Planning Your Spring Garden

Last week I held a garden class in my backyard. Not to make money – simply to share my knowledge. My joy. One of my personal goals for 2018 is to more openly share what I know and love with others.

In sharing who I am and what I know with no attachment – I will inherently be supportive others on their path and journey. I know this is also the best way to attract what I want into my life. But above all I will be actively using my voice to help others.   What a win.

Gardening, like much of life, is learned through trial and error and hard work. Gardening is such a wonderful metaphor for life. Perhaps I will write a book on this one day. But I will save that for now….

Here are my notes for anyone out there who cares to use them as well.  Please note – Diagrams and suggestions are for Gardening Zone 7b/8a

Best,

Sarah

 

Planning Your Bed – Tips to Get Started

  • Ensure enough space for you and your plants
  • Pay attention to companion planting rules
  • Grow what you will Eat!
  • In Small Spaces go for Bang for Buck
  • Avoid difficult to grow items
  • Grow what is in season
  • Plan for Critter Control from Day 1

My Go-To Folks and Places for Questions:

  • Davidson Farmers Market Farmers
  • Master Gardeners of Mecklenburg County
  • Kathleen: Davidson Green School
    • Kathleen McIntyre is a great friend of mine
    • She attends the Davidson Market with the Davidson Green School every other week and welcomes your plant based and nature questions!
  • Farmer’s Almanac
  • A Photo Journal
    • I maintain a digital record of my pictures in Google
    • Key words make searching and observing your progress so fun and easy
  • A Journal
    • Use a journal to jot down things like….
      • Weather
      • Where you get your soil
      • What you plan each month
      • What was successful for you and what was a bust

Where to Buy Seeds, Plants and Soil

      Seeds

      Plants

  • For me, it is important to purchase plants which are chemical free and non gmo my go-to plant sources are:

      Soil

  • How much soil you will need depends on the size of your bed
  • Once you have determined the size of your bed use a calculator to determine how much soil you will need
  • Here is an online option: Cubic Yard Calculator
  • Where to get it
    • Wallace Farm
      • 40 LB Bag Premium Top Soil $1.80
      • 50 LB Composted Cow Manure $2.30
      • 1 C. Ft of Gardener’s Delight Planting Mix $2.40
  • Note: you do not need to Fill you bed to the top! Leave yourself a few inches!

When to Plant

We are in Zone 7b with proper crop rotation 3 full crops a year are possible! 4 if you are adventurous

  • Spring – April – Jun
  • Summer July – Sept
  • Fall August/Sept – November
  • Winter – Nov-Feb/March

when to plant

What to Grow

It can be overwhelming determining what to grow! Above all:

  1. Only plant food you actually want to eat.
  2. From there select things which are easier to grow
  3. And avoid overcrowding – below are some tips!

      What Has been a bust for me

  • Brussel Spouts
  • Cabbage
  • Unless you line your bed Root Vegetables will be difficult
    • Voles are hard to contain here!
  • Corn – not enough bang for the buck ( space it takes )
  • Squash* – grows well however prepare for squash bugs

      Grow great from seed:

  • Radishes
  • Beans
  • Peas
  • Squash
  • Flowers of any type

      Easy to grow in NC

  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Okra
  • Peppers
  • Onions
  • Herbs
  • Squash

      Start indoors or buy from plant:

  • Tomatoes
  • Peppers
  • Cucumbers
  • Herbs
  • Eggplant

Companion Planting

  • Some Plants don’t play well with others
  • Plants, like people, grow best when they are supported by what they need
  • When you pat attention to basic companion planting you:
    • Avoid planting plants next to each other that are incompatible
    • And you pay attention to what each plant prefers to be planted by
  • Below are some helpful companion planting charts
  • If you do nothing else:
    • Plant marigolds around your garden
    • Basil w/ your tomatoes
    • And Mint with your cabbage if you do plant cabbage

CP1

CP2

Planning your plot: Square Foot Gardening:

  • The Easiest way to plan your plot is based on how many square feet you have
  • From that point, you will be able to work backwards
  • Draw out (on paper ) how many of each plants you can comfortably fit in
  • This avoids overcrowding and makes sure you can get in to weed and pick
  • Making sure you leave space also REALLY helps with Bugs!

Square foot gardening.jpg

Keeping Out Critters and pests Organically

There are a lot of different organic ways to keep out critters ( rabbits, squirrels, deer, birds, etc ) and bugs. Here are my favorite:

For Unwanted Animals and Critters:

  • A Fence
  • Keep your animal in your yard nearby – Dog / Cat
  • Repels All – this is made of animal urine – gross but it works awesome
  • Human Hair or pet hair – there about it ( just like the urine ) that works to keep them away. Go ahead and clean your brush around your garden!
  • Certain Plants / Herbs – marigolds, Mint and cayenne are a few

For Pests ( bugs ) I like:

Fertilizer

 

 

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