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Plan before planting spring gardens

Posted: March 16, 2014 - 12:01am
Daffodils are one of the first flowers to bloom in the spring.  Photo by Jim Blaylock
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Daffodils are one of the first flowers to bloom in the spring.

Last week’s warmer weather left many dreaming of spring, which makes its official debut this week. And with warmer weather comes planning for the spring and summer growing seasons.

Master Gardener Mary Louise Hagler is already working on her plans for a simplified garden.

“Spring garden planning is like going to the grocery story hungry,” she said. “Don’t shop without a list!”

Hagler, who also blogs at MLCHgarden.com, first looks back at her previous year’s plans and blog posts.

“It truly is helpful to keep some sort of journal on your garden as it evolves season after season,” she encouraged. “Whether you keep a journal that is written, photographs or a blog, this will help you progress your future gardens.”

To start her shopping list, Hagler creates a list of the fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers that her family consumed or enjoyed during the last season or season’s past. She suggests asking what your family will eat, what you buy at the store that can be grown in the garden and what flowers you enjoy displaying throughout your home.

“Take a look at the UGA Vegetable Planting Chart online so you will know the planting dates for your list of plants,” she said. “Keep in mind that it’s better to plant later than too early.”

Hagler said the area’s spring frost date was yesterday, but there could still be a cold front that will harm tender plants and seedlings.

“Preparation of your soil is critical,” added Hagler. “Just as we must put healthy nutrients into our bodies, we must provide our plants with good nutrition. Have your soil tested. Local extension offices have small bags for soil samples that are very easy to gather. They will provide a report indicating what your soil needs. I relate this to going to the lab to have blood drawn, an indicator of what is going on in your body!”

After the lists have been made and the soil tested, it’s time to purchase seeds or plants. Hagler said the numerous seed catalogs – Johnny’s Selected Seeds, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange and Renee’s Garden Seeds, among others – are great places to look.

Also, Hagler suggests considering composting because it adds to soil nutrition.

Simple planning can lead to great days of outdoor planting and growing and a spring and summer season full of lots of gardening memories.

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