Winters can feel incredibly lackluster for avid gardeners who love to tend to their plants, collect flowers to display around the house and pluck fresh vegetables for cooking. Fortunately, you can make the colder months worthwhile by planning for your spring garden.
Meticulous garden planning can yield a more flourishing landscape and get you into the right mindset with clear goals come spring. Here is all you can do to plan your beautiful spring garden. While you brave through the icy winds and endless snow.
Plan a Garden Layout
First, draw a plan on paper to allow yourself room to tweak the landscape layout. Firstly, measure your plot and determine areas that receive sunlight or get partial shade.
If you plan to plant a vegetable patch, choose an area that receives at least six hours of sunlight daily. However, you can still plant crops, such as leafy greens, which require less light. Consider incorporating raised garden beds into your plan to control the health of your soil for a more fruitful vegetable patch. Raised beds are also great for utilizing poorly drained sites or steep slopes.
Allocate an area for your flowers. Ideally, along the boundary and away from any activity that can lead to trampling your precious blooms. Ensure that the area receives ample sunlight for the flowers you want to plant.
Moreover, avoid planting seeds close to trees and shrubs since they can compete for nutrients and water. They can also block the sun from reaching your plants. Now is also the time to plan for other garden landscaping features, such as a water fixture or a gazebo, if you want.
Decide What to Plant
You can decide what to plant before sitting down with a pen and paper or buy your seeds according to your planned layout.
When planting vegetables and fruits, consider what you and your family like to eat. Once you have a list of these goods, select the ones that will thrive in your regional growing period and are more likely to be ready to harvest by the end of the season.
You can also take inspiration from your neighbors. Inquire about what flowers and vegetables they are growing and what successes and failures they have experienced.
Determine Dates for Planting Seed
Now that you have a general idea of what you want to plant in your garden. Note the dates of when you plant the seeds or starter plants so that you can order more seeds accordingly. Knowing the best time to plant your vegetables for a prolific harvest is imperative.
Cool-season vegetables like onions, peas, cabbage, radishes, etc. can be planted in early spring, when the temperature is around 70 degrees Fahrenheit or less, as they can withstand slight frost.
Other vegetables, such as cucumbers, eggplants, tomatoes, etc., should be best planted after the danger of frost has passed and the average daily temperature is between 70 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
Perennial plants are another excellent option to introduce into your garden. These flowering plants bloom every spring and summer and die in autumn and winter. Thus, you will get a riot of color as soon as the temperature becomes warm enough. Consider starting seeds for your favorite perennial plants and plant them as soon as the ground is ready (discussed below).
Create an Irrigation Plan
If you are planning your garden from scratch or are unsatisfied with the existing irrigation system, think about the best way to supply water to your plants. Many people have sprinklers in their gardens. While they are popular, they may be better ways to irrigate your plants. These sprinklers tend to waste a lot of water and cause water to accumulate on the foliage.
Therefore, consider drip irrigation or soaker hoses to supply water directly to the roots and avoid water wastage. Plan to install these trickle irrigation systems along the rows of your plants and get them from your local hardware store or order online.
These systems also operate under low pressure and are environment-friendly. You can also include a battery-operated water timer in your irrigation system to control the watering duration for different plants.
Start Plants From Seeds
Once you know the plants you want to sow in your garden, you can also start seeds indoors during winter. This practice offers multiple advantages. You will have plants ready to sow into your garden as soon as the soil is ready in early to mid-spring
For example, you can start kale, broccoli, cabbage, onions, leeks, cauliflower, fennel, artichokes, and lettuce indoors in late February to early March. Plant the seeds in a fine-textured seed-starting mix and keep the containers in front of south-facing windows to supply them with plenty of sunlight. Most of these crops will be ready to plant outdoors in four to six weeks.
Moreover, tender vegetables like eggplants, tomatoes, and peppers cannot endure the mildly cool spring temperatures. Check your region’s last frost date of spring and start these vegetables indoors at least six to eight weeks before the date. Tomato seeds, in particular, require a warm temperature between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit and no light to germinate.
Certain flowers are ideal for winter sowings. Flowers like columbine, coreopsis, and hollyhock should be started eight to 10 weeks before the last frost date and planted on the last frost date.
Others, such as hibiscus, and heliopsis, should be started 10 to 12 weeks before the last frost date and planted one to two weeks after the last frost.
You can plant some flowering plants one to two weeks before the last frost, including rudbeckia and viola, by seed starting them eight to 10 weeks before the last frost.
Spring Will Be Here Before You Know It!
One of the best ways to uplift your mood during cold, dark days is to start planning for your spring garden. Draw a landscape layout, choose the plants, determine the dates for sowing the seeds, and pre-plan your irrigation system layout. Finally, consider germinating seeds to kickstart your spring gardening project.
Share in the comments how you prepare for your spring garden!