March 5, 2016

Planning the best garden experience

by Toni Leland
Purple globe Allium
Beautiful Allium 'Gladiator' is
tall and takes up lots of space.

For me, gardening is always a work in progress. Each year is different, and I learn something new every garden season!

But one thing remains constant: the need to have a plan. Just as you would read a recipe to be certain that you have the ingredients and the time, planning ahead for the garden of your dreams is just as important.

This month in Norwich Magazine, I outlined the various chores to accomplish from March through May and—you guessed it—many of those tasks fall under the heading of having a plan. For instance, if you're hoping to plant some new shrubs, you'll want to assess the best spot for them. What nutrients will they need? How much water and sunlight? One of the easiest traps for an avid gardener is to see something they "just have to have" and buy it without thought of where they'll plant it. (Guilty as charged!)

Want to start or expand a vegetable garden? What will you grow? Is there room for a corn patch that hogs the sunlight? (Of course, you could plant a shade-loving vegetable next to it, but that does take some planning.) Is your soil friable enough (soft and workable) to support root vegetables?

Do you even have enough ground to put in a garden? If not, then consider raised beds constructed from various materials. These are great because you can put them where they will support the best growth. Or look at the concept of vertical gardening. Veggies like cucumbers, squash, peas, beans, and some other things will grow on trellises if you guide them.
Great use of the south wall of the house. Three
varieties of cucumbers and some green beans
grow quite happily on stakes, leaving room in
front for carrots and beets.

Also this month in Norwich Magazine, my Toni's Garden column deals with placement of birdbaths, feeders, and nesting boxes. All these things require a little forethought to achieve a successful outcome.

To get your brain working, here are links to some of my past articles about the importance of having a plan.

Dwarf Shrubs: Perfect Choices for Many Reasons
Unfortunate Planting Decisions
Planning Now for Fall Color & Winter Interest
Planting for the Future

Regardless of how grand or small your plans for this season might be, make sure they include the time to enjoy the fruits of your labor!

Happy Gardening!

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