The Ultimate Planning Guide for your Spring Garden

The Ultimate Planning Guide for your Spring Garden

Spring won’t officially begin until March, but you shouldn’t wait until then to begin work on your spring garden. In fact, true gardeners consider January 1 the official kick-off to planning their perfect garden. Your best growing efforts require early preparation and planning, things that avid gardeners live for. In fact, these early steps can be among the most satisfying in your annual gardening journey. Anticipation, after all, is almost as good as the reality of thriving plants. So take advantage of these winter months to plan the best looking and most productive spring garden of your life.

Browse Magazines and the Web

Now that the holidays are over, you can shift your attention from gift shopping to seed and plant shopping. You should gleefully immerse yourself in all the online sites and horticulture magazines and pick out new varieties to try in your own garden. Take your time and dream big! Try to incorporate at least several new ideas into your garden plans to keep things fresh and exciting. You can order your seed choices now and know what plants to look for when the garden centers open this spring. Garden dreaming is a healthy activity that can fight off those cold winter blues. It also prepares you to spring into action just as soon as the weather allows. The best gardeners are the prepared gardeners.

Choose the Location

You need to choose the right location for your garden, one that is attractive and fertile. If you’ve planted a garden in the past that didn’t deliver the results you wanted, try a different spot for this year’s efforts. Your garden needs to be in a spot that gets sun most of the day during the spring and summer. Picture the winter trees with full lush branches before you decide. Winter’s bare branches can be deceiving. Also pick a spot that gives you easy access to the resources you need, including water, electricity and tool storage. Include room for a discreet compost pile if you are planning to use one.

Prepare the Soil

Begin first by testing the soil. You can even do this ahead of time, in the fall. Many gardeners skip this step, but in the end, it can save you both time and money. Next, mark off your new garden beds and then use a spade to remove any grass. When that step is done, you will need to turn or till the soil to remove roots, rocks and any other debris. Work in a healthy amount of compost as you go, thoroughly blending it into the newly exposed soil.

If you are simply using existing garden beds, work on improving the quality of your soil by covering it with an inch or so of compost several weeks before planting begins. Also make certain that you loosen the soil, allowing it to both dry out and warm up, creating a perfect climate for new plants or seeds.

Choose Ornamental Vegetables

Your garden can be purely utilitarian, containing only the healthy vegetables that your family will consume all year long. With planning, however, you can create a vegetable garden that is aesthetically pleasing as well as a source of healthy food.

Gardeners who combine ornamental and vegetable gardening recommend planting in blocks of color, using such edibles as purple basil and blue-green cabbage. Colorful peppers and chiles also add a vibrant burst to the garden. Instead of planting in rows, consider planting in square or rectangular sections, mixing varieties of plants to create an eye-catching look.

You can also add beauty to your vegetable garden by using attractive fencing or edging. You may also choose to use live borders, perhaps using nasturtiums, a beautiful and edible flower. Don’t forget decorative items such as fountains to add another dimension of design.

Combine Flower and Vegetable Gardens

You may choose to combine flower and vegetable gardens to make the most of your space. More adventurous gardeners will follow the French model and let their pole beans grow next to trumpet vines. Doing so benefits your efforts by adding more than beauty. In fact, including flowers can make your vegetables grow better.

Flowers attract the butterflies and bees that are needed to properly pollinate your vegetables. If your garden doesn’t receive this pollination, your vegetables will not grow. Flowers also attract other beneficial insects that drive away harmful pests. Remember, spiders are a gardener’s friend.

You will need to make certain that you meet the needs of both your vegetables and flowers in terms of sunlight, water, etc. And don’t be afraid to embrace vegetables as ornamental as well. Many of them are attractive as well as practical. For instance, you can use kale to provide dark green foliage as well as a healthy ingredient in many of your dishes. And pea blossoms are delicate and beautiful.

Gardens bring joy to those who plant them and those who simply appreciate their beauty. If you begin to plan and prepare now, in the depths of winter, your annual garden can be a masterpiece of color and utility. Vegetable gardens do not have to be strictly regimented rows of healthy produce. Instead, they can be creatively planted to display the beauty of beans and cabbage. Or, you can combine the practicality of vegetables with the beauty of flowers. You have many choices when it comes to your garden, and you can begin making those choices right now.