10 things to do before planting your garden

7 Apr

Seedlings

 

  1. Make your garden plan. Whether you have an existing garden or want to design a new one, you need to get it down on paper. Try the 30 day free trial from GrowVeg by clicking on the GrowVeg box to the right.  You could also check out this previous post http://wp.me/p1GoP9-3n
  2. Clean out debris. Remove any leftover winter debris. A light simple raking may be all that is needed. If a lot of leaves have collected in areas over the winter, remove them and place in your compost pile.  Pull any early weeds.
  3. Repair damaged beds. This will be the third growing season at My Urban Farmscape. The beds pulling away, so I am going to drive in a few screws and make sure the corners of my beds are tight so the soil doesn’t fall out.
  4. Lift and loosen soil. The best way to do this is with a broadfork. This tool allows you to use the weight of your body to drive the tines deep in the soil, then by stepping back and pulling on the handles you “lift and loosen” the soil. This method allows for optimum aeration and avoids compacting the lower soil substrate. You can also use a shovel, digging, lifting and turning.
  5. Create your walking paths. It’s important to create areas where you will be walking. You work hard to create ideal planting beds, so the last thing you want to do is walk on them. I use straw on my walking paths. It’s affordable and I typically use some for mulching throughout the season. You could use mulch, patio stones, whatever you prefer.
  6. Start seeds. I have started eggplant, peppers, and artichoke as well as a few tomatoes. If starting seeds is not your thing, make a list of the transplants that you will need to buy. Shop early to get the varieties you want.  Check this previous post to help keep planting times straight http://wp.me/p1GoP9-5K
  7. Build a cold frame. You can use a cold frame to get a jump on the season. Cool season crops that can be planted in a cold frame include spinach, mache, arugula, and mustard greens. You could also start root crops such as radishes, beets and carrots. If you don’t want to build one, you can purchase one at your garden center or online.  Go here to learn how to build something simple  http://wp.me/p1GoP9-bL
  8. Inventory garden tools. Make sure you have everything you need to make the job easier. Sharpen pruners and harvesting knives, clean tools if that wasn’t done in the fall.  Check your hoses and watering cans as well as your rain barrel for any leaks and repair as needed.
  9. Make trellises. Determine how many plants will need to be trellised and build those. Look for items that can be upcycled to something new. Handles from broken shovels will make a great starting point for a variety of vertical type trellises. Use bamboo to create tomato towers, or use twigs and small branches to create unique trellises for climbing vegetables.  Trellises and cages should be placed when plants are planted.
  10. Test your soil. Now is the time to have the fertility of your soil tested. If you have a state or county extension, contact them to find out the procedure. Your soil may only need some compost for a little added nitrogen. Make sure you amend your soil if needed using organic approved fertilizers. Look for the USDA Organic seal or check the OMRI website.  Refer to this post for more info http://wp.me/p1GoP9-60

It’s almost time to plant!  Are you ready?

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