Every spring you think about starting a garden but for one reason or another, it just doesn’t happen. Not enough time, not enough motivation, or just not enough know-how. Let’s end that. This year make your garden happen with these tips!
Note the Frost Date
Make sure you pay attention to the last possible frost date before planting seeds or young plants. They may be available in the garden store, but the plants there will have been grown in a warm greenhouse. Exposing them to frost could kill them off quickly. In the Long Island hardiness zone (zone 7) the last frost date for 2020 is around April 14th, but check your weather before planting!
If this is your first year gardening you may be tempted to stake out a big area for your garden bed. However, consider starting small. A 6×6 bed is more than enough space for a first garden. Remember, you have to care for and weed all of the plants. The bigger your garden the more work you’ll have.
Container gardening is another great option for first-timers. You can grow lots of different plants in pots including herbs, vegetables, and fruit trees.
Prep Your Soil
Once you’ve chosen your location it’s important to prep your soil. Your young plants will be heavy feeders, so you’ll want lots of organic matter mixed in with the soil. If you’re using a raised bed you can purchase pre-prepared raised bed soil from your local garden center or Brinkmann’s Hardware. Potting soil can also be used in container gardens.
Room to Grow
It’s important to give your plants room to grow. Your plant’s roots will spread over time, and if you plant them too close together they won’t reach their full potential because of crowding. Throughout the growing season they’ll also compete for food and water, so give the plants a break and give them space to start. If you want to grow from seed you may want to start with extra seeds and thin out to just the strongest plants once they begin to grow.
Take It Easy
Vegetable gardening can be extremely rewarding, and vegetables tend to be easy to grow. Start with “carefree” plants like tomatoes, peppers, and zucchini, and you’ll be sure to grow vegetables you can not only cook but also share with friends and family.