Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Getting started in your garden

It is a perfect time to start planning and preparing your garden for next year. As the saying goes "Gardens are not made by singing Oh how beautiful, and sitting in the shade". So here are some helpful tips on what you can do now to prepare.

If you are starting from scratch begin with choosing the right location. This means looking for the spot where your plants will get 8 hours of direct sun, have easy access to water, and fertile soil to sink their roots into.

If space is a problem you can effectively grow vegetables and herbs in containers. Just find a spot with full sun. Your containers need to be large enough for plants to grow to full size. You can also inter plant vegetables in your perennial beds.

Grow boxes are an excellent solution for yards with bad soil. They also make tending to your plants easier and your garden look sharp. Watch for upcoming posts on grow box gardens.

Fall is the best time to prepare your soil as Mother Nature provides you with an abundant source of free compost, leaves. Simply chop and turn fallen leaves into the soil. Sprinkling a little nitrogen fertilizer on top to help the leaves break down, then let the worms to do the rest of the work.

Add other forms of organic material now to your garden for rich, fertile soil in the spring. Other than leaves, steer manure and other compost products from your local garden centers make excellent organic additives.

Now may be a good time to have your soil tested. Soil tests tell you the condition of your soil nutrient levels. Knowing if you have an excess or deficiency of nutrients is important and gives you the information needed to fix any problems. You can purchase soil test kits and do it yourself, but for more accurate information contact your local agricultural extension office to have it tested.

Start planning how you will water your garden because after all, vegetables will not grow without adequate water. Watering by hand can be fun but also very labor intensive. If you don't have the time chances are your plants will suffer. A better option is an automatic watering system. We prefer a drip irrigation system because it saves time and conserves water by delivering the right amount directly to the plant.

Lastly, make a plan of what you want to plant in your garden, and what you will have space for. It is a good idea to start out small and work up to a larger garden. Gardening should be enjoyable and starting small will ensure it stays that way. After all, you can always expand later if you find that you like it as much as I do, and have enough time to properly manage it.

Do you have garden planning ideas?  Please share them with us.  Because the more we know the more we grow.

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