As the weather warms up, were all getting excited to put our hands in the dirt again. With colder temperatures still hanging around for at least a few more weeks – now is the perfect time to organize and plan your garden. A disorganized garden will still usually produce vegetables, fruits, and flowers. You might then wonder why it is important to have an organized garden.
There are many answers, but three of them leap out: An organized garden produces more in a given area, they are easier to maintain and to harvest, and they look much nicer.
The biggest key to it all is in the planning. This stands to reason when you consider that most garden failures occur because of poor planning. There are many aspects to a well thought out garden, too.
Learn Your Plants Growing Habits
First, know the growing habits of the plants you are going to grow. This sounds basic and it is. Gardeners will often plant without allowing for enough room for the plants to grow. For instance, vine growing plants like squashes, gourds, cucumbers, and melons require a great deal of room to spread out. If they are grown too close together, the roots of each compete with those of its neighbors, resulting in weaker plants, less produce, and smaller fruits and vegetables.
If they are planted too close to other plants, as they spread out they can also deprive the other plants of sunlight, killing and stunting them.
This isn’t always easy to consider. A beginning gardener with limited space, buying four inch tomato plants will often plant them close together, not understanding that most tomato species bush out as they grow. Tomato cones can help, but not much if the tomatoes are too close together.
Plan Your Layout
Second, plan well defined rows. These should be wide enough to walk down between them easily, even when the plants on each side have bushed out. If the rows are too closely spaced, it becomes much more difficult to maintain the garden, harvesting becomes a chore, and the garden looks ragged.
Keep On Top of Those Weeds
Third, keep the garden weeded. Growing weeds can quickly make a garden look like a weed patch. Worse, the weeds directly compete with the garden plants for food, water, and space. This results in a weaker garden that produces far fewer and smaller fruits and vegetables.
Included with this is to keep the garden tools like hoes, shovels, and spades where you can easily get to them and know where they are. Having to spend a half hour finding or getting to a garden hoe is that much less time you can spend weeding.
Consider Going Up and Training
Fourth, don’t be afraid to train your garden to grow the way you want it to. For example, garden beans can be given garden twine to climb, and with only a little effort on your part, the beans can be made to use these supports. This goes a long way toward organizing the bean patch, which results in a greater harvest and a better means of harvesting.
This also includes pinching back plants so they grow in a particular direction. Tomato plants respond well to this sort of training.
It also includes thinning. Plants like radishes and carrots are often initially planted too close together. Leaving it that way leads to disorganization. Removing weaker plants to allow the remainder more room to grow, builds organization, and results in a bigger, better crop.
Keep a Log Each Season
Finally, keep notes of what you’ve tried and what the results were. What works well in one area may not work at all in another. It may not help you organize the garden this year, but it is valuable information for next year.
Organization of the garden is a major key for gardening success. The garden looks nicer, the plants are healthier, they produce better, and the vegetables, fruits, or flowers are a lot easier to harvest. There is effort involved, but there always will be. Still, planning is the least effort consuming part of the whole endeavor, and sadly, often the most neglected.