I wonder why it is that people panic when they hear the term “gardening.” Also, why do we always think “Spring” when it comes to gardening? Did you know that certain plants like broccoli, collard greens, and chard need cooler Fall/Winter weather in order to grow?
Ok, so maybe you knew that or maybe you didn’t. But either way, it’s time to move past our fears and trepidation. Now is the time to say, “Me Gardener, You Garden. Let’s make babies.” Sorry, Tarzan reference. I think that one got away from me a bit….
Now that the warmer growing season is coming to an end, I’ll be working on my cooler weather plants. There’s actually a lot less pressure when it comes to gardening if you’ll try for the cooler weather plants. Surprisingly enough, I have more success during the Fall/Winter with my garden oftentimes than I do during the Spring/Summer. Granted, this could be because I live in Georgia where Winters can oftentimes be mild while the Summers are stifling, but I’m going to hope against hope that you might experience the same.
1. Decide what you want to plant.
For the cooler season, leafy greens tend to do really well and are especially easy for the novice gardener. I can grow a mean patch of collard greens and broccoli during the Fall and Winter.
The key with having success, is to limit yourself to a select few plants. I think we get carried away with the excitement of trying something new and will take on too many plants. Having your focus be on 2-3 plants when you are first starting out is ideal. You’re more likely to have success and get a nice batch of veggie goodness if you start out small.
2. Pick a location, but not just any spot.
Depending on what you plan to grow, you want to have a well-lit area. Plants need good light to do their cool photosynthesis magic tricks, so make sure you’re not putting them in a shady spot. And some plants need direct sunlight for more hours than others. Once you’ve picked what you’re going to plant, you can choose your location based on how much sun is needed.
Not sure how much sun? Read that little tab thing that comes with your plant, or read the back of your seed packet. They lay it all out for you there.
3. Make your garden bed.
I love having raised garden beds. They are really simple and inexpensive to make, and I have made my own at every house I’ve lived in for the past 10 years. Gardening stores have pre-made garden beds that you can purchase, but you’ll save a lot of money by making your own. See how you can make your own garden bed here.
4. Nourish the soil.
This is an important step. You can buy natural compost from the garden supply store, use your own compost, or pick up some healthy manure from a local farm (call around or check craigslist). The important key here that I always tell people is to use something safe and natural.
What’s offered in most stores is full of chemicals, and I always advocate for organic gardening whenever possible. Make sure you’re getting a good organic fertilizer, or make your own with compost and a trip to a farmer near you.
5. Plant ’em!
This is the fun part, ’cause it’s when we get dirty. Oh, am I the only one that likes getting dirt all up under my nails while playing in the dirt? It makes me want to put on some Jason Derulo.
Oh, that’s just me. Ignore that last little bit.
The trick with planting is to make sure your plants are deep enough in the soil, and that you have adequate space in between plants. I use the square foot gardening method for spacing, and it works really well while getting me the optimal amount of plants in a small space.
And if you’re not up for building an entire garden bed, you can always use alternative methods like pots and containers to garden no matter what kind of living space you have.
Bonus step: Keep ’em alive with water. Plants need this stuff. Go figure…
- Vegetable Gardening Made Simple by The Hillbilly Housewife
- All New Square Foot Gardening, Second Edition: The Revolutionary Way to Grow More In Less Space
Now get out there and get some planting done! Oh, and tell me your tremendously awesome tips, too! Whatcha got planted for the season?