The temps are finally starting to rise a little bit here in middle Tennessee and my brain is all like... "Get seeds in the ground, now!!!"... While playing in the dirt sounds like a great idea, you can't just go throwing stuff in the ground all willy-nilly.... Welll, I mean, you could, but you might end up with a hot mess on your hands and plants that have no room to grow and other random issues. (Don't ask me how I know this)
Since the "morning glory fiasco of 2015", I have put a lot more thought and planning into my gardening... especially the planning part. It is imperative you know how big a plant (or veggie) will get when fully grown vs how much space you have, as to not have a mammoth plant taking over your garden. (One seed probably would have been plenty)
*Prep Your Bed*
First things first; prepare your garden spot. Start by pulling any weeds that have grown up over the winter and amend your soil with any nutrients you may need to give your plants the best start possible. Different plants have different soil requirements, some prefer compact soil, some prefer loose, loamy soil. Some need a high PH, some a low ph. Try to group plants with others that have the same needs.
Inspect your soil. Over the winter, nasty garden pests might have made their way into your beds. Mine usually have tons of grubs, slugs, and roly-polies. I toss the grubs in the yard for the birds and leave the roly-polies and slugs. ("real gardeners" are cringing right now, I know, but I can't harm the slugs)
*Make a Plan*
Resist the urge to plant things just because they are pretty. I know, I know, it sucks, but having a successful garden requires a little bit of planning. There are lots of things to take into consideration... final height of plant, flowering time, soil needs and water and sun-light requirements. You can't plant a tall plant next to a small, squatty plant, because the tall one will block all the light of the small one... again, don't ask me how I know this.
*Start a Composting Area*
If you don't already have an area for composting, now is a great time to start one. You can use a bin specifically for composting or you could modify an old trash can. There are tons of tutorials on the internet for crafting one at home. When I started composting it was eye-opening to see how much stuff we throw away that could be put to good use. If you live in a rural or suburban area, be mindful of securing your compost, lest you become the "crazy raccoon lady" of the neighborhood.
*Start Those Seeds*
If you're starting your plants from seed you will need to plan this step way ahead of time, depending on the climate zone you live in. There are several different schools of thoughts on how is best to do this, but I like old school paper pots or using recycled egg cartons. (If you do this, make sure they are very clean)
If you're starting your plants from bulbs, you might want to wait another week or so. I know if feels nice out there, but don't trust it... we're not there just yet. (speaking of middle TN)
*Start a New Project*
Now is a great time to start a new project in the garden. A new raised bed, a new planting area or even a new water feature. A few years ago, Micah and I made a cute little raised bed together... I designed it, he helped nail it together. That bed has seen many beautiful flowers, and has held our magic lollipop garden and has been a source of many many amazing memories. Gardening is an amazing way to bond with your kids while imparting an important skill to them.
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