Last month we began a series for new and beginner gardeners; the first installment addressed gardening by starting small.
It’s my hope those seeking to establish a garden are excited to move forward without feeling intimidated. I’m assuming you’ve read my first post, your garden space is marked and you’re in the process of tilling soil or adding raised beds. Visit these helpful posts to prep your new garden space.
Building Raised Beds – Building your own is a breeze; you just need a saw and drill.
Establishing a Raised Bed – If you have access to natural matter you will like this idea.
The Soil Recipe – Is your soil filled with clay? Don’t panic this recipe works.
Today I’m sharing the next three stages, beginning with making plans.
Making a plan will save you time and keep from wasting funds. Use an inexpensive notebook, this will be a place where you can record your garden experience. It’s a way to remember what worked, areas of improvement or how to expand.
Your first step for this garden will be simple because we’re starting small. I’m going to imagine that you have two raised beds; each measures an 8 x 4 space. They’re full of dirt and you’re wondering what you should plant. My question is simple. “What do you like to eat?”
I highly recommend growing food you like to eat. In my family everybody likes broccoli so you can bet this will be something I want to add in quantities.
I cook with fresh herbs so I make sure to have space available for my favorites, basil, oregano, parsley and thyme.
Lettuce is another favorite but I’m the only one who eats it so I plant a small amount. If you’re not sure what everybody likes to eat have a family gathering and talk about it. This discussion might spark interest and excitement which can be helpful later on.
Once you have the food list the next step is to purchase seeds; I recommend heirlooms. Begin with five or six favorites from your list. This will allow you to have a nice variety when harvesting arrives.
Seeds can be purchased as local nurseries or online. I like Mary’s Heirloom seeds, Burpee is a good source, Territorial Seeds, White Oak Valley Farm, and there are many companies available who offer heirloom seeds.
Do a search to see if you have a local source in your area, seeds that are native are a good choice because they’re acclimated.
When your seeds arrive, the soil will be ready to plant. You can start seeds indoors or do direct seed. This is when you plant the seed in the ground and let germination begin; this can save time.
Last year I did a blog post on making paper pots for starting seeds, I used these pots for my smaller seeds.
Before you can plant outdoors check the freeze dates in your area; the Farmer’s Almanac is a helpful resource. Once the freeze is no longer a concern go ahead and follow the directions on the seed pack and get planting. I like to plant in 4 ft. rows and then label with stakes so I remember what I planted.
If the garden is planted it’s time to pat yourself on the back. Moving forward is about caring for your little garden. This doesn’t need to be a daily attendance.
This time of year watering is based on when needed; we’re in our wet season so hopefully you won’t have to water much in the beginning. Weeding will be the next thing but not something I do until needed; weeding is a breeze after it rains.
Plans, planting and moving forward is all important just remember to break it down in sections. Gardening is a process; it takes time to cultivate something wonderful.