When the ground is frozen and covered with snow it may be impossible to work in your garden, but you can still enjoy gardening by working out a plan for what your garden will look like in the new year. Good planning means your garden will be more productive, easier to work, and healthier, and you'll keep your gardening skills sharp even during the coldest winter days.
Answer five crucial questions to plan your garden…
- Purpose: Why are you gardening?
Of course you're gardening because you enjoy it, but what do you enjoy? It takes different planning to create a showplace flower garden, a rich vegetable garden, or a thriving berry patch. If your garden caters to native wildlife or is shared produce with the neighborhood, you will also need different plans. Understanding why you garden and what you want your garden to do will help you develop the best plan to achieve your gardening goals.
- Space: How big is your garden?
The size of your garden will determine not only how many plants you can nurture, but also what types of plants will work best – a small garden cannot support a wide range of space-hogging vines. When considering space, also take note of structures such as a bordering shed, hedge, or trellis that may impact what you can or cannot grow. The light and water your specific space will get should also be part of your planning.
- Design: What look do you want your garden to have?
Consider the overall look of your mature garden even before you plant a single seed or sprout. A formal, groomed garden requires different planning than a casual, freeform design. Borders, pathways, benches, and other unique spots can be a great part of your garden plan if they suit your chosen design, or you may want to work with the different curves and elevations in your yard when planning your garden design.
- Care: How much work are you willing to do in the garden?
Be realistic about the time you will have to work in your garden when making your plans for the new year. Do you travel frequently, work full time, or have other commitments to keep? You may need to opt for plants that are easier to care for or a smaller garden space so you can give it the care it requires and deserves. Consider pruning, weeding, watering, harvesting, and other tasks when planning your garden time.
- Plant Needs: What plants can thrive in your garden?
Consider your soil type and the nutrient composition of your planting area, including the pH, before choosing what plants can be part of your garden. Also take light levels, windbreaks, seasonal temperature changes, and watering needs into account, and note what compost you may have available and how plants will need to be spaced or mulched. By considering plant needs carefully, you can choose exactly the types that will thrive in your individual garden.
By carefully planning your garden for the new year, you will have a more productive, more enjoyable garden to enjoy as soon as planting season begins.