Unless you grow only one or two vegetables, or grow the same thing every year, some planning will help you have a better garden this year. Even a little bit of planning will help you save time, save money, and get off to a really good start.
1. Start with a general list of what you like to eat and what you might want to share with others or preserve for later use. Decide whether you’re going to grow everything from seed, grow your own bedding plants, or buy plants from a local nursery, home improvement center, or elsewhere.
2. Consider making a simple time-line when you’ll start your seeds indoors, when you’ll sow seed outdoors, and when you’ll buy plants. Obviously, gardening is a seasonal activity, and when you start depends on your season.
3. Make a list of any supplies you’ll need; consider shopping for them now, instead of waiting until stores are more crowded and availability may be limited. Now is a great time to buy supplies from mail order companies, too. Order now and you’ll have what you need when spring arrives.
4. Check the condition of your tools winter is a good time to remove rust, repaint if necessary, and get things ready for spring. A little WD-40 on metal parts and boiled linseed oil on wood handles will go a long way to making your tools last longer and work better.
5. If you plan to grow tomatoes, peppers, or eggplants, now is a good time to start saving eggshells. Ground-up eggshells are a great soil additive to help prevent blossom end rot and they’re free!
6. If you’re not sure of your soil quality, now is good time to consider getting a soil test. Even if your garden is frozen and under some snow cover, you can still get a few samples and mail them to a testing service. The key to great gardening is great soil. A soil test done before the season starts will provide the valuable information you’ll need well before planting time.