Planting time is getting nearer! (May 5 is the last frost date in my area) If you are like me I’m just itching to get my fingers in dirt this time of year. Here are a few things you can do to get ready:
Make a plan: Decide what you want to plant and where. I always draw a little map and consult last year’s map so I’m not planting the same thing in the same place year after year. Each plant takes different things from the soil so it is good to rotate the things you grow. Also think about watering needs and how big the plants are going to get. You don’t want your tall corn totally shading your other plants. It is best to plant tall crops on the very north side if your rows run east to west. That way they aren’t shading anything else because their shadow will fall behind them for most of the day. Also think about this if you are growing vining plants vertically.
Read up on companion planting. Did you know some plants are good neighbors and some are bad? I like to experiment with this but don’t stress over it too much, it can be a little overwhelming to remember it all. This is a little chart I made that lists beneficial plants and the pests they deter.
Do a little window shopping. I love going to nurseries, there are so many beautiful plants and flowers, it can make a girl’s head spin! I do have to be careful to not get carried away. I try to just buy the seeds I need but it is fun to look. Each year I try to grow something new or in a different way so I like it get ideas from the nursery. Here is a small list of what kind of seeds I buy: Crimson sweet watermelon,
Clean up. Now is a good time to clean out any debris that has collected over the winter or didn’t quite make it out of the garden last year. (Hey, at least you are getting your hands in the dirt!)
Get some compost. If you have an in-ground garden now is a good time to shop around for some good compost. If you have your own homemade compost that’s even better! Don’t use fresh manure at this time, it could burn up your plants. You always want manure to be well aged when using it in the garden. I have some awesome friends that own horses and they give me manure in the fall to add to my garden. Another option for inexpensive compost is many county waste departments have composting facilities where you can get a whole truckload of compost for very little money. These facilities are usually a much better deal than the compost at sand and rock companies. Check around and see what your area offers. My in-ground garden is 55 feet by 17 feet and I use one cubic yard of compost on it and about one cubic yard of compost on my container gardens and flower beds that surround my house. Till or incorporate the compost into your garden to give yourself a blank canvas for planting.
Now you are ready to grow something beautiful!