Thursday, February 19, 2015

Time to Think Gardening!

One of the few things that I enjoy about winter, is looking forward to the arrival of my seed catalogs.  Seasoned gardeners know that planning is the first step when it comes to a home vegetable garden.  By planning, you're saving time, money and ensuring that you will be growing the items that your family needs.  By planning ahead, it allows me to know that I only need to plant half the tomatoes I did last year because I still have 50 jars in the pantry.

Each year, my garden seems to grow in size.  I discover new items I want to plant, or realize that I hadn't planted enough the year before.  Additionally, I am adding items like grape vines, strawberries and fruit trees to the backyard.  This is where the seed catalogs come in handy.

Before Spring arrives, I suggest making a diagram of your garden plot.  Include in your diagram the vegetables that you want to grow, what rows you will put your plants in, how much distance you need between each row, the expected date that you want to plant, etc.

Purdue University suggests that early vegetables like lettuce, green onion and radishes be planted close to each other AND you can replant these yummies several times during the summer.  Items that grow tall, or vine, like pole beans, peas, corn and tomatoes can also be "grouped" together and should be at the North end of your garden so that they don't cast a shade on any smaller plants.

I like to go through the seed catalogs and make two lists.  The first list consists of what I know I will plant in this year's garden.  Then I go through those items, look at planting depth, date to plant, etc and then I make a second list of item's I want to plant to either try, start growing permanently, etc.  Seed catalogs are great for vegetable information (and a lot of it), but sometimes it's cheaper to buy locally and the plants/seeds are just as good. 

Purdue University offers a terrific publication, "Home Gardener's Guide" that offers many tips and ideas for planning your garden early.  Don't wait, look forward to Spring by planning your garden now!

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