By Kristen Rice
January is the perfect time for gardeners to start planning for the spring! Planning your garden beds in advance can make your seed ordering easy and your planting as efficient and successful as possible. Here are a few tips to get you started!
Learn some common vocabulary that you will come across on seed packets before you start shopping.
Don't get ahead of yourself without doing garden spacing! Measure your garden bed so you don’t buy too many seeds. Certain types prefer to be tightly packed together, while others need more elbow room.
Know where, and for how long, sunlight hits in your garden. This is important as certain seeds prefer more sunlight than others in the germination stages.
Once you have your garden measurements and space requirements for your seeds, draw a plan on paper. Try out new combinations and patterns that make the most of your space with the ease of pencil and eraser. Plan a nice mix of vegetables and flowers that bloom and fruit at different times throughout the year.
Order your seeds now, and start some indoors! You'll be a step ahead and ready to plant after the last frost. Growing your own food is rewarding, especially when you are able to share extras with friends and food banks in your neighborhood. By Gardening for the Greater Good, you'll be contributing to PHS's goal of providing access to fresh, healthy food.
With seemingly thousands of choices online and in catalogs, where should you begin? We asked Adam Hill, PHS Associate Director, Community Gardens where he shops for seeds. He recommends True Love, Baker Creek, Southern Exposure, Fedco, Johnny's, Maddow Grower's Supply, and Burpee. "Start with vegetables you like to eat, and try to shop organic whenever possible," says Hill.
PHS encourages everyone to go organic. The benefits are numerous, including preventing toxic runoff, water pollution, soil contamination and poisoning, as well as death of insects, birds, and other beneficial organisms. You will also be eliminating pesticide, herbicide, and fungicide residues on food from synthetic fertilizers. Organic gardening is best for the environment and for you!