|Photo courtesy vegetablegardener.com|
As the carpenter says, “measure twice, cut once,” so should the gardener say, “plan twice, avoid goof ups!” Planning ahead is the first way to avoid making costly mistakes when starting a vegetable garden. And now is the time to start planning. We are indoors for the next several months, so armchair gardening is the way to increase your knowledge – it will pay off when it comes time to start outside. It will make your garden a compliment to your existing landscape and provide you with an abundance of healthy vegetables. Following are five best management practices to make planning go smoothly.
- Consider where to put your garden. What size of garden can you realistically manage this year? You can always expand later. Placement should be in the spot where you have the best light advantage – especially for the warm season vegetables. The ease of access to water should also be considered.
- Plant only what you like to eat and it will taste even better. Find varieties that grow well in your area and soil conditions. You may want to grow a little extra for canning, freezing or drying.
- Start your layout on paper, it will be easier to move things around compared to having them already in the ground. The end result will be more organized and attractive and you won’t end up planting six rows of radishes before you realize you don’t have room for the cabbage!
- Plan for ease of harvest. Make sure you have good pathways between rows for in-ground gardens, and ensure that raised beds are no wider than three feet. That will enable you to reach all the way to the middle of the rows without compacting the soil.
- Consult reliable resources for your gardening information. CSU Extension offers free and easily accessible resources as well as phone consultations with CSU-trained Master Gardeners.
Planning your garden before you plant will go a long way to contributing to the success and enjoyment of your gardening season. For more information about planning a garden, please join us at the Colorado Master Gardeners of Jefferson County 2017 Spring Gardening Symposium: Beginning Vegetable Gardening: Jump Start your Garden the RIGHT way!, on Saturday, January 28, 2017 from 8:45 AM to 4:00 PM at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds. We have developed a full day of vegetable gardening excitement for beginning and intermediate gardeners in particular. Morning sessions focus on planning your garden, soil and amendments, and seeds vs. transplants. Afternoon sessions focus on the top 10 easiest vegetables to grow in Colorado, growing vegetables in containers, and a session specifically on tomatoes. A lunch and learn class will cover adding flowers and herbs to your vegetable garden. The cost is $75, plus $10 if you’d like to attend the lunch and learn session.
Click here to register. If you’d like additional information, please call the Jefferson County Extension Master Gardener Hotline at 303-271-6620.