Garden Dreaming

Seeds copyright Lucy Bridges via flickrHere’s a thought to warm up to: garden season is a few short months away. And if gardening is one of your goals for 2013, now is the perfect month to start planning.

So take advantage of the long nights to dream about the longer days of the year, those sun-filled garden days…

Decisions, Decisions

The first step in garden planning is deciding what type of garden you would like to have. Among the choices:

  • Vegetable.  Nothing tastes fresher than spring peas right off the vine or a sun-warmed June strawberry.
  • Wildlife. Native plants, which make less demands on the water supply, provide food and habitat for birds and other wildlife.
  • Butterfly. By planting the right host and nectar plants you’ll get the chance to see the miraculous life cycle of these beautiful insects.
  • Flower. Invite essential pollinators into your garden while adding beauty at the same time

Gather Information

Now that you know what type of garden you want, it’s time to dig a little deeper and gather information and what to plant. Visit websites, flip through garden magazines, talk to friends and neighbors about what grows best in your neighborhood. All the while, keep these essential questions in mind:

  • How much sun will the garden receive? If you’re going to grow vegetables or herbs, they generally need full sun. Full sun is considered to be six or more hours of direct light.
  • Do you have enough space? Trees and shrubs will grow and what is small in a pot today can grow, depending on the plant, larger than your house. Be aware of septic systems and electrical lines when siting gardens or plantings.
  • Where is the best place to plant? Don’t be afraid to think outside the fence. If you have more sun in your front yard, grow the vegetables there. I have seen some beautiful, very appealing front yard vegetable gardens.

Make a Plan

Some people like to draw out the garden on paper, others prefer to list the plants on their computer. Whatever you plan out, cut it in half. While those five varieties of heirloom tomatoes would be lovely, do you really have the time, space, and the energy to water and weed all of those plants this summer time and preserve all those extra fruits in the early fall?

Remember: a garden can always be expanded to fit in one more raised bed or another section of perennials, but it’s a lot more difficult to scale back mid-season.

Spring will be here before we know it, and when that time comes stay tuned for more garden tips and tricks. In the meantime, happy planning. And do share what your garden plans will be for this year.   — Kathi

Photo copyright Lucy Bridges via flickr

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