Getting a Head Start on Gardening
We’re almost out of winter! That means it’s time to start planning your garden. If you haven’t already got it ready to go, here are some helpful hints and suggestions. We’ll cover soil prep, different types of beds and companion planting. Ready? Great! Let’s begin!
The first, and perhaps most important, item is your soil. It’s more than just dirt, you know! You’ll need to pick a sunny location, preferably without grass, for your garden. Next, you need to know what kind of soil you’re working with: clay, sand or loam. Ideally, you’ll have loam, which is the perfect soil for gardening. If you don’t, no worries; we can help.
Proper soil prep results in better harvests and saves on water and fertilizer as well as making your garden easier to maintain and boosting the quality of the soil nutrients. You may even have less weeding! If your garden is new, you need to aggressively till the soil, followed by a deep watering. Regular daily watering for the next two weeks is recommended. All of this encourages hidden weeds to germinate, giving you a chance to eliminate them now rather than spend time weeding later.
Existing beds just need a bit of care: turn and loosen the soil and till in some compost. We suggest about three to four inches of Malibu Biodynamic Compost, True Compost, Sequoia Planting Mix and anything from the Family Tree line of Soil Amendments. We also have Agrowinn’s Organic Worm Castings as well as fish emulsion to boost the nutrient level of your soil. We highly recommend adding this into your soil which makes the perfect mixture of nutrients.
Of course, you can do this at “ground level” or you can work with Hydro-Scape’s solid redwood Raised Bed Kits. Regardless of “in-ground” or raised beds, your garden will need proper hydration. Hydro-Scape can provide many products that are perfect for the job, such as drip tubing, in-line drip valves and irrigation timers. No more trying to find the time to water, just set it and forget it!
What to plant, though? Well, it depends on your tastes. Don’t plant things you or your family won’t eat. That’s just a waste of time and space. Choose foods you all love! You can also consider companion planting. Entire books cover this topic, so we’ll just say a little bit about it here. Essentially, it’s all about planting two plants near each other because they help each other. Some, like garlic and onions, repel pests. Others attract, feed and shelter helpful insects that will then eat pests. Other ways the plants can help each other is by not competing in terms of root depth or nutrient requirements.
So you have an idea of what to plant, but can you plant it now? Well, in January, it was OK to start onion sets, cabbage family plants and root veggies like carrots and turnips. You could even have started peas and rhubarb. Now that we’re in February, you can start beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, chard, endive, kale, lettuces and parsley, all from seed. If you’re in a milder climate zone, you could even plant seedlings of these favorites. You can even start cucumbers! Mound your soil or compost and plant seeds or seedlings on the top of the mound. Plant no more than three per mound and make sure you take into consideration the fact that these plants like to spread out. You could also build a teepee or trellis for them. You’ll need to tie the vines up and give the fruits support, though. If temperatures are still too cool, start from seed using cups and soil. Then transplant into your garden when the plants are about 6 weeks old.
We offer all the necessary supplies at Hydro-Scape such as the soil, tools, garden beds, irrigation timers, valves, drip products and fittings.
We’re glad to help you with your garden and landscape needs. Happy gardening!