will be filled with herbs, and my 40-cube tray will be filled with everything else. I won't be starting as many seedlings of each variety as I did last year. I ended up having too many plants and not enough space - noone wants to spend the love, time, and energy to nurture a seedling and then not be able to give it a good home.
Lastly, I've got my seed-planting calendar created. My first indoor sowing begins the week of February 22nd. Now I just have to clean up last year's mess in the yard and order my raised beds.
Things are starting to take shape!