Gardening with Penn State Master Gardeners

Garden Planning Tips for early spring

The date says spring is here and we are certainly looking for “home grown activities” . What better way to spend time than planning a garden for you and your family.  It’s relaxing, it’s physical, it’s outdoors and nothing is more rewarding than seeing your plants spring to life.

So for the novice or the veteran gardener it pays to plan early in the season before you dig! Here are a few general tips for planning your garden:

  1. Location, location, location

As is real estate it is important to visualize where your garden will be best suited. An area that provides at least 6 hours of sun and is well drained are two important factors.

  1. Grow what you love to eat

Before hitting the seed catalogs and greenhouses think about the veggies that you and your family enjoy.  Choose the varieties that are easily grown in your area.

  1. Start small and be realistic

A little goes a long way especially if you have limited space.  Backyard gardens that are well tended can provide more than you would expect. Space requirements vary by plant variety so be sure to read the spacing instructions that are provided.  Raised beds and community gardens are great alternatives if you have a limited yard

  1. Dirt is dirt is dirt! Wrong!!

You may want to obtain a soil testing kit which will help determine what nutients need to be added or balanced in your soil. If that is not an option for you, enrich your soil with quality compost or organic matter. These can be obtained at most garden centers

  1. Do a little homework

There are thousands of resources available which can enhance and provide more details on your garden planning process. Seed manufacturers, local master gardeners and online garden websites are just a few where you can access information.

The most important thing is to enjoy your gardening experience. Relax, hit the outdoors, get your hands in the dirt and stay healthy!! More tips will be forthcoming as we get further into the planting season.