Are you anxiously awaiting the spring growing season? Instead of waiting for the weary winter months to end, use your time wisely by planning your upcoming spring garden now. With a few hours of proper garden planning and preparation, you can create the garden of your dreams.
Select Your Site
For first-time gardeners, you will need to select a space for your spring garden. Whether you are planning to plant a vegetable, herb and/or flower garden, you should consider these factors when choosing your garden site.
Since the success of your garden depends greatly on its location, you should select a space that receives an ample amount of sunlight. While some leafy vegetables thrive with less light, most flowering plants need at least 6 hours of sunlight a day.
Although some gardeners may rely on rain to irrigate their gardens, make sure yours is near a reliable water source, like a spigot or a hose. During the growing season, a 1,000 square foot garden requires 1,000 gallons of water a week; that's one inch of water a day! Without an adequate water supply, your garden will not produce anything worth harvesting.
Proximity to Trees
Give your garden a fighting chance by placing your plants nowhere near trees. Not only do trees cast speckled shadows, but they also compete with plants for water and essential nutrients. Keep your garden healthy and happy by planting it 20-40 feet away from any trees in your yard.
How Will Your Garden Grow
If you are unable to find a sufficient gardening space that meets the above criteria, here are some other ways you can grow a garden.
Raised Bed Gardening
Rise above problematic gardening terrain with raised beds. Unlike traditional garden beds, raised beds can be elevated anywhere from six inches to two feet off the ground, giving you complete control over your garden soil. By filling raised beds with nutrient-rich soil and fresh compost, you will be able to grow carrots, cabbage and other deep-rooting plants with ease.
Do you lack the space for a garden? Whether you live in a small apartment or a condominium, you can exercise your green thumb by creating container gardens. With a healthy smattering of soil, sunlight and water, you can grow juicy tomatoes, sweet strawberries or spicy peppers virtually anywhere.
Choose Your Seeds
Before you select your seeds, research what grows best in your region. If you have neighbors or friends who garden, ask them about their past gardening experiences. Which plants in their gardens thrived? Which plants didn't? The more information you have, the more successful your garden will be.
Plan it on Paper
Prevent yourself from overcrowding your garden by mapping it out on paper first. Using a piece of graph paper, a ruler and a pencil, sketch out a basic diagram of your garden's dimensions. Create a rough outline by noting nearby trees, shrubs and possible garden pathways. Fill in the vacant space with rows of vegetables, herbs and flowers, leaving enough room in between for each plant to grow.
Create a Garden Calendar
While it may be tempting to start planting your spring garden now, you'll need to wait until the weather is just right. Since the cold winter weather won't subside for a few more months, you can use this time to prepare a planting calendar for your garden. Experienced gardeners use garden calendars to keep track of everything in their garden, from preliminary planting dates to everyday garden tasks.