Is there anything better than growing your own produce? Just making a meal for your loved ones, gathering fresh fruit and vegetables, directly from your garden to the kitchen, in less than five minutes? Just that first, juicy bite into the freshest veggies you ever had. We think we’re pretty clear on this.
With all that in mind, we would like to remind you that spring is almost here, which means – it’s time to prepare your garden. Below you can find a couple of tips on how to do just that.
Know your growing seasons
Now, this first piece of advice is perhaps the most important. It is also the hardest to explain with an article like this. Namely, it really depends on your geographic location, in which zone you are. Obviously, warmer places have longer growing seasons compared to colder zones. You need to figure out what is the first, and the last, frost date in your zone. Of course, predicting the weather is pretty impossible. Still, you should know when you’re safe, and when you’re not. This is the difference between wonderful, juicy produce, and dead, wilted future-fertilizer.
It’s best you consult an expert, or do some research on growing zones. However, going into detail on this issue is far outside the scope of this article.
Next, you want to prepare your soil properly. Think about whether you will be using raised beds, or containers. If you have space, you should set up a raised bed. All you will need are some bricks and old wooden planks, and you’re good to go. On the other hand, containers work just fine if you can’t go with the first option.
Using containers and raised beds means having more control over soil composition. Plants get their nutrients from the soil. This influences not only their size but also how tasty they are. The composition varies depending on what kind of veggies you intend to grow. Still, there are two general directions you can go with.
First, one-third, of course, horticultural vermiculite, one-third of blended compost, and one-third of peat moss represents a pretty safe choice. You can also go with half of your soil being high-quality compost, and the other half screened topsoil. Remember to properly cultivate and till your soil. Cultivation means removing weeds and fluffing the top level of soil. This allows air and water to go in more easily. Tiling is overturning the soil up to 8 inches deep. It refreshes and prepares it for the new veggie arrivals.
Prepping your garden
For your garden bed, raised or otherwise, you should consider making sections. In other words, you use some string, some nails or sticks, and you divide your garden into several squares. We suggest you use a square foot as a measurement. You can put various plants, one type for each square. Some will have one seedling, some will have many, depending on the size of the plant.
Furthermore, clear out any weeds, old mulch, and debris. Don’t be lazy, do some spring cleaning for your spring gardening. Many weeds may have survived the winter, lying dormant in the soil. They will, for obvious reasons, cause havoc.
First, buy the seeds you want. Think about whether the plant you want to grow actually can grow in the weather conditions of your area. Then, start planting. Follow the instructions on the packet. These will usually tell you what the optimal time for planting them is. Put them in soil that is at least 3 inches deep, and always use fresh soil. The seed packet will also tell you how deep you need to plant your plants. Remember to moisten them just a wee bit with a watering can.
Most people are not aware of just how complicated watering a plant actually is. Rainfall is usually not enough to give you the results you want. You can have the best tools possible, you can get amazing retractable hose reels, the fanciest rakes, the most expensive watering systems… All this will be for nothing if you don’t know how to water properly.
First of all, always water at the base of the plant. Second, the soil needs to be tilled and cultivated properly. Otherwise, you will get puddles of water at the surface, with very little actually trickling down to the roots. In fact, even heavy rainfall won’t help you if you haven’t tilled the soil properly. It will just accumulate and evaporate on the surface. The soil may be too compacted and thick to let any water through.
Adding some mulch will help the soil absorb the water better. It will also give valuable nutrients to the plants. Furthermore, watering them during the hottest parts of the day may sound logical. But, it’s actually far from useful. The water will evaporate, it won’t have enough time to reach the roots. This will net you wilted, bland veggies at best.
And there you have it folks, some quick tips on preparing your garden for spring. It doesn’t have to be as hard as you think, as long as you’re thorough. Prepare your garden beds, and clean up your backyard. Treat your seeds properly, and remember how important the composition of the soil you’re using is. Water properly, get some fancy tools and experiment with sectioning your garden.
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