The cold, wet winter months are the perfect time to think about and plan your vegetable garden. For me, gardening is a source of pride, passion, and beauty! Your garden’s size should depend on the amount of time and energy you think you’ll have and how much food you think you’ll need. Don’t be fooled, gardening will be a lot of work, but it can also be a lot of fun.
The type of plants you want to grow depends on your site, your soil, and your taste buds. Once you have a list of the vegetables, fruits, or berries, you’ll need to find a source for the seeds or starts. There are many places to buy seeds but finding a top-quality source nearby your home can require some research. I thought I would just highlight some of the online companies that I have bought from and would recommend.
- Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. Called "The Indiana Jones of Seeds" by The New York Times has a beautifully impressive catalog and website that offers the most extensive selection of heirloom varieties in the USA with nearly 2,000 types of vegetables, flowers, and herbs. If you want a real gardener’s treat, request their catalog.
- Territorial Seed. This time-honored seed source from Oregon provides genetically safe seed by a very dependable and high-quality company. You’ll want to avoid companies that use conventional seed production as it is one of the most chemically intensive types of agriculture.
- High Mowing Organic Seeds. This New England based company is the only entirely organic seed company in the US. Available are over 600 open-pollinated and hybrid varieties of vegetable, herb, fruit, and flower seed for commercial and backyard growers. Because seed crops themselves are not for human consumption, pesticides regulations allow higher doses of potentially harmful chemicals on seed.
Selecting an appropriate site for the vegetables that you want to grow, a spot with full sun is crucial for tomatoes, peppers, squash, eggplant, pole beans, snow peas, basil, and corn. Veggies like lettuce, chard, kale, spinach, carrots, and beets appreciate partial shade.
Designing a Layout
Designing a layout for your garden takes some experience and knowledge of the growth habits of plants. Place taller plants in the back to leave room for those that require full sun. For instance, tomatoes would go in the rear row, basil can go in front of them, and strawberries will do well in the front row, especially when it’s picking time! Flowers can be planted randomly but check for the height of the mature flowers for proper placement.
Amending the Soil
Preparing or amending the soil is necessary to ensure a successful season. Sandy soil should be amended by adding plenty of composted soil or sphagnum moss. If you are fortunate enough to have good soil that is dark and loamy, just adding some essential nutrients each spring will help your garden to grow big and nutritious vegetables. Adding Vital Garden Supply’s Organic Fertilizers to your soil will increase nutrient uptake and enhance the beauty of your garden. Even bagged soil with perlite will help make your garden flourish.
A Carefully Planned Drip System
A carefully planned drip system is the final preparation step to ensure success. To get a good idea of what products to use; look at the our Gallery of Plans where you can click on the type of garden or landscape that comes closest to what you have in mind, and a complete layout of drip irrigation products will appear. DripWorks.com and the 2018 DripWorks catalog also offers a full line of drip irrigation starter kits for every type of garden, small farm, or landscape.
If you just can’t wait to begin gardening, a Greenhouse, High Tunnel, or a garden bed covered by row cover material for added warmth will allow you to garden a few months earlier. Extending the growing season has been popular with commercial growers of valuable specialty crops using some of these seasons extending products. Now you can continue to garden in all but the coldest winter months.
We understand that speaking or chatting with our experienced call center personnel is sometimes necessary. At dripworks.com you can call 800-522-3747 for advice in selecting the right parts for your system or if you prefer you can use our live chat service. In our 27th year of helping gardeners choose the best products, we are here for you.