The holidays have wrapped up, the decorations are put away for the season, and winter is in full force. These dreary days often invoke wistful thoughts of nicer, spring weather and getting outside to work in the garden. But if the weather outside isn’t cooperative there are many things you can get started on now to temporarily forget about the gloomy weather and get a jump on your spring gardening.
One of the first things you can do is to simply work on planning your garden. This time of year is the best time to start planning because you aren’t facing any time constraints or a sense of urgency to make decisions because plants or seeds need to get in the ground.
Start off by finding a pen and some paper and do some basic brainstorming:
Brainstorming the things mentioned above, and anything else that comes to mind gives you ideas regarding what’s important in your garden. It helps to bring to light the parts you think are working well, what you’d like to change, and maybe new things you’d like to try.
After brainstorming through those basic ideas take some time to organize your thoughts. Categorize ideas into columns based upon importance, i.e. “must do”, “want to do”, etc. Now it’s time to do some drafting!
Sit down and pull out the paper and pencil again. However, this time grab some graph paper if you have it -- yes, the kind you used back in high school math classes and swore you’d never touch again -- and roughly sketch out your yard and garden area. Doing so allows you to adequately visualize the available space and current layout.
After drawing out the basic sketch add in the features that are already in your garden: trees, shrubs, flowerbeds, fish ponds, perennials. Think about what other elements you’d like to incorporate and determine the best placement, adding them into the sketch.
As you work your way through planning your garden, keep the following tips in mind:
After determining the design elements and their layout, configure a schedule for pruning perennials before they break dormancy, adding soil amendments, preparing the garden beds, and then planting to help you stay on track.
Planning your spring garden during the downtime of winter is a great way to beat the winter blues and leisurely draw up a schedule and layout for the upcoming season. Brainstorming ideas about what has worked in the past and what you’d like to change when coupled with the aforementioned tips can help make planning a breeze.
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