Making spring plans

Summer's garden starts in spring

Kelly Heidbreder
Kelly Heidbreder

It is always good to make some plans. And you can flip through those garden catalogs between plays while you watch your favorite football team. Let’s formulate a plan of attack for your summer vegetable garden.

A level playing field

Once spring is here, your field of play will be that flat area on your property with the most sunlight. If you don’t have that kind of space around your yard, you can make an alternate plan to put a few containers on your deck or around your yard. Get a pad of paper out and start doodling. This will help you get a handle on how much space is available to plant.

If you have had a garden in the past, it is probably tucked away with a layer of compost under the half foot of snow. That will give it a good start once the soil starts to warm up. After the snow has melted and we have warmer days, you will be able to till the compost into the garden and get it ready to plant.

If you are thinking about building a new garden, you can dig up the soil in the sunniest spot in the yard or you could build up. If you have really heavy clay soil or don’t feel like going through the back-breaking work of tilling up the ground, you can always build up.

Consider using stones or landscape timbers to build a raised vegetable garden. Don’t make them too wide. You will want to be across the bed to pull weeds or to pluck fruit. Don’t make them too short. You don’t want to bend over too far so they should be about three or four feet high.

Make your plays

Use those garden catalogs to make your planting plan. Make a list of vegetables you will eat. Don’t plant things you won’t use. Consider how much space each plant will need. Creepers like cucumbers and squash need lots of room to spread out or they will need something to climb on. Tomatoes are a popular, but they need a cage to keep them standing tall.

Some gardeners have really good luck with beets, chard, cucumbers, green beans, arugula, leaf lettuce, herbs, squash and tomatoes. If you are planting beans, try planting broccoli, cabbage, corn and cucumbers with them. Basil, coriander, onions, spinach and tomatoes are good companion plants if you are planting peppers.

Asparagus, basil, dill, lettuce, melons, onions and spinach are good companion plants for tomatoes in your garden.

Try something new. Many of the garden catalogs have unique vegetables like blue potatoes or stripped carrots. Pick up a few packs of seeds for some unique heirlooms and get your kids or grandkids involved this season. They will have fun cutting into that potato and seeing its vibrant purple color. Only about eight weeks until spring.

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