Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Getting Ready for Spring...

This arctic cold wave has got me to thinking...

Thinking about spring...

Thinking about planting my spring garden!

Yep!  I'm freezing my butt off and think about spring!  Go figure...

Last week, I gave you a few winter chores that you need to do to get your garden and plants ready for winter.  Today I want to share a few more tips that you need to be thinking about before the New Year gets here.

Prep your soil:
Spread manure, rotted sawdust and leaves over the garden and plow them under; you'll be surprised at the difference this organic matter will make in the fertility, physical structure and water-holding capacity of the soil.

Test the soil:
Take a soil sample to allow plenty of time to get the report back. In the South, acidic soil can be a problem.  Lime applied now will be of more benefit next year than if it is applied in the spring before planting. Always apply Dolomitic limestone in order to get both calcium and magnesium.  A soil sample will also give you a good idea how much you will need to add organic matter too.  The more you can add now, the better start your garden will have this spring.

Take an "inventory":
Maybe you had too much of some vegetables and not enough of others - or maybe there were some unnecessary "skips" in the supply. Perhaps some insect, disease or nematode problem got the upper hand. You may have noticed that one variety bloomed longer than another or vice-versa.  Make a note about your favorite varieties. Start planning next year's garden now!

Plan your garden:
Draw a map of the garden area. Decide the direction and length of the rows, how much row spacing is needed for each vegetable, whether or not to plant on raised beds, and other details.  Also, it's really smart to not plant your vegetables in the same spot in your garden every year.  A lot of diseases for certain vegetables can overwinter in the soil.  If you move your veggies around each year, you can stop the spread of many different types of diseases.  This is especially true in Southern climates where the winters are milder.

Take a seed inventory:
You may have seeds left over from last year. Check their viability by placing some in damp paper towels and observing the germination percentage. If the percentage is low, order new ones.  This way, you won't order too many seeds. This same advice applies to the flower seeds to test their viablity.

Order seeds now:
You're wise to order flower and vegetable seeds in December or January, while the supply is plentiful. Review the results of last year's garden and order the more successful varieties.  Try new cultivars, add more color, change the color scheme, layer the colors by having taller and shorter plants - don't do it the same way year after year.

Make a "wish list":
Look around for tools you do not have and put these on your Christmas list!  Also check out your local garden centers.  This time of year they are really downsizing because they will be shuting down for the winter.  You might get the chance to find some real bargains!

Remember, spring is just around the corner....

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  1. Oh yes - I am so looking forward to spring ;)

  2. You're so right! It's my favorite thing to do, right after Christmas. Just sit in the old chair, go through the catalogs and plan my gardens. In February, I prepare all my 'birthing' sheets. Gardens are 12-month projects... Happy Holidays!

  3. OK, I'm clearly not as advanced as you but then again we have minimal light and only plant flowers. However if you'd like some flower seeds, I'll have some! My favorite gardening activity is seed-picking :)

  4. I would love to garden - need to find some dirt... My backyard is concrete and pool...
    Merry Christmas
    I've Become My Mother


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