Right now it looks like spring is a long way off. But don’t be fooled—before you know it, it will be time to plant your garden. This is the time of year to sit down and plan what you want this year’s garden to look like.
What’s the Number-one Hobby in America?
You guessed it–it’s gardening! That means that manufacturers have come up with countless tools and methods to bring gardening to everyone. Whether you live in an apartment, a small house or have a large lot, there is a garden-building tool that will work for you. It doesn’t matter what your physical, space or time limitations are, there is a way for you to garden.
Need help planning?
If you’re uncertain where to start, there are several books that will help you with both the planning and the journaling. Garden Journal and Planner and The Garden Planner are two books that have a lot of 5-star ratings. It’s a little harder to find computer program planners that get good ratings from everyone. You might try this Land Designer for PCs. It’s only $1, so not much of a risk if it’s not exactly what you want. There are lots of garden planners online that offer a 30-45 day free trial, so you can see how helpful it will be before buying. Or you might want to try a completely free planner, like this one.
Timing is Everything
Every year we have a nice warm up at the end of April or first of May and many people ask me if they can start their garden. The answer is “it depends.” If you are ready to plant cold-tolerant crops, yes, go ahead. But don’t plant your warm-weather plants. The average last frost date for our area is May 20. Planting anything before that is just asking for disaster. Here in North Dakota, we always have a frost in mid-May, sometimes as late as the 3rd week of May. Always.
When do I plant?
When and what you plant depends on where you live and what the average frost date is for your area. Find your USDA Hardiness Zone here. The Hardiness Zone tells you how cold it gets and which perennial plants, bushes, trees will survive in your zone. This interactive map will tell you the average dates for first and last frost in your area.
So does that mean that you cannot plant anything until late May? No, you just shouldn’t plant anything that will not survive freezing temperatures. But there are many cold-hardy vegetables (like my brassicas) that do just fine in cool weather. You can start planting those as early as 3-4 weeks before the average last frost date. Use this interactive website to find the gardening schedule for your zone.
So, that’s a plan?
Planning your garden now will not only ensure a more successful garden, but is a great way to shake off the winter blues. With a little planning, you are certain to have a wonderful garden this year. Happy spring!