Spring is officially here and gardening planning is at the front of our minds. There are few basics that help everyone get started.
- Soil amendment: What are you planting in the space? Have you planted there before?
- Vegetables need the most nutrient base between them and flowers. Their plants feed on living matter so if you are going to grow food in a location, amending compost or a soil conditioner is the best option. I personally go for a half (compost) and half (Soil) mix if I am doing container vegetables. IF you garden space is going to be full of flowers, compost won’t hurt but a good soil or potting mix works great too. Flowers will suffer from living matter in the soil but vegetables need it.
- Sun Exposure: Knowing how much sun a space gets is important for gardening success.
- Idaho is quite a sunny place in our area. Knowing how much sun hits a spot in your garden will help you pick the best plants for that area. If you are growing food, sun is a must! 8 hours or more for most food producing plants is standard. If you get less than that and want to grow food, container gardening for your plants to produce may be a great option so you can put them closer to a sunny spot and move them if necessary.
- Annuals and perennials will vary on sun, part-sun or shade. The thing to remember with shade is plants that grow in the shade still need filtering light to bloom and textures are your best friend. You can use some shade items in sunny areas if they get the morning sun and not the hot afternoon sun if you are just in love with that coleus like I am. “Sun” plants will need 8 hours or more. Part shade plants can do up to 6-8 hours of sun. Shade plants can do 4-6 hours of sun in the cooler hours of the day. As I have stated before, if you have a plant that is bordering on its needs and its location, put it in a container and you can move it around if you need to.
- Access to water: This one is a biggie! How will the space you are working with get water?
- You always want to know how you’re going to get hydrating your plants. Do the sprinklers hit that location? Do you have a drip systems? Or will it be good old-fashioned hand watering all the time? Map that out so it isn’t a surprise when the plants go into the space. Also, if you are manually doing any watering and have a vacation planned sometime in the summer, be thinking of who could come water the garden for you so it is still there when you come home.
- Now the fun begins!
- What you want to plant? This is truly the fun part. You get to be creative and try new things. Now, everyone has questions and that is what your local garden center associate is there for. Take some pictures of your space and know which way on the compass (North, south, east, west) it faces and if there is any obstructions that are large and would block light.
- Keeping a journal of what you did and didn’t like is kind of fun too. It is something I would suggest doing in a current morning ritual you already have in place so it doesn’t become a burden.
- Temperature: Is it warm enough for what you want to plant? Just ask your garden center if you are hesitant. This varies year to year and after some practice, you will know. Soil temperatures are truly what you need to be looking for. Those root (or seeds if you are starting something!) need some warmth in the soil to get them going.
- Feeding your plants: This doesn’t have to be scary or time consuming. If you are growing food, you will need certain fertilizers and if you are growing flowers, there are things you will need with them too. And granular fertilizer is always your friend as it typically can be time release and you just sprinkle every few weeks and water in. If you are ever lost in this arena, ask your local garden center what is best for the plants in your garden.
These are basics and will likely lead to more questions. Ask away! That is what we are here for. Happy gardening!