Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Planting a Garden for Rookies

Wouldn't it be divine to have these growing in your backyard?

I have often wondered how nice it would be to have a small garden in my yard. To have the capability of walking into your yard and picking fresh vegetables, herbs, and some fruit sounds delightful. Even though I do not have a green thumb I have been researching and preparing myself for when I move to plant a garden. I found these simple key tips for planting a garden and thought I would share them with you--just in case you get the urge to start one. 
*Any time is a good time to start a garden as long as the ground isn't frozen solid or soaking wet. For many new to gardening, starting small is the preferred choice. Bugs, weeds and diseases can often prove to be discouraging. As your confidence and abilities increase, so can the size of your garden.

*Try to situate your garden in an area that gets at least six hours of sun a day. Your garden also needs to be conveniently placed near the house and a water source. If you have a compost pile, place the garden in close proximity to make it easier to maintain. Keep your garden away from mature trees that could invade your soil with their roots. Underground utility lines should also be avoided for this reason.
*Another important consideration is providing air circulation for your garden. Avoid keeping plants beside solid walls or fences. This will reduce the likelihood of fungal diseases attacking your plants.  
*To mark the perimeter of your garden, use a string attached to stakes, or use a garden hose. To keep grass from growing into the garden, use a border — plastic, metal, wood, stone or even a plain trench will serve this purpose.
*Most likely, your garden will be covered with turfgrass. Do not till this grass into the soil as it will only produce thousands of tiny sprigs that will sprout again. Remove the sod with a shovel to a depth of about four inches and cart from the garden. Replace this sod with a mixture of leaves and compost to a depth of three or four inches. Water this area well for a week or two. If you see any weeds pop up, a slight tug will solve the problem. The sod you removed can be used to cover bare spots in the yard or can be stacked upside down and in layers to turn to compost later. If your soil is clay or rocky, construct a frame on top of the ground for raised-bed planting — be sure to use rot-resistant lumber. Once filled with organic matter, it's ready to plant. 

*Work the soil only when it's moderately dry. Tilling, walking on, or cultivating the soil when it's wet leads to creating something akin to adobe: the whole structure of the soil is destroyed.
*If your soil is too wet to work, used raised beds to enable earlier planting in the spring. The soil in raised beds dries out and warms up faster than the surrounding earth.

*Plant cool-season plants such as peas, onions, Swiss chard, spinach and lettuce in early spring so they mature before hot weather arrives. Delay planting warm-weather crops until you're safely past the last spring frost and the soil has warmed sufficiently.

* Ease your transplants into the garden. If you've started seedlings indoors, expose them gradually to the conditions they'll have in the garden: start the pots off for only a few hours in a sunny place, then gradually increase the amount of sun exposure before installing the transplants in the garden.

* The best amendment for your soil is one you can make yourself: compost. If you don't already have a compost pile, start one now.
* Rotate your veggie crops, growing them in different spots than in previous seasons. Tomatoes are especially vulnerable to diseases that may linger in the soil or in plant residue.

You are now on your way to an amazing garden!

P.S. Write me if you have a garden and let me know the pro's and con's. 


No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails