Monday, December 18, 2006

A To Do List For Your Garden

If you are like me, then you find yourself often thinking about the time ahead. It may be months or years ahead, but you have a vision for how things will be at one point in the future. Since my husband and I purchased our first home last August, we have been dreaming of the amazing yard that we will have next year.

Last year we had a small vegetable garden. It produced a few fruits but nothing spectacular. Do not get me wrong. I was excited about every tomato and cucumber we picked in our garden, but it was not enough to sustain us. Next year, though, we will be able to make some changes to our yard that will give us a more beautiful garden.

The best way to make sure that you take steps toward realizing your gardening dreams is to start by planning now, when you are probably already cooped up in your home for the winter, for the spring months when you can get out to make it a reality.

Your first step should be taking stock of your yard and garden now. What worked? For us, tomatoes were our best crop last year. We did little to them, and they yielded the most fruit. We love tomatoes (and hurricanes and other factors keep pushing up their prices), so we will be planting about three times the number of tomato plants next year. We have considered that when we have located where we will place our new garden plot. Perhaps you will be looking for new ideas for what to plant. Now is the time to begin researching. Can asparagus grow in your area? Do you have the space for a small pumpkin patch? Write down your plans so that you can begin pricing seeds and other items needed and looking into what you will have to do for your garden.

Take a walk around your yard. What would you like to see? For example, in our yard, we have a small side porch that is about six feet by 15 feet. While the previous owners planted a few things, they did not complete the task. We probably will not be replanting everything next year, based just on priorities. We can only do so much to our gardens each year, after all. What we do want to do in that area, however, is to wall it off. We have a few stone pieces that will work well to create a border around the porch. Though we will not have a fully planted area, we will be adding the border to that part of the yard next year. When you are planning projects, be sure that you take these types of things into account. Consider non-plant garden projects.

Speaking of non-planting projects, think about garden decorations. Our son picked out some shimmering garden ornaments last year. They were appealing to his one-year-old senses, so we got them. We have three put in a dogwood behind our house. For next year, we will begin to think of other fun stuff to decorate the garden. Perhaps we want to buy (or make) small stone steps to make it to the garden from the deck. We may get a garden flag or little markers to tell us what is in the yard at various points. If you want to make any of your garden decorations, that is something you can work on now while it is still winter.

Making steppingstones, for example, is not difficult. You need simply to search for how to make them online and then check into the various methods. With some methods, you can make the stones for as little as $3-4 each, and you can do them over the course of a day. This craft may be a great way to get your children involved in a fun activity while they are indoors during the cold winter months.

Whatever you decide to do, know that you should begin preparing for next spring today so that you will not be taken by surprise. If you begin purchasing items now and researching the basics, you will find that you will be excited and well-prepared when the spring air finally blows in.

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