Thursday, January 17, 2019

Prepping Your Spring Garden For Success

1.) Plan Your Garden

Sketch, Plot and Plant
First things first, you should pick seeds and transplants that will do well in your area. There are tons and tons of seed outlets online offering the common, the obscure and the useless. Do your best to match your crops’ preferences with the local climate and the types of soil media at your disposal. In other words, make decisions early on that will make your life easier later on. Browse our full catalog of organic and heirloom seeds here.

Creating a basic sketch of the cultivation area(s) helps to visualize the space prior to planting. This is an easy method to design a space-efficient garden bed, properly space plants and estimate what you’ll need to grow through the year (fertilizers, amendments, beneficial nematodes, etc.). A piece of graph paper can be a gardener’s best friend. The grid pattern makes it easy to plot plantings and pair plants that offer benefits to one another. Examples of this include planting legumes (nitrogen fixers) nearby nitrogen-needy plants like cruciferous vegetables and using aromatic herbs to keep pests away from their favorite plants. Try ARBICO's free Garden Journal to start planning your spring garden.

2.) Build Your Soil

Get Your Hands Dirty!
Soil is the soul of our gardens. It forms the garden’s foundation for the following months (or years). Soil prep starts with knowing what you’re growing and how you want to grow it. You’ll want to think about plant preferences, possible pitfalls, local pests and crop types. Some common soil amendments and additives include the following:
The natural ingredients in organic fertilizers break down over time, freeing up additional nutritional content and making it available to your plants later in the season. This slow release nourishes the plants with what they need when they need it instead of giving them a drink from the firehose. Most of this breakdown also feeds naturally occurring (or introduced) microorganisms helping maintain soil structure and more closely resemble the natural soil biome. 

3.) Place Sticky Traps & Buy A Notebook

Note-Taking Doesn't Stop After School
Often underestimated, sticky traps are a simple and pain-free way to monitor pests in the garden. Yellow traps attract the widest range of insects and are superb for establishing a baseline for ongoing control. They help us spot things early, reduce plant damage and plan for success moving forward in the season. 

Now that the traps are placed, get a notebook and make notes of what gets trapped and when. Pests or beneficials give us insights into what to expect and how to move forward. Keeping a log of information is one of the easiest things to improve our gardening efforts season on season. 

Found a bug, but don’t know what it is? Let us help you ID it!

At the end of the day, gardening should be a fun experiment. You're not going to get it perfect the first time, but consistent improvement is remarkably achievable. Following the steps above should get your garden started on the right foot and move you closer to the eagerly awaited harvest. Gardening gives us a chance to grow with our plants, so let’s take advantage of this spring season for just that! 

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