Planning A Garden Wisely: How To Avoid Garden Planning Mistakes

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A wooden walkway with yellow mud boots against a garden.

Growing a garden is a great way to make your yard look beautiful while adding to nature. There are many different garden styles and types so choosing one that’s best for you and your yard will give you the most success. Here are a few ways you can plan your garden to make sure you get the most out of it.

Video – Planning a Garden

Plant For Your Area

One of the first things you’ll need to look at is the climate. Think about what you’d like to grow and what will do well in your area. If you’re not familiar with the local climate or you’re just starting with a garden, ask the employees at your local garden center what their best-sellers are. This is a great way to gauge what usually does well in your area before you invest in any plants. 

Take Some Planting Chances

Decide on which native plants please you the most, and which are a good match for you garden. consider coloru, watering needs, sun requirements, pollinators and so forth. Here is a helpful guide to choose plants native to Canada, mostly for eastern Canada at the moment.. If you’re willing to put in the extra care, you can add some plants that aren’t necessarily local. These might require extra sun, water, or nutrients so make sure you’re willing to attend to them or you’ll be throwing your money away.

Base it on Space

The type of plants you can grow will also depend on how much space you have. A plant with a small area will take over the whole garden, while one with a large area will be vulnerable to nature’s snackers, such as birds and deer. 

You can provide climbing plants, like peas, with some structure by planting sunflowers next to them, and lettuce underneath for shade. This system maximizes the use of space in your garden by allowing each plant to work together. 

Use Nature To Your Advantage

You can also choose plants that attract specific insects that will eat away at destructive insects. Marigolds, calendulas, and chamomile are all flowers that will draw in hoverflies and ladybugs to eat away at pests. 

Look at it Final Form

Make sure to also be aware of the plant’s final size. Some may start as small seedlings and bloom into a plant ten times its size. If you have a plant that has vines, give it enough space to spread itself out or climb up something sturdy. This will allow the plant to get enough nutrients, water, and sunlight it needs instead of fighting with other plants around it. 

Give Your Plants Some Friends

Companion planting is also something you should investigate. Some plants grow together well because they provide benefits to others. The Three Sisters is the most common example of this. Corn, beans, squash, and other crops are planted close together in this farming method. By growing corn tall, beans climb, beans enrich the soil with nitrogen, and squash suppresses weed growth. Here is a companion plant Guide.

Always Add Some Spice

If you’re going for a flower garden instead of veggies, it’s still a good idea to add some herbs, even if you’re not going to eat them. Many herbs are great for attracting bees to help your flowers pollinate while others can provide an alternative meal for bunnies to keep your flowers intact. 

Get Some Good Dirt

Another very important factor to avoid any growing issues is your soil. Planning a garden and planting it in terrible soil will leave you with nothing but a headache. Before you plant everything, test your soil using a pH testing kit. A pH level test kit is available at most hardware stores. If you find your soil to be too acidic (a level of 5.5-6.5), you can use lime to bring it back to neutral. 

Make a Timeline

You’re almost ready to plant a flourishing garden. The next step is to plan out your planting schedule. As we’ve already mentioned, different plants grow best in different areas and at different times. If you plan out how long a plant is going to last, you can maximize the space you have. 

Use the Same Space

If you’re harvesting vegetables, you want to check the harvesting times for each thing you plant and map out a schedule of when they’ll need to be planted and replanted. If you have a great spot for lettuce but you know you don’t want to keep replanting it all year, do a few weeks of lettuce and switch to a plant with a longer harvest like carrots when the season is right.

Mix it Up

Mixing what grows in what area can also help the soil retain its quality. Changing your garden around every planting season is a good idea. In certain places, plants might grow well, but that won’t last forever. Three to four years later, the soil may have become depleted of specific nutrients that plants need to thrive. 

Rotate Your Crops

Plants from the same family are also susceptible to the same kinds of insects. After thriving on your lettuce for one year, you can expect aphids to return the following year. 

Planting tomatoes in a corner one year and root vegetables in the same spot the following year confuses the insects and replenishes the soil. The technique of growing crops in a rotation has been around since the earliest farms, and it’s an easy way to keep your soil fertile and full of nutrients. 

Get Some Virtual Help

If you feel overwhelmed by all of this, you can always seek assistance. A number of garden planning apps will do much of the work for you. The apps provide all the information you need on each plant at the touch of a button and some even let you upload a photo of your garden and add virtual plants to see what it will look like when it’s done.

Hire a Professional

There is also the option of hiring a professional gardener or irrigation sprinkler company. Consultations on your yard are invaluable. They will be able to tell you what kind of plants will work in your yard, how they should be planted, and they can usually give you some tips on how to maintain them. If you have no idea where to start or you have a yard with some unique problems, hiring a gardener is the best way to go.

Growing a garden that will bring you joy is as easy as making a successful plan. Planning your garden can keep you from avoiding any major issues or making any mistakes you’ll regret in the future. Just a little bit of time and effort can help you keep your garden in its best form for years to come. 

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