Spring is right around the corner. Although it may seem early with the harsh winter weather, now is the time to start planning for a spring vegetable garden! If this is your first year gardening, there are many factors to consider, from what grows best in your area, to when you should start planting. Here are just a few tips to help you get started!
Simple Tips for Garden Planning this Spring
Vegetable gardening can be fun, easy and very productive. Planning out your garden before planting is essential to gardening success. Before you begin, design your garden and use this guide to help you find out the best garden for you. If you’re searching for the best vegetables to grow for beginners, click this great guide!
Find Out Your Gardening Zone
Depending on where you live, determines your zone. Check out this guide to zones and figure out what zone you’re in based off this guide. This will also tell you how long your growing season is and what plants grow well in it.
For instance, living in Montana limits me to zones 3-4, which means there is a huge limit to what I can grow. I have to start seeds indoors, and some things need to be in greenhouses for months! Once you figure out what zone you’re in, you can find plants that grow in your area ensuring you are planting plants that can thrive in your area.
Choose Your Garden Type
There are many types of gardening techniques, such as back to Eden gardening or planting in garden beds. Consider how large of an area you have to create a garden, how much time you have to dedicate to it, and what you want to plant.
Think about how much sun or shade you have in those areas. Is the area windy? Try to keep in mind things like: container garden plants cannot have deep roots, carrots need soft soil in order for their roots to grow large and deep, cabbage does well in colder shaded areas and tomatoes thrive in lots of sunlight.
- Here is a great guide to container planting: Container Gardening with Vegetables
- If you’re looking into raised garden beds, I’d suggest this post: The Ultimate Guide to Raised Garden Beds
- Gardening in the shade can be difficult, here’s a post to help you out here: Vegetables and Herbs for Growing in the Shade
- Want to know more about no till gardening? Look into it here: 3 No Till Gardening Methods
Start Picking Out Your Seeds
This is my favorite part! It’s best to consider where you’re planting and what kinds of fruits and vegetables you like.
- how long it takes to grow to maturity
- if you’re willing to start seeds indoors
- what area you’re planting in
- what zone you’re planting.
Take into consideration from where you would like to get your seeds. There are usually local seed companies, and that’s a good place to start because they will have seeds specific to your zone. Ordering non-GMO and heirloom seeds is also a great option.
Test Your Gardening Soil
Plants can be finicky. If you’re looking for your plants to thrive, it’s best to make sure they are planted into the best environment possible.
For instance, if you’re interested in planting blueberries, it’s important to note that blueberries love acidic soil. If the soil isn’t acidic, they won’t thrive.
Testing the soil and adding whatever nutrients are needed will give you the healthiest fruits and vegetables with high harvesting yields. You can buy a soil testing kit online. Once you have your soil tested, be sure to make soil amendments for the plants you want to grow.
Consider Companion Planting
Companion planting is the process of planting flowers, herbs, and vegetables together that offer benefits to one another. Companion planting can help with soil conditions, repel insects and attract pollinators.
To keep your companion planting strategy in order, make a list of all the plants you’re interested in growing in your garden. Then, write down what plants grow well with each of those and start planning out your garden!
Start Seeds Indoors
Living in gardening zone 4 equates to a short, dry, cold growing season. Most of the vegetables I have grown in the past have done best started indoors. These include zucchini, tomatoes, herbs and cucumbers.
Depending on where you’re living, and the growing conditions, you may have to start certain seeds indoors, earlier, to allow your plants to make it to maturity.
Growing seedlings indoors can be difficult. Lighting conditions and heat have to be perfect for germination. Each plant is different too. The best course of action is to research each plant before starting indoors.
Here are a couple links to great products to start your seeds indoors:
One tidbit to remember is that not all seeds can be started indoors and transplanted outdoors. Carrots do much better planted directly into the soil, lettuce and cabbage also seems to do better planted directly into the soil. Most plant packets will have general instructions.
Sprintime can bring tons of mud too! That’s why I always keep a handy pair of muck boots on hand. HISEA boots are a great option as they are waterproof and come with a lifetime warranty! Be sure to keep your feet warm and dry as your work outdoors!
This is just a small overview of growing a spring vegetable garden. Most of what happens in gardening is trial and error. Soil changes from region to region, zones are general guidelines but not necessarily going to tell you everything about what you should plant and when. Make sure to look at the seed packets for information on the plant. Most importantly, have fun!
Gardening will soon become and addiction, and you’ll be like me, waiting on the edge of your seat for winter to pass so you can begin planting your spring vegetable garden again!
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