One of the best parts about January and February is daydreaming about what your garden will look like in the summer. The seed catalogs tempt you with beautiful and delicious-looking photos. But how to turn the dreams into reality?
I had a very small garden last year, which was mostly tomatoes and cucumbers. This year, though, I hope to expand. As a novice gardener I’ve been looking for places to take classes. So far it looks like most of them don’t start until April-ish, although GRCC is offering a “Root Camp” the third Wednesday of each month. Although their website says there are no seats left, I’ve been told they will be opening some more slots.
Why do you want to garden?
The biggest question to contemplate over the next few months is why are you gardening in the first place? If you just want to grow some thing to grow something, choose easy-to-grow items like tomatoes and zucchini. If you want to eat from your garden, you’ll want to figure out what you hope to harvest and in what amounts. It’s a guess as every year will produce a bit different yield, but you don’t want to end up with one pepper and a bazillion zucchini. Do your research. Since I’m part of a CSA, most of my day to day eating vegetables are covered. I am planning to plant things I either don’t get enough of or want to freeze or can.
What is your budget?
Seeds are very inexpensive, and so very very tempting in the catalogs. But you’ll want to do some math. I happen to have poor soil, so most of my plantings need to be in raised beds. I have a handy husband who is great at building them, but I still need to factor in the cost of lumber and bags of soil, which add up quickly. Oh and there is the fencing to keep the bunnies out.
How much time do you want to spend each week with upkeep?
Again, as tempting as the catalog photos are, you’ll want to be realistic. Some plants, like tomatoes and zucchini, just require watering. Others require staking and weeding and all of that. Keep that in mind as you plan your garden.
Map Our Your Garden
One of the coolest tools I’ve found so far is the GrowVeg Garden Planner. It allows you to map out your garden beds, add the vegetables you want to grow, and it tells you how many seeds you need and when to plant them! Check it out: (affiliate link)
What is your advice for beginner gardeners?