Saturday, January 7, 2012

It's Garden Time

It's January and even though here in Utah we havn't even had REAL snow yet, believe it or not, it is time to start planning the next garden!

The last few months are a necessary break from the garden for me.  Some people even garden through those months using cold frames but I prefer the break for now.  Maybe next year I will be ambitious and try some sort of season extender.

For now, lets go over the basics of planning our gardens:

Step 1:  Sketch your garden to scale on a piece of paper.  I prefer graph paper since it helps keep things squared up.  This is especially important if it's your first garden or if you recently made changes.  The only thing worse than not planning enough plants, is planning too many and they go to waste.

Step 2:  Determine which plants you will have this year.  Some people prefer to have basically the same garden every year (like my veggie garden) and some people shake it up.  It is frustrating to think you are going to have carrots and broccoli and squash and watermelon and pumpkin only to realize come spring that you only have room for a few of those things and not all.

Step 3. Pencil in the locations of each item you will grow.  This helps to know how many plants to start or seedling to buy later and it helps keep it in perspective so you don't buy a 6 pack and realize you only have room for 2.

Step 4. Get your starting kits, soil and seeds ready.  Inventory left overs from last year and make a list of new ones to buy.  Place your internet orders for plants and seeds so that they will arrive at the appropriate time and your favorites are not sold out.  Even if you go the grocery store seed route, you need to do this now since seeds will be hitting the shelves very soon.

Step 5. Don't forget you can double up on some areas, by planting an early crop and a late crop.  This is best done with plants that tend to bolt or die off during the heat of the summer and short season items like carrots and beets.

This year I plan to grow extras of my plants and sell some to the neighbors.  This means I need to be very organized so that I know exactly how many plants I am growing for sale.  I always like to have an extra in case of bad luck like stems snapping when the wind catches the almost empty tray I am transplanting from and turns it over or other silly things, but you don't want to buy or grow so many that there is substantial waste.

I will post again soon with suggestions for early/late crops and planting guides for starting your own seedlings.

Happy Garden Planning!

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