Spring Garden Planning By Thomas M Bird
Posted: Dec 29, 2015
Winter has just arrived but it’s not to early to think about spring and your garden. Start planning now because before you know it it will be time to start your seedlings and get everything planted. Gardens are more popular than ever these days due to the constantly rising cost of produce and the growing trend toward eating healthy, organic foods. Growing your own food insures you’ll always have the freshest and best tasting fruits and vegetables, and you’ll know they are free of strong pesticides and other unwanted additions. Before diving in though, you’ll need to do some serious planning first to ensure your harvest is a big success rather than an exercise in frustration. You need to decide where you’re going to put your garden, what will grow best there, what you want to grow, and how to best make sure it grows big and productive. Maintaining a successful garden takes a lot of work, but the rewards are more than worth it. Growing your own herbs and produce is healthier and can save you money. Read on to learn more about planning a successful garden.
The first thing to do is to decide where you’d like to plant your garden. Choose an area of your yard that gets plenty of sun (8 hours or more a day is idea) and has good drainage. If you want to grow most herbs and vegetables, you’ll need as much sun as possible. You’ll also want to chose an area that will be easy to water. If your plot winds up in an area your garden hose can’t reach, that will mean more work for you to keep your plants happy, and vegetable plants are very thirsty!
Next, check what zone you are in. The Dept. of Agriculture has divided the country into 26 plant hardiness zones. These zones are determined by the average dates of each area’s first and last frost. Make sure you know yours as not all plants will do well in all zones, and if you are starting from seed, the zone determines when you need to get started and when you can plant the seedlings in the ground.
Choosing What to Plant
Of course you should always choose the vegetables and herbs you use and enjoy the most, but when deciding on what varieties, keep in mind the size they will grow too. Things like beans, tomatoes and melons will need a lot of room if you want to grow the traditional kind, but look for the "bush" varieties if you want more compact plants. Cherry tomatoes are a great choice if your space is really limited as they can be grow from a hanging planter. The more compact varieties of many kinds of veggies and herbs, and fruits like strawberries can easily be grown in containers as well.
Your soil is very important. It should be well aerated and enriched with compost or manure. You can have it tested or by the kit and do it yourself as well, this will help you determine if you need to adjust things like the PH or add nutrients like nitrogen.
This is crucial. You’ll need to water, weed and fertilize regularly. How often depends on the exact crops you’re growing, but it’s important to water evenly and regularly. Uneven watering can result in misshapen or cracked fruits and overall failure to thrive. When you water is important too. Don’t water near or after sunset. Leaving plants wet all night can contribute to fungal diseases. You should also use care not to water during the hottest part of the day (10am-3pm) as the sun shining on wet leaves can cause burns. Water in the morning or late afternoon.
About the Author: Thomas M. Bird is a contributing author and recently retired landscape designer with a specialty in drought resistant and natural landscaping, soil restoration and modern design. He often recommended gravel and sand suppliers to his clients who were looking for top quality top soil or mulch for their gardens with competitive pricing and minimum hassle. He came to rely on their tradition of outstanding service, quality and customer care.
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