Are you itching to dig? Now is the perfect time to plan a garden, and planning is always a good idea,
especially if you are new to gardening. Before you dig, mull over these three questions.
What Do You Want?
What’s your garden goal? Flowers to cut for kitchen table bouquets? Enough tomatoes for gallons of homemade salsa? Herbs for drying and storing? Decide your
priorities ahead of time. Imagine your perfect garden. Thumb through your
favorite recipes. Study gardens that intrigue or inspire you.
Dream big, but be realistic, too. Do some research. Is your soil in good shape? (A simple soil test through the Purdue county extension office can help you
determine that – once the ground thaws a little!) Find out what plants thrive
in your climate. As a rule, annual vegetables need 6-8 hours of full sunlight.
How Much Time (and Money) Do You Have?
Ponder your budget and time constraints. Gardening fits into any lifestyle, but just be certain you’ve thought about how it fits into this season of your life. If you
feel ambitious and have access to tools, space and time, digging a brand new
garden bed is a great project.
However, if you lack space or time, or if you have physical challenges, consider container-gardening. Some of my favorite seed companies have collections of
dwarf-size veggies just perfect for containers (check out Renee’s Garden for
her “Container Kitchen Garden” – www.reneesgarden.com/seeds/beginners.html).
What Do You Need?
On days when the temperature actually inches above 30°F, I head to my garden shed to dust off the tools, toss out the empty seed packets and shake the
spiders out of my boots. Every gardener has his or her favorite toys – I
mean, tools. Here are three I can’t live without:
One caveat: don’t shop for new tools, gadgets or “time-savers” until you know what you need. I once asked a veteran gardener what her favorite tool was. After a
moment’s pause, she smiled and said, “My hands.”
For gardening tips, visit Organic Gardening’s website (www.organicgardening.com) or get in touch with your local Purdue county extension educator. Master Gardeners are
available through the county extension to help you with all your gardening
This article appeared previously in the Plymouth Pilot News, Hoosier Habitat column. Copyright 2010 Marianne Peters.