If this is your first experience with gardening, it would be a good idea to spend some time preparing your garden before you buy any seeds or hoe an inch of soil. Our full-sized plots are 15X20 feet, half plots are, well, half of that! When the garden opens, hopefully in April, you will be able to get an exact measurement of your plot. When you plan your garden, be sure to leave enough room for you to work around your plants. Here are some suggestions and resources for you:
1. The easiest thing is to use a sheet of graph paper and draw a map of your garden. We keep our maps from one year to another so that we remember what we planted and, more importantly where it was planted. This helps to do some basic crop rotation and to amend the soil in areas where we had heavy feeding plants such as tomatoes and cabbages.
2. Look into a garden planning kit, program, or online resource. One suggestion is to try the planner available at Jung's Seeds: http://gardenplanner.jungseed.com/ You are able to use it for free for one month, and then if you decide to keep the program you pay a fee for the year. I have not used it, but know of people who have and they found it very helpful.
3. The Vegetable Cultivars for Wisconsin, available at this link: learningstore.uwex.edu/assets/pdfs/A1653.PD is an excellent resource.
Happy planning! It gets us through snowy winter days.