Spring is in the air and the garden centers across the nation are full to the brim with brightly colored bags of poop and dirt that cost more than your first-born child did. Plus those shiny ball things that look like big metal bubbles. Those are pretty awesome.
Gardening is one of my favorite warm weather hobbies. Most things that revolve around food, being outdoors, and pursing a healthy lifestyle are. Gardening has all three! Today I’m going to walk you through the steps to planning your own garden. You don’t need a lot of space, and you don’t need a lot time or a lot of money. If you do have all those things, feel free to go crazy, because that’s a neat thing about gardens, you can do them to any scale you want. There is no one size fits all. You can tailor it to fit your every whim and desire.
Garden Planning begins with Three Questions.
1) How much sunshine filled space do you have?
2) How much time do you have?
3)Do you want to be able to eat it?
When I say sunshine filled space, I mean someplace that gets a minimum of 6 hours a day of sunlight. More is better. Seed packets and info cards at your local plant nursery will tell you how much sun any given plants needs, but the vast majority want between 6 and 12 hours a day. The right spot for you may be a little herb garden around your mail box, maybe you till up a 4 x 10 plot of petunias in your back yard, or maybe you utilize window boxes and pots on your front step or balcony.
Gardening takes up both more and less time than people think. Setting up a garden usually takes more time than a person estimates, but maintaining one is significantly less of a hassle, especially if you take the time to do everything right when you set up your space. If you like low-key, low hassle hobbies, container gardening should be right up your alley. Buy a snazzy collection of pots, buy some dirt (packaged soil is sterile and eliminates seeds from weeds and little critters that will want to eat your dear little sprouts), buy some plants. The end. You can plant all sorts of stuff in containers. My favorite potted plants are mint and miniature roses.
If you’re up for a bit more elbows in the dirt sort of gardening, it can be as simple as a 4×4 space in the yard with a handful of larger plants or just more little ones. Whether they are tomatoes, marigolds, green beans or sunflowers; you can actually plant all of those together. Marigolds keep tomato eating aphids away, and sunflowers help protect plants from beetles. Mixing plants that help each other is called companion planting and is a great way to keep your garden both pretty and lower hassle.
Once you know the best place for your garden in regards to sunlight, and know how much space and time you want to devote to it, picking out your plants is the fun part. Whether you want a little row of herbs in your window for cooking, super meticulous rows of flowers to jazz up your front yard, or a big ol’ patch of strawberries in the back yard for little fingers ( and big fingers ) to enjoy it’s totally up to you.
There are lots of online resources for garden planning, from design software to video’s and blogs. Explore a little and find what’s right for you. After that come back next week for Part 2, where we will explore all the ways to not kill your newly planted garden!