Every President’s day weekend, I swear up and down that I’m going to get my vegetable garden started. Early spring/late winter is the best time to plant green peas and spinach (in our zone) but it seems my best intentions don’t quite make it happen. It’s too rainy or too cold – for my taste anyway – and I get around to it about mid-May.
Today, while out for a walk with my husband, I mentioned that I wanted to plant one of the raised garden beds with peas and spinach and move the blueberry plants. Today. The voice of logic who I’m married to replied, “Let’s do it – as soon as we get all of our tax paperwork together for our upcoming meeting.”
Drats! Of course he’s right. As soon as the annual tax meeting is done, look for me to do the following:
Getting a Garden Ready to Grow
- Amend the soil :: It’s not super easy to amend soil that’s sopping wet so I’ll try my best on this. Even organic gardens need lime and fertilizer – organic that is. I like to hit our local store, Concentrate’s, where they sell it in bulk. Buy as much as you need but don’t rely on just what comes out of the compost bin to feed your garden. We use our compost in the garden but it still needs some additional nutrients that only fertilizer and lime can provide. (Here are tips on composting.)
- Rotate the crops :: While I love having the tomatoes growing directly outside the kitchen door, this year I’m rotating my crops and moving the tomatoes to another sunny spot. Having the same plants growing in the same spots, year after year, depletes the nutrients. Mixing it up gives me a chance to see what does well elsewhere. (Here’s how to install square gardening spaces.)
- Stick with winners :: Every year I try to grow beets and they never turn out. According to my neighbor, she says I need to try beet tape. It evidently keeps the seeds spaced and deep exactly how they need to be. Well, that may be true but I may simply skip them this year and go with what I know works in our garden – and what we eat. (Here are 5 spots to plant a vegetable garden.)
- Go with the flow :: Yes, please, let the water flow and by that I mean watering flowing through a drip system. Sometimes I think my husband uses the, “I’m going out to water the garden,” as a way to escape what’s happening inside the house. Between dinner dishes and teenagers, he may be onto something with his escape plan but I would like a drip system with a timer to water regularly and consistently. All of the tubes and supplies are sitting in the garage but need to be put into place when the planting happens. (Here’s how to remove hedges and grow vegetables.)
- Don’t buy seeds :: I have so many seeds. Many from previous years and many from seeds I’ve saved this winter. (Here’s how to save seeds for growing.) Before getting overly stimulated from all of the seed packets at the garden store or grocery store, I need to check my inventory first. Stick with what works and use what’s on hand are part of the plan for this year.
That’s it. This is the year I will actually get started in February and plant the first crops before summer. I think.
When do you get your vegetable garden started?