Plan Your Vegetable Garden
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Plan Your Garden
Brighten cold days by looking through a stack of seed catalogs and start planning your spring garden.
Seed catalogs are helpful in the planning process; see the new plants and products being offered this year and mark your favorites. Then make a list and formulate a clear plan.Date Published: January 11, 2018Date Updated: January 12, 2018
When selecting vegetable varieties, pay close attention to the description on the tag or in the catalog to understand which plants best suit your environment and space. Once you've picked your plants, be sure to order your seeds early, as popular breeds often sell out quickly. Have your seeds on hand before the planting season begins so you're ready to start once the season arrives.Date Published: January 11, 2018Date Updated: January 12, 2018
Find a Layout
Once you've selected your vegetables, you'll want to decide on a garden layout. First, pick a site. You'll need at least six hours of direct sunlight every day, so make sure the spot you've selected isn't shaded by trees or buildings. Kep your site away from large trees, which compete for moisture.
Next, pick a layout, whether it's in your yard, containers, or raised beds. Raised beds - simple wooden frames 8-10 inches tall - are the preferred way to grow a vegetable garden. Soil in raised beds warms well in spring and can be filled with quality topsoil. When planning the layout, make sure your raised beds are accessible from all sides and are no more than 4 feet wide so you can reach everything from the perimeter.Date Published: January 11, 2018Date Updated: January 12, 2018
Outline the Garden
To get a concrete idea of your your plan will look in your lawn, begin by sketching it out. Include any trees, shrubs, patios, or paths in your sketch that you already have.
Then, experiment in your yard, and get a feel for your design without digging yet. For a precise garden outline, plant stakes in the ground in your desired shape. Use a tape measure and tightly wrap twine around the perimeter of the perimeter of the stakes. To create a circular bed, stand a stake where you want the center point of the garden bed to be. Attach twine to the stake and measure outwards at multiple points, planting a stake at each point.
For a simpler method, grab your garden hose and use it to outline your ideal garden bed on your lawn. This method is helpful if you're creaing curves and arches in your flower beds. If you leave your hose in the grass for a while before moving it, you can easily dig around the marks it left in the grass.
You can also outline your future garden bed with spray paint. Simply spray your lawn in the shape of your desired bed to get a feel for the layout. Many home and garden stores offer grass-friendly, water-based paint that comes out in a rainfall.Date Published: January 11, 2018Date Updated: January 12, 2018
Prepare Your Tools
Make sure your tools are garden-ready and spend some time cleaning and fine-tuning them.
Clean hoes, shovels, trowels, forks, and metal dibblers by filling an old pot or bucket with dry sand. Mix lubricating oil (like WD-40 or vegetable oil) into the sand until moist. Use a scrubbing pad to remove large clumps of caked mud from your tools before plunging them into the sand mix. Place the pot containing the tools in a cool, dry place for storage. Keep wooden tool handles from splitting by rubbing them with linseed oil. Later, when it's time to use them, remove the tools from the mixture and wipe down the blades with a coarse cloth.
If you have tools that are no longer in working order, replace them before planting season rolls around.Date Published: January 11, 2018Date Updated: January 12, 2018
Plant Cold-Season Crops at the Right Time
Vegetables are divided into two groups of climate growth. Plants are classified by the coldest temperature they can endure, using a system developed by the United States Department of Agriculture. Regions of North America have been divided into Zones based on temperatures, from the coldest, Zone 1, to the warmest, Zone 11. Soil conditions and sun, shade, and wind exposure all influence a plant's ability to overwinter. Plants rated for a range of hardiness Zones can usually survive winter in the coldest region as well as tolerate summer heat. A plant tag or seed packet will list a plan'ts Zone unless the plant is typically grown as an annual.
Cool-season vegetables grow best when temperatures range between 40°F and 75°F. In most areas, they can be planted two to four weeks before the last spring frost. Cool-season vegetables are unique in that their seeds germinate best in cool soil. They are usually planted as soon as the soil can be worked in spring. Avoid planting in soggy soil that is still full of moisture from snow or spring rains. Wait until the soil dries and can be cultivated.
In warmer regions, plant cool-season vegetables as early as possible in late winter or early spring, and plant seeds or transplants again in late fall to harvest in winter. A few cold-hardy vegetables, like carrots, parsnips and garlic, can survive throughout the winter in some regions when insulated under a blanket of snow. Look for vegetables labeled "frost-hardy" to know which ones will tolerate freezing temperatures.Date Published: January 11, 2018Date Updated: January 12, 2018
Plant Warm-Season Crops at the Right Time
Warm-season vegetables that do best in the warmth of summer are artichokes, beans, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, melons, okra, peanuts, peppers, squash, sweet potatoes, tomatillos, and tomatoes. They grow edible fruits instead of edible roots, stems, leaves or buds. These crops won't perform well in temperatures below 50°F. Don't plant before the soil and air temperatures have warmed up in spring or early summer. Wait until about two weeks after the average frost date for your region to plant warm-season crops.Date Published: January 11, 2018Date Updated: January 12, 2018
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