A lot goes into setting a garden up for a successful growing season. You have pick a spot that has all the essential elements for prosperous plants. The location needs to receive at least six hours of sunlight per day. Plus, there must be access to water and sufficient drainage in case of overflow. Most importantly, the soil must be prime for planting. Preparing your garden from spring takes work, but with proper planning and groundwork, your plants are sure to bloom in a beautiful abundance.
Prep the Soil
If you’re starting a new garden, pick a spot that has all the essential elements for prosperous plants. Make sure the location receives at least six hours of sunlight per day. Plus, there must be access to water and sufficient drainage in case of overflow. Most importantly, the soil must be prime for planting.
Whether you’re starting with a new piece of land or an existing garden plot, start by removing all of the debris, overgrowth, and weeds from the space. Next, you’ll want to break up the soil so the plants have an easier time extending their roots into the ground. Depending on the size of your garden, you can use a few different tools. For small gardens, a spade or shovel works for turning the soil. On larger plots of land, you’ll want to use a motor-powered tiller. The goal is to loosen the soil and remove any large rocks or roots.
Some gardeners find it helpful to have their soil tested. This tells you the type of soil you’re working with, plus its pH and acidity levels. Lowe’s offers some helpful tips on how to sample your soil at home and they sell testing kits. Your local garden or nursery should also be able to test your soil. It’s important to test it during the tilling process. That way, you can insert helpful additives as you break up the soil. Finally, moisten the soil and let it rest while you plan the rest of your garden.
Plan for the Garden
Now that you have a blank canvas to work with, plan the layout of your garden and determine which plants to include. Before heading to the garden center, draw up your garden on a piece of paper. Try your best to include exact placement of any vegetables, shrubs, and flowers that you’d like in your garden. If there is leftover room, pencil in decorative elements like rocks, fountains, or pots. Preplanning encourages you to stay on track at the nursery so you don’t over purchase.
Check your tools before getting started. Shears, shovels, and loppers should be sharp. Hoses should be in working order with no holes or kinks. Replace anything that is broken or ineffective. This goes for outdated fertilizer and produce cleaner.
Choose the Plants
You’re at the nursery with your garden plan, so now what? Don’t be afraid to ask for help. The associates are more than happy to take a look at your drawing and help find plants that best match your plan.
If you’re starting from seeds or bulbs, make sure you buy them well in advance so they have enough time to germinate and grow. Make sure frost season has passed before planting anything that cannot be brought indoors. Then, pick the right plant for the environment. If a vegetable grows better in partial shade, avoid putting it in a garden that sees full sun all day. Also, pick plants that grow well together. Life Hacker created a handy chart that details which plants play nice with others.
Once you’ve picked out the flora, you’re ready for the fun part. Planting! Stick to the plan and have fun with it. Most garden plants are pretty hardy, so even inexperienced growers can have confidence in their green thumb.