Planting your spring garden each year can be fun and rewarding. But, what do you do after you harvest? The winter months don’t have to be idle ones for gardeners. Here’s what you can do to prepare for spring.
1. Start Small
New gardeners often have dreams of turning their entire yard into a lush paradise. It’s great to dream big, but wise to start small. A large garden can be overwhelming and exhausting for beginners. You will be busy and learning a lot just by planting one raised bed.
But hold on to your dream. With hard work, one day your yard will be the oasis you’ve dreamed of for so long. By planting a smaller spring garden, you’ll have more time to learn what grows best in your area. You’ll also find out what you enjoy growing, too.
2. Know Your Planting Zone
Your growing zone, also called a planting zone, helps you determine which plants grow the best in your area and when to plant them. Your local gardening center can tell what zone you’re in. Or you could enter your zip code in the USDA’s planting hardiness zone map.
3. Request Seed Catalogs
While you can look at seed catalogs online, but print catalogs make the process easier. If you’re interested in heirloom seeds or organic seeds, there are specialty catalogs for them. Next year, you can plant the seeds you’ve dried and saved from the plants in this year’s garden.
4. Set a Budget
You can avoid overspending by setting a budget before the seed catalogs arrive. Some great ways to save money on your garden is to go to a seed swap or seed library. Save your seeds at the end of each growing season to plant or swap. Check your local high school’s agricultural department for plant sales.
5. Inspect Your Tools
Winter is the perfect time to clean, repair and replace broken garden tools. Beginners who don’t have tools may want to purchase a few basic tools like a shovel, a trowel and a garden hose. You can always get more tools when you have a need for them.
6. Choose What to Grow
There’s no reason to grow food that you and your family don’t enjoy eating. It’s a waste of time, effort and money. So make a list of your family’s favorite fruits and vegetables. Find out which ones grow best in your area according to your planting zone. That makes it much easier to choose what to grow each year.
7. Decide Where to Plant
How much your space will your plants need when they’re fully grown? How much sun or shade will they need? These are questions to consider when you’re trying to figure out where to plant. Some gardeners find it helpful to draw their yard on graph paper. Each square represents one square foot. Then they sketch out where they’re going to plant.
Winter is the perfect time to think about your spring garden. When the warmer temperatures of spring arrive, you’ll be ready to hit the ground digging.