Now Is The Time To Plan A Summer Garden Part 2

Now Is The Time To Plan A Summer Garden Part 2

Let’s Get Dirty!
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Now Is The Time To Plan A Summer Garden Part 2
Wednesday, February 24, 2010 - 9:42am


Let’s Get Dirty!

If you’ve been following our blog series, Now Is The Time To Plan Your Summer Garden, then you already have a head start on creating your own sustainable garden. While the weather is still cold, and your gardening enthusiasm is still high, get out your garden journal and take stock of what you’ve already learned. Then it’s time to start planning your garden space.

Get specific.
Take a look at the information you’ve collected in your garden journal. Now’s the time to address problems you see in your garden space, as well as plan your planting strategy.

1-What is the best position for your fruiting plants, now that you see how the sun moves across your garden space?

2-What is the current status of your soil, what specific things does it need? More Nitrogen? More silt or clay?

3-What will you do to get rid of your pest problems? Will you use chemical insecticides or natural remedies? Will you use naturally repelling plants, or possibly a predator such as a chicken?

4-Will you create a raised garden bed, or do you need a garden tiller to turn the soil? Will you put up a barrier to keep wildlife like deer and rabbits out? Will you use a tomato cage around your tomatoes? How will you handle your climbing plants like cucumbers and zucchini, which need to be up off the ground to prevent rotting. Do you have a trellis? Or will you use a system of stakes and twine to create a support system? (Old pantyhose will work as well as twine for this type of support, too.)

Before you pick up a hoe or plant anything, answering these questions will save you mountains of frustration when the heat of summer saps your gardening will.

Draw yourself a picture.
Now, get down to the actual planning of your garden. All you need is a rough aerial-view sketch of the shape of your yard and the location of your planting area. Specific measurements and drawn-to-scale renderings aren’t necessary. Makes notes about germination times, length of growing season and any information you have about what plants will grow well together in your area.

If you’re starting seedlings from a seed packet, you’ll need time for the plants to sprout. You’ll need to get started on that right away, so keep that in mind. Find out how to start your seeds here.

Also, keep the hardiness of the plants you choose in mind as well. Summer can be brutal for plants as well as people. Remember that it will be hot, humid and parched in July. If you’re not inclined to work in your garden when the sun is high, or if water is a concern, choose plants that like shade or that are drought tolerant. Check out The 10 Easiest Vegetables to Grow at Home for some good ideas for first timers.

Finally, start digging!
This is the part where you can finally get your hands dirty. After all the hard work you’ve put in observing, analyzing, and planning, the execution will become so much easier and simpler. You’re simply putting into practice what you already know in theory. As soon as the weather will permit, get out and get started.

You’ll want to prepare the soil by turning it and creating planting rows or by creating a raised bed as I mentioned above. This is also the time to add any soil amendments and fertilizers. Work them well into the soil, and turn several times over the next few weeks to make sure your beds are ready to host seedlings. Watch a good collection of videos about tilling and planting here.

As soon as the danger of frost has passed, you’ll be ready to put your plants in the ground.

Next week, find out about caring for your plants - weeding, pruning and watering.

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