DIY: Getting Ready to Garden

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Well, it’s that time of year again.  Seems like we just finished pulling in everything from our garden, but here we are, planning next year already.  While we won’t be planting for a few months, now is the time to start thinking ahead to what we are going to plant, what plants we will purchase locally, and how we are going to preserve the harvest we have.  With the cost of food going up and up, it’s a great time to get involved in your own gardens.

If you have a lot of space, watch the sun and see where it falls in the yard for the most time of the day.  That’s where a good garden would be placed.  Most garden veggies love sunshine.  Decide if you want to till the land and have a traditional garden, or make raised beds.  If you are going to till, try to do that as soon as the ground allows in the spring, so you can amend the soil with whatever is needed.  If raised beds are your thing, decide on what materials you would like to use and have them ordered in plenty of time for the last frost in your area.

Don’t be dismayed if you don’t have a lot of land though!  You can have beautiful plants in pots all over your home and patio.  Start collecting pots now, either from thrift stores, garage sales, or clearance sales.  Keep an eye out for sales on garden soil as well, or if you have somewhere to place it, garden centers often will deliver a truckload of dirt for you.

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Once you have decided how big your garden is going to be, now it’s time to research veggies and seeds.  There are many seed companies out there and a simple search on the web for “vegetable seeds” will bring you many results.  I’m the type of person that likes to look and compare, so I usually order catalogs.  Now is the time to do that so you have them in well ahead of the time you need to order.  (I order seeds that I’m going to start on my own typically about mid February to very early March.  If they are going to be planted directly in the ground, and I’m not ordering seeds I need to start, I’ll order them in April.  But, each area is different.  Check a reputable website for when your planting season is.)

Laying out a garden is fairly simple.  I keep all similar vegetables together, such as broccoli and cauliflower, tomato varieties, hilled veggies such as potatoes and squash, and greens.  I also companion plant, adding basil to tomatoes, for example, to boost production.  The whole of the garden is surrounded by many varieties of marigolds, known to reduce pests in the garden.

Once the soil is ready, and properly amended, it’s planting time!  All of your planning comes together to have a wonderful garden that will feed your family for the summer and, if preserved, into the winter as well.

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