Have you taken the time to make a garden plan for this upcoming spring? If not, now is a great time to get started. A well planned out garden can make for a more enjoyable experience in the spring.

The first step should be to pick your garden site. Some considerations when selecting a potential garden site are its proximity to your home, soil characteristics, slope, sunlight, and water availability. Of course, we would all love to have a level garden spot with fertile, well-drained soil in direct sunlight right out our back door, but this is rarely the case. More often that not, you will have a site that has some of these characteristics but lacks others but it can still be a very productive garden with proper management. If you start now you have plenty of time to have your site prepared before planting date. Once you have selected your garden site, get some measurements of the width and length of the site. This will be important when planning out your plantings.

The next step is to begin thinking about what vegetables you want to plant in your garden and how much of each you will need to plant. Select vegetables that your family enjoys and make an estimate of how much of each vegetable you want to produce. Consider how you will use the vegetables as well. If you plan to eat vegetables fresh, you should plan to make successive plantings in order to have fresh vegetables throughout the summer. On the other hand, if you plan to can vegetables you might prefer that most of your plants produce at the same time. Mississippi State University Extension Service offers publications that can assist you in deciding how much of each vegetable you will need to plant to reach your desired goal as well as information about row and plant spacings.

After you have determined you garden site and the vegetables that you want to plant, you can now make a rough diagram of your garden. This is as simple as making a hand drawn diagram of your garden and using your measurements to determine how long your rows can be and how many rows your garden can hold. Simply draw lines for rows and label the rows with what vegetables you will be planting there.

By going through this process, you may find that you don’t have to plant the whole site or that you don’t have the room to plant everything you wanted. By doing this before hand it can spare you the extra work of preparing more ground than you need or the expense of buying more seed/plants than you will be able to plant. This process will also allow you to order supplies in advance since you know exactly what you will need.

I hope that you take the time this winter to start planning for this spring. It is a simple process that can make a positive impact on your garden’s success. For more information on garden planning call the Benton County Extension Office at 662-224-6330.

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