Garden Planning is Key

AlmanacPlanning a garden is a laudable endeavor, but a daunting one to me. Perhaps if I ever take a landscaping course I will not feel as intimidated by the process. I have to be honest and share that laying things out on paper makes me feel not as free to create as I imagine.

If this resonates with you — take heart. Our Herbal Treasures of Hickory Hollow Garden was officially established in 1998, and I still haven’t graphed everything out section-by-section.

Except for designing the ‘bones’ of the basic garden because we were preparing the site from scratch, I could never bring myself to draw in and identify each nook and cranny of the space. Perhaps this is the very reason you will likely never see a neatly clipped and meticulously-trimmed hedge row in our Herbal Treasures’ garden. This may seem an astonishing admission from a Visual-type person, but it is true.

That said, ‘planning’ your garden does not have to involve drawing yours out to scale, with plant graphics plotted strategically on your careful sketch. For a successful garden another type of planning will help to ensure a garden hopefully more closely matching the one you imagine:

1) Determine location: amount of sun and or shade, space available, type of soil and lay out; accessibility to water source.

2) Plant selection is key: read about plants you are interested in and determine if they are possible for you to grow in your Hardiness Zone. This can be heartbreaking, but it won’t break the bank quite as easily, for your investment!

3) Consider use of the garden: 

Cutting flowers?

Growing vegetables?

For entertaining?

Do you have pets and/or children?   

 

The fun part is in finding the plants you would like to add to your garden. A great variety of them are now available at garden centers everywhere, and there are specialty catalogs and websites that offer more exotic, unusual or often more difficult to find plants to fill that niche.

Another reason I have not sketched out our garden is that it is a work in progress. It has changed radically in at least 3 different phases throughout it’s existence. I think if I were to draw it out, I would feel like “that was it,” and we are not there, yet.

 

Enjoy the process — happy ‘planning’ — most of all, happy planting!

Considerations for Planning Your Garden, Part 2

Garden guyOnce you have determined the vegetables and herbs you would like to grow, take a bit of time to research what and which variety grows best in your area. You will find particular varieties of many vegetables are preferred over others in specific regions for the fact that they grow best there. This is great info to tap into, to better ensure your successfully-producing garden!

Where to go to get this valuable information, before you dig trowel into the ground?

As a Master Gardener Volunteer Graduate (MGVG), I can speak from first-hand experience and highly recommend the resources available and freely offered through the many local Cooperative Extension Offices. To locate the office nearest you, click here on this link

Your local Cooperative Extension Office can provide you with a list of preferred varieties that have been proven to grow best in your area. This saves you time and money! It’s fun to experiment of course — a lot of times we do that in the garden, but if you want to put food on the table the “tried and true” is best.

As the MGVG that I am, also I recommend having a soil test done through the Cooperative Extension Office. All supplies and information are available through them. Januray-February are the optimal months to have your soil sample to them for teating. This allows ample time for the process, and so you can prepare your garden spot, amending the soil as indicated by the test, for best results.