|Springtime Joy in the Garden|
Method by Robin
It’s officially spring, and sometime between early April and late May, folks in the 48 contiguous states will start preparing their gardens. Soon we’ll be digging the beds, removing the weeds, and amending the soil—or preparing the containers. Then we’ll be planting the seeds or seedlings, slug/bug-proofing, watering, fertilizing, and mulching. And later, feasting on our harvest. But first, for a productive growing season filled with just enough of the veggies that we love without overworking ourselves, it’s best to do some planning. Here are some tips for looking at your space, time, energy, and budget before you start planting.
1. Start small. It’s tempting to want to plant a large variety of things, so remember that upkeep is more work than planting. Most plants require regular watering, weeding, and fertilizing. Some may need to have suckers trimmed or be trained to climb strings. Harvesting can also be time consuming, for example if you have 11 tomato plants (as I found out last year).
2. Figure out where you have space to garden, and observe how much sun the area gets. This will help you to determine which plants are best suited to your potential garden plot/s. For most veggies, a sunny place protected from the wind is best. You might have several places in mind. Choose the best place to start (step 6) and complete that plot before starting another.
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4. Hinted at in step 3: consider flowers as well as veggies. Many draw bees, which will pollinate your veggies and produce larger harvests. Poppies (culinary and ornamental), cosmos, zinnias, and nigella (love in a mist) are easy to grow. Alyssum can be used for decorative scented borders. Calendulas, nasturiums, and borage are edible and add interest to salads, but be aware that the latter two can spread quite a bit.
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6. Now that you’ve narrowed down the plant varieties that you like, assess which will fit into your available garden space from step 2. Consider both amount of sun and amount of space each variety needs. If a plant has high nutrient needs, or needs significantly unlike the soil that you have, are you willing to put time, effort, and money into soil amendments? If not, choose a less finicky plant.
|Culinary Poppies Reseeding in Planter|
8. Find out the approximate price of soil amendments, mulch, and fertilizer, and estimate the amount needed for the whole season. Price out containers, tomato cages, etc., as well as any garden tools and gloves you’ll need. Add in the estimated cost of the plants (usually minimal compared with other stuff). This will give you a good idea of how much to budget for the garden. You might also want to factor in water usage, and how much money you’ll be saving on veggies at harvest time to estimate your cash flow.
|Fruit Trees: Subject for Future Post|
Got some ideas about what to plant this year? Leave us a comment and let us know!