Gardening Tips and Tricks for this Spring

Whether you’re starting a new garden or returning to a well-established one, planning is essential for a successful and fun experience. To give your garden the best chance to thrive, take time to get organized at the beginning of your growing season. Here are a few tips for growing a healthy, bountiful garden this spring!

Pay attention to sunlight. What direction does your garden face? In the Northern Hemisphere, south-facing yards and balconies get the most light, while north-facing gardens will almost always be shaded by comparison. Take a look, too, for buildings, trees and other structures that could block light by creating shadows. You may want to locate your vegetable garden in the sunniest spot, even if that’s your front yard.

Choose the right crops for the right place. If you can’t move your garden, work with what you have and choose your crops accordingly. Most salad greens, like spinach and lettuce, will grow happily in partial shade but can really suffer under hot sun. Good soil can help compensate for a less than perfectly located garden.

Take your lifestyle into consideration. If you like to travel, have a busy schedule without much free time or are planning home renovations in the next year, consider adding a smaller, less permanent container garden. An irrigation system with timers is a worthwhile investment if you don’t think you’ll be able to water your garden regularly.

Choose what to plant. Once you have a sense of your goals and capacity, it’s time to choose your plants. Keep your plan simple. Allocate a space for each of your crops, taking into consideration that some plants, like salad greens, need very little room, while others, like pumpkins, can get enormous. If you’re growing in raised beds, consider dividing each bed into tidy sections using string and nails, a method known as square-foot gardening. This technique is especially helpful with salad greens, which do best when planted in small amounts every week or two.

Keep in mind that it’s best to avoid planting the same crop (or a close relative) in the same place year after year. Rotating crops helps prevent soil-borne plant diseases and nutrient deficiencies.

It’s all too easy to get excited about a garden early in the year, only to abandon it weeks later when the work becomes overwhelming. By doing some advance planning, you’ll give your garden the best opportunity to thrive!

WRITTEN IN COLLABORATION WITH REBECCA CUTTLER AND HOUZZ.COM