If you’re an avid gardener who can hardly wait to get back in you vegetable patch, the dead of winter can be an especially challenging time. Now that the weather is not yet cooperating, take this time to plan your garden. Here are a few tips.
Consider an Online Planning Tool
Electronic gardening planners can help you decide and keep track of the numerous variables of your vegetable garden. When to plant? What to plant? How close to plant? How to avoid frost dates for your region? These online tools provide this guidance and maintain your records for future reference.
Online garden planners are easy enough to find-just search the Web for “Garden Planner.” Some are free while others require an annual subscription fee. Even most of the subscription-based types offer a free trial period that enables you to use every feature, so you can really get a feel for how easy the software is to use and if it gives you the information you need. The information several offer can be very detailed. For example, they can show you the amount of distance you should allow between adjacent crops like tomatoes and asparagus, and the process for using the same soil to plant fall carrots after spring peas.
The starting point of any plan is to determine the size your can dedicate to your garden. What shape will it be-square, rectangular, even triangular? Be sure to include the walkway that surrounds your garden in your calculations. Draw this out on graph paper, with clearly marked increments.
Raised Beds or Not?
Raised beds and netting covers can deter pests that would like to make a meal of your vegetables before you have a chance to. These beds are easy to build from wood, concrete blocks or ready-made kits.
Now comes what many gardeners consider the most fun part of garden planning: selecting which vegetables to grow. While you’re dreaming of the juicy, ripe tomatoes you’ll harvest or the fresh beans you’ll pick, be sure to thoroughly read about each plant. Considerations include:
- When to plant
- When to harvest
- Soil requirements
- Sun requirements
- Drainage requirements
- Feeding requirements
- Frost tolerance
- Best companion plants
Are the aesthetics of the garden important to you? If so, consider adding some flowers in colors that complement the colors of your vegetables. Ornamental plants in interesting pots can serve to dress up your space. And don’t overlook the value of a garden statue to create a focal point.
Learn Frost Dates
To avoid your tender veggie plants from becoming flash-frozen, research the first and last freeze and frost dates in your region. Check, too, for specific information about the crops you intend to plant.
Consider a Children’s Vegetable Garden
Here’s a great way to get young kids excited about eating produce: let them have their very own garden. An easy vegetable garden can be fun for the kids and a valuable way to pass along gardening lessons. Make your child feel like Jack and the Beanstalk by adding sturdy sunflowers that will grow taller than your little one. Construct a teepee from bamboo canes and train vegetable vines to cover it, to add some whimsy and fire your child’s imagination.
With a little planning, design and research, you can make your garden the perfect space to pursue your passion for gardening and produce vegetables that can that make you proud.
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