As we feel ourselves slowly creeping out of the long winter of darkness and hibernation, the sun’s rays bring with them a renewed sense of awakening energy and hope. A spirit of rebirth begins to emerge, and one of the most satisfying ways to celebrate is to begin planning for the garden.
Embracing the Light After a Long Winter
Winter months can be hard, especially here in the northern Canadian prairies. Cold temperatures, prolonged darkness, snow and ice, the feeling of being stuck inside for months on end – although initially restful – can start to become gloomy. But now that the beginning of spring is in sight, I find myself looking forward to warmer months and the possibilities that come with them. It’s time to start planning for the garden.
Now is a great time to reflect on what worked last year, what didn’t, and how to change things up. It’s the perfect opportunity to start thinking about how to make the most of the sun’s energy and the warmer temperatures ahead.
Why Do Garden Planning?
Planning early can be simple and rewarding. It is essential for the success of any garden, no matter how big or how small. It helps with efficiency and overall success, making the most of the space and budget we have. We can anticipate and prepare for potential issues or problems, and if planned properly, we can ensure we have enough food for the entire season.
Garden planning also allows us to take control of our own health by producing nutritious, organic foods that are free of chemicals and pesticides. And we can plan to grow a variety of medicinal herbs and plants that can help support health and wellbeing.
Finally, garden planning is a great way to connect with nature and be mindful of the natural cycles of life and the planet. It’s a way to be in touch with the changing seasons and to be in tune with the rhythms of the earth.
Steps to Garden Planning
Planning the garden does not have to be complicated or overwhelming. With a few simple steps, we can create a plan that will help get the most out of the garden for the upcoming season:
- Assess the space available and decide what kind of garden you want to create. Do you want to grow vegetables, herbs, or flowers? Do you have enough space for a raised bed or a container garden? Do you want to create a butterfly garden or an edible landscape?
- Decide on what plants you want to grow. Research different varieties of plants and make sure they are suitable for your climate and soil type. Think about how much space each plant will need, and how you can maximize the available space.
- Think about your soil and how you can improve it. Depending on your soil type, you may need to amend it with compost, manure, or additional nutrients. You may also wish to consider using mulch or cover crops in order to help retain moisture and improve soil structure.
- Think about which plants you want to plant where, keeping in mind the sun and moisture patterns in your garden and the needs of individual plants. You may also want to consider companion planting, which is when you plant certain plants together in order to improve their growth and productivity.
- Consider your budget. Gardening can become an expensive hobby, but it doesn’t have to be. You can stretch your budget much farther by growing vegetables and flowers from seeds, collecting and saving seeds to use in the next growing season, shopping for sales, making your own compost, and repurposing materials you already have.
- Finally, think about maintenance. This includes things like watering, weeding, pruning, and pest control. What can you realistically manage? It’s also important to plan for harvesting and preserving, which is a whole other topic we will visit in a future post.
Garden Planning Tips
Garden planning can seem overwhelming, but with a few simple tips the process can be easier and much more enjoyable:
- Start small. Don’t try to do too much too soon. Start with just a few plants and gradually add more as you gain experience and comfort.
- Plan ahead. Make sure you know what plants you want to grow, and when they should be planted. This will help avoid overcrowding and will ensure you have enough food throughout the season.
- Plan for the unexpected. Make sure you’re prepared to deal with things like pests, diseases and extreme weather events.
- Be flexible. Don’t be afraid to make changes if something isn’t working. Gardening is an ongoing process, and successful gardeners are always learning.
Garden planning is a natural way to welcome the light and anticipate the abundance of spring as the cycle turns past midwinter. It’s a great way to take control of our health, connect with nature, and celebrate the changing seasons and natural cycles of life. With a little bit of planning and preparation, we can create a garden that will bring joy and abundance all season long.
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