Planning & Preparing Your Spring Vegetable Garden

A little planning & preparing for a garden can provide excellent nutrition, exercise, it’s therapeutic and it’s fun for the entire family. Plus, gardeners know exactly what goes into the food that goes onto their tables, and fresh homegrown produce just tastes better. Gardens are easy to plant & tend; whether you have a natural green thumb or are just starting your first garden, growing your own food is a rewarding experience. Here’s how to start vegetable gardening in spring:

  • Location, Location, Location! It’s not just for real estate anymore. You need a sunny spot without grass. Make sure the plants you choose can tolerate shade if part of the plot is shady.
  • Raised bed or go straight to soil? Both are good options; it really comes down to preference. There are benefits to both. Raised beds are perfect for areas where the soil is very hard, it adds appeal to your landscape and it’s off the ground a bit so it might be less hard on your back. Check your local Hydro-Scape for available Raised Bed Kits made with solid redwood.
  • Soil: It’s more than just dirt. You’ll need to know exactly what it is in order to be successful. Is it clay? Sand? Loam? Whatever it is, rotor-till or spade in some compost and planting mix to make it more agreeable to your plants. For raised beds; you’ll be putting lots of bagged soil in to fill it. Learn more about how much soil you’ll need and preparing your soil.
  • Getting in the garden. Make sure you leave reasonable access to the garden rows. Trampling plants or compacting the soil near the root base is a bad thing.
  • Get Picky! Give some good thought to what you want to grow. It’s completely counter-productive to plant cabbage if no one will eat it. Likewise, give thought to plant placement/size. Do you need stakes/cages for tomatoes? Room to spread out for cukes & zukes? Make sure taller veggies don’t shade smaller ones as the smaller ones may not grow well. Leave room for airflow, too.
  • The Buddy System. Try your hand at companion planting (Google it for more details; libraries have been written about it!). Essentially, it’s putting certain plants together – tomatoes & basil, for instance – because they have ways of helping each other.
  • Feed Your Food. Gardens need fertilization. Inorganic (liquid or slow-release) or organic are your options and there are a great many choices available in each at your local Hydro-Scape. Remember: Ultimately, this food will be on a dinner plate. Make sure it’s safe!
  • Pesky Critters. Gardens attract pests; gardeners hate pests. Once again, a ton of control options exist, from inorganic, organic to careful handpicking. There are even in-betweeners, such as water, liquid biodegradable soap and essential citrus oils. Again, this food will be on a dinner plate; choose wisely.
  • Magic Mulch. Mulch helps the soil retain water. It also keeps weeds down, relieving you of most of the unpleasant and backbreaking task of weeding. Mulch can also be used to make your garden even more visually appealing. As it decays, mulch also feeds the soil, thus providing plants with much-needed nutrients. Learn more about mulch.

There you have it. You’re on your way to starting your delicious warm season vegetable garden!