Today I am taking you along for some spring garden prep and showing how a beginner gardener can start a garden.
We have had some pretty wild weather here in Arkansas. One day it is freezing and the next it is 65 degrees and sunny. All of this is pretty typical for where we live though.
This weekend we have had a very random warm day in the middle of winter and I decided to take advantage of it for some garden prep. It’s funny because we are actually expecting snow next week so definitely not garden season but I wanted to take advantage of a pretty day and get some things done before snow possibly hits even though we won’t be planting for a few more months. Honestly its hit or miss on snow. We are in Arkansas and so the weather is just wild here. I always doubt it will actually snow when they say it will but sometimes I am surprised.
To prepare for gardening season, I really wanted to get some seeds ordered. Now is the time to order if you plan to because places like Johnny’s and Baker’s Creek will start selling out. Which is why I am doing this now. So I sat down and decided what I want to grow, went through the seeds I have and made my order. I also started cleaning out our beds since I completely neglected them at the end of last season and they need some serious work before I can even think about planting.
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When Should You Prepare A Garden For Spring?
I start preparing around this time simply because seeds will start selling out online. Now I do buy some seeds locally and those are not as big of a deal, but you do start seeing them out at this time so it is a good time to at least make a plan and get your seeds so you know that you have them ready to go.
I also like to utilize nice days during this time to clean up my beds or where I plan to plant. I just find doing it this early makes it easier when planting season comes. If you live in a colder climate, this may be later in the year for you! You have to work with your climate and zone.
How Do I Prepare My Garden For Spring?
The first things I did to prepare was to physically prepare my garden space. This meant cleaning any weeds out of my beds and amending the soil some. This can be as big of a production or as little as you like. You may also need to add more space and now is a great time so that your beds are all ready in the next few months.
When Should I Start My Spring Garden?
This depends on your zone but we usually start planting later in April or May. But you can start seeds indoors as early as March in my area.
You need to check what zone you are in. Once you know this, you can check your expected last frost date and that will give you an idea on when it is safe to plant outdoors. If you plan to start seeds indoors, you will check the back of the packet to see how many weeks to start each before the last frost (it should tell you) and then count back from your expected last frost date. This is when you will start them indoors.
What Should I Plant In My Spring Garden?
This is different for everyone but I suggest looking in your kitchen! What do you eat the most? If you are going to spend the time to grow it, make sure it is something you will eat.
Also consider what is going on in your life. For example, I love growing vegetables but we are building a house which leaves less time for gardening. So I had to prioritize what I could give enough attention to. So vegetables will not be a priority and I chose to limit myself to flowers and herbs this season.
Make A Garden Plan
The first thing you will want to do is make a plan for gardening. What do you want to grow? How will you grow it? Do you have enough space?
I suggest first making a list of everything you would like to grow. Then think about what is actually manageable with your time, space for planting and experience. Narrow down your list based on this.
If you plan to get heavy into gardening and grow your family’s needs completely, there are plenty of guides on the internet that help you decide what that supply would look like and how many plants you need. But this does not have to be that complicated if it is not your goal.
You could even draw out your garden area and write out what will go where. This will let you know how many you need and what is actually feasible in your space.
Quite frankly you can throw some seeds in the ground and water them enough and you will have a great harvest. This can be as simple or strategic as you want, depending on your goals.
For us, I would love to work towards growing a years worth for our family but this is just not feasible for me this year. With building a house, I just will not have the time. So I chose to narrow what I am growing down by what I can get locally.
It is very easy for me to find local vegetables, so I am choosing to support local farmers more this year and will not be growing as many vegetables. This narrowed my list down to flowers and herbs which seems pretty manageable.
I made a list of what I wanted to grow- sunflowers, zinnias, dahlias, cosmos, dill, parsley, oregano, basil, cilantro, thyme and rosemary. I also still wanted to grow cucumbers for pickles, tomatoes and some pumpkins.
Gather Your Seeds
I sat down and pulled out all of my seeds that I already had. I went through them and decided what I will grow and then decided all of the rest of the seeds I will give away since they were already a year old.
I actually already had most of everything I need for this year. I had some cabbage seeds as well already and since I make sauerkraut, I decided I would add that.
Once I had the seeds that I wanted to keep, I ordered any that I did not already have. This is pretty straightforward but I recommend Baker’s Creek or Johnny’s Seeds. I also shop locally and get the Burpee Organics seeds but I find that they do not always have some of the more special varieties that I like.
Prep Your Garden Space
Maybe you are starting from scratch and are building your garden space or maybe you are growing the one you already have.
This year we are just working with what we already have. I just removed any weeds and cleaned up my boxes. I will amend the soil and that is that. I will also probably start prepping some trellis’ and tools so that I am prepared when I need them. This was a major fail of mine last year.
You may need to build boxes, get dirt and compost brought in, or just prepare a few small planters if you do not have a large space.
These are the beginnings of our garden for the year and I hope that this helped you to prepare your own garden space for the season as well.
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