Believe it or not, Spring is on the way in Central Ohio! Now is the perfect time to start planning your garden so you can take full advantage of the growing season. Before you know it, you can be enjoying a nice salad on your patio fresh from your own backyard! Here are a few tips to help you get started.
First Things First
First, it’s important when planning your garden to consider it’s location, sun exposure, moisture level, and soil type. You won’t want to plan a garden full of vegetables that need full sun if you only have space in a shaded area. You’ll also want to consider how much space plants will need to reach their full potential. An overcrowded garden will not produce the best harvest. Map out your garden space and choose your plants appropriately.
Central Ohio has a lot of clay in the soil. This is not necessarily a bad thing. This clay is still full of beneficial nutrients - it just needs to be broken up. You can rent a till from Lowe’s or Home Depot to do this. Mixing topsoil and a little bit of sand will keep your garden from retaining too much water. Mixing compost in the late winter will help enhance the nutrients in your garden and break up the clay for Spring when you are ready to plant. Try your local Starbucks for an affordable compost option - they give away free coffee grounds!
Determining the best time to plant is based on the last and first frost. Some plants are able to be planted before the last spring frost, while others need to wait until weeks after. You can start many hardy vegetable seeds indoors right now and plant them outside as early as April. Vegetables such as spinach, peas, kale, and carrots are good choices for an early spring garden.
You should wait to plant tomatoes, melons, and peppers outside until late May or June. Some other vegetables are best suited to be planted weeks after frosts, such as corn and beans. We recommend checking out Urban Farmer’s website, which offers a complete calendar and guide for planting vegetables, fruits, herbs and more based on your city and state’s frost schedule.
Many herbs can be planted in early spring, just before the last frost. Dill, chives, parsley, and thyme are popular choices that you can start planting as early as April. Get a jump start on your herb garden indoors right now. Basil, cilantro, and rosemary can be planted just after the last frost. You could also keep herbs potted and move them indoors as needed for fresh herbs all year round!
Maybe Mary wouldn’t have been quite so contrary if she’d had an app to help her garden grow. Apps can provide information on everything from a planting schedule to how to get rid of common pests. Apps like Growit help you connect with other local gardeners to find advice and inspiration.
The Garden Tracker app will tell you how to properly water and take care of those plants you spent all that time planting. Apps like the Gardening Reference Guide can provide a wealth of information about a variety of plant species, pests to watch for, and other gardening tips. If you’re looking for an app to help keep your planting on task, Gardenate gives you a complete calendar that tells you exactly when to plant. Read a full list of apps recommended by Digital Trends here.
Whether you are looking to have a small vegetable patch or a full harvest, the earlier you start thinking about your garden, the better. A well thought out garden can provide you and your family with a healthy array of vegetables and herbs right out your back door all summer long. Happy gardening!