How to Plant a Garden
With winter nearing an end, it's now time again to start thinking and planning for a garden. Beginners may become overwhelmed and not know where exactly to start. Instead of letting this optimum growing season slide by, read this simple, yet effective, guide to gardening.
1. Prepare Soil
Before doing anything else, one must prepare the growing medium in which the plants will be growing in. This includes breaking up the compacted soil with a shovel and mixing it with some nutrient-rich fertilizer. A larger area of loosened, rich soil will allow for a much larger root space, and therefore larger plants. Alternatively, one can use organic matter, such as leaves, branches and other decaying matter, as compost. Those accumulated leaves from the Fall will pay off now. Native grasses works well for weed control.
2. Put Near Irrigation
For added convenience, one will want a water source close by their garden. If a water source is too far from the garden, one can always go out and purchase a really long hose, or they can setup a sprinkler system. One will definitely thank themselves for this preparation when they have to go out to the garden and water everyday.
3. Choose Your Plants
Now that the soil is tilled and the irrigation system is setup, it's time to think about the desired plants for the garden. Choose plants that will do well in the particular climate where the garden is located. This includes determining the plant's favorite sun settings, watering times and temperature. Find out their bearing and planting times as well.
4. How to Plant
As soon as one acquires the desired plants for their garden, they'll need to properly transplant them into the main garden area. When transplanting a plant, always make sure to not disturb the roots. Make a hole that's big enough to completely engulf the plant's root structure, leaving an inch or so for extra dirt. Most importantly, be sure to give each plant a good watering once transplanted, as this will greatly help reduce the chance of shock.
Without the necessary macro and micro nutrients, a plant will not be able to thrive to its fullest potential. Some plants like higher nitrogen content in their soil, whereas others prefer more potassium or phosphorous. Overall, primary nutrients are nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium, and intermediate nutrients are sulfur, magnesium and calcium. Hint: Wood ashes are rich in both intermediate and micro nutrients.
For the most part, a majority of plants tend to give their yield, or fruit, toward the end of the year, usually nearing autumn. However, there are plenty of plant varieties, including many types of flowers, that bear their fruit during summer and sometimes even spring months. Therefore, it's important for one to research the plants they intend to grow in their garden. Those that live in colder climates may need to look into plants that have much earlier bearing seasons, depending on when the first frost hits. On the other hand, some plants can stand up to freezing temperatures with no problem.
7. Planting Time
Being equally important to bearing time, one must know the ideal growing season of their garden plants to ensure they thrive. Some varieties of plants, such as potatoes, can be grown any time of the year as long as it isn't below freezing, whereas others are extremely sensitive to temperature while in the maturing process. Frost resistant varieties include chard, lettuce, radishes, kale and peas. In general, food crops are labeled into two distinct categories: cool season (spring and fall) and warm season (strictly summer).