If you have the backyard space for a garden, it’s a great way to get outside and reconnect with the earth. The benefits of gardening are countless. It gives a sense of pride to the gardener, reduces the grocery bill, and eases the fear of wondering where your food came from and what was used to grow it. Not to mention, home grown fruits and veggies taste better than store-bought produce.
Whether you’re a novice or advanced gardener, these tips and tricks will help you make the most of your spring garden.
If you lack space or time, don’t overwhelm yourself with a 100 sq. ft. plot. Are you going to commit to weeding and watering a large garden every other night? Keep your other hobbies and tasks in mind. How much time can you commit? This will help avoid burnout later in the year.
Have a Plan
Going in without a plan is never a good idea. It helps to sketch out where you want each plant and how much space it will take. Also, certain plants enjoy other plants’ company. Here’s a comprehensive guide showing which plants grow best next to each other.
Know Your Plants
This goes along with having a plan. Each type of plant has its own characteristics. Here are just a few things to consider—lighting, location, amount of water, soil depth, planting time and harvest, and allotted space. Check the packaging to make sure you plant accordingly.
Too little or too much of anything can kill a plant. There are some great online plant charts that make planting easy to understand. Lack of knowledge can result in failure.
Test the Soil
A big step that many new gardeners tend to overlook is testing their soil. This chemical test shows the pH level, nutrient content, and organic matter of the soil. A soil test is cheap and can be found at your local co-op extension.
Structures matter with certain types of plants. For instance, vine plants such as tomatoes need something to climb to flourish, whether it be a wire cage or fence. Watermelons, pumpkins, zucchinis, and cucumbers grow out and around, taking up a lot of space. They also grow best raised slightly above the ground.
Photo by Flickr user, DDJClarke
Watch the Weather
One frost can kill a plant. If the weatherman calls for extreme cold, be proactive and protect your garden with a tarp or light blanket. If it hasn’t rained for several days, water deeper than the surface to guarantee you drench the root systems.
Purchasing locally not only supports your community, but also gives you the freedom of knowing exactly what you asked for. The local nursery and horticulturist can also be a great resource if you have questions.
Photo by Flickr user, COD Newsroom
Compost is a great way to enrich the soil. If you don’t have a compost pile, you can purchase compost from your local nursery. If you’d like to start your own, check out this simple guide! It’s easy and great for the environment.
Rotate the Plants
If you are planting in the same space as the year before, remember to change up the plants and their spots in the garden. Soil can be stripped of its natural nutrients without variation in the types of plants sown each year.
Any other tips? Let us know in our comments section!