Spring is finally here, making this the absolute best time to finally start that garden you’ve been meaning to get around to. Whether you’re looking to plant a lush garden full of wildflowers or you want to grow some of your favorite veggies, this is the prime time to lay some seeds down and watch your beauties grow. Here are five tips to get you on your way toward your dream garden.
1. Find the perfect spot.When deciding on the perfect spot for your garden, you’ll want to use a place that’ll give your plants everything they need to flourish. Most flowers and vegetables need between six and eight hours of full sunlight to grow to their fullest potential. When choosing your spot, make sure trees, buildings, or any other types of obstructions don’t block the sunlight. Similarly you’ll want to ensure that the plants will be protected from windy days as well as the impending cold. Some plants are able to survive in a shady spot, but make sure you check the tags or with a local garden just to be certain. Make sure you can easily bring water to the spot—if it’s easily accessible, tending to your garden will be much more enjoyable and more difficult to neglect doing. Additionally it’s helpful to have your garden in a place that you’ll be able to easily notice if there are any issues. Put it right outside a window you look out of every day or right near your back door for instance.
2. Get to know your dirt.The soil you use in your garden is the most important factor that determines whether you’ll have healthy, abundant growth or if your plants will perish. Before anything you’ll have to clear the present sod and any large rocks, which will prevent your garden from becoming immediately overgrown with various weeds. Make sure to dig when the soil is moist so as not to ruin the structure of the area.
From there you’ll want to start improving the quality of your existing soil. Soil tests can be done through your county cooperative extension office or at a nearby nursery where they’ll tell you exactly what your soil needs and how to remedy the situation. The best course of action is to mix compost (dry glass clipping, decayed leaves, etc.) or mulch in with the soil, ensuring a healthy starting point for your garden. Don’t be confused between fertilizer and compost—fertilizer feeds your plants while compost feeds the soil.
3. Choose your garden.Now is the time to finally decide on what type of garden you want to cultivate. Before you start buying plants, make sure to educate yourself on what can/cannot grow in your local environment. There’s a lot of research required in this step of the game, but it’s also the best part! Look into drought tolerant plants, annual plants that need to be replanted every season, perennials that come back year after year, easy care plants, plants that will attract the most amount of bees, and any other specifications you can think of. What it’s going to boil down to is choosing the types of plants/vegetables that you like the most and bringing them home to your garden.
4. Purchase your gardening gear.It’s important to at least have some basic tools on hand, but try not to go overboard on a purchasing frenzy. You’ll want to have a spade, garden fork, shears, hose, hoe, gloves, rake, shovel, hand weeder, and a basket for moving around your soil/mulch at the very least. After awhile you’ll develop a preference for certain tools and will have a better idea of what you absolutely do and do not need.
5. Set a schedule.After you’ve planted your seeds and the seedlings start to peek their faces out from the soil, you’ll want to solidify a schedule as to properly care for your new plants. From weeding to staking to trimming to watering, you’ll always find something that needs to be done in your garden. As time progresses it’s important to keep a record of your garden successes and failures. In this way, you’ll be able to learn what’s working and what isn’t. A concrete schedule will help you remember what time of the year certain plants will bloom so you know when to give what plants your attention.
This list should at least put you on the path toward developing your own dream garden. Get down and dirty, and embrace spring with open arms. Make sure you download our Pocket Ranger® mobile apps to visit a local park near you for some inspiration!