Garden season is here! It's so exciting to begin to wave goodbye to winter and welcome in Spring with open arms. Here is a helpful list of five things to consider when planting your garden - they will help you maximize the many wonderful benefits there are to having your very own back yard grocery store.
- Choose plants and seeds according to what your family likes and eats. If everyone in your household hates greens, then there's little point in stocking up on spinach and collards seeds.
- When you're planning, leave room to succession plant. For a good supply of vegetables right through the summer and fall, you'll want to plant at roughly two to three week intervals. If you plant everything at once, you'll suddenly find yourself with a glut, all in one go. Greens, beans, root crops and squash are good examples of things to make three or four plantings of through the season.
- You know what they say - location, location, location. Pay attention to where the sun rises, its path, and where it sets. You need your garden to have as much sun as possible throughout the day. Fruiting crops - tomatoes, peppers, squash - all need as much sun as they can get. If you have a shaded area, don't despair, use it for greens and root vegetables, which don't need as much sun. Try to plant your rows so that they don't shade each other throughout the day.
- Plan ahead for next year: plant heirlooms. Seeds can be harvested and stored for following seasons, meaning you only buy seeds once and you stay away from Monsanto and the GMOs.
- Work with what you have. Make the most of what you have, rather than trying to twist and force it to fit what you want. Consider your ground when you choose varieties. Some types do better in certain kinds of ground, and there are also practical considerations; don't expect to grow 5" carrots when you have Georgia clay. Choose the shorter, fatter kinds, like the Danvers.
There's no point in lying, gardens are hard work. There's always something needs tending, weeds pulling, watering in hot weather, harvesting, preserving produce... the list goes on. But at the end of the day, you have all this beautiful, fresh produce to share with your family and friends - and nothing tastes better than home grown!