How To Plan And Plot Out Your Veggie Patch

How To Plan And Plot Out Your Veggie Patch

March is here and it’s time to start thinking about planting your veggie patch, which will yield you nourishing vegetables, fruits, herbs, and flowers throughout the rest of the year.

This time of the year, you want to draw out your garden—the shape and size you want it to be—and make a plan so you know where everything is going to go. Making a plan is important because, if you have a plan, you won’t just go in and stick things everywhere, only to realize later that your positioning doesn’t work for the crops you’ve chosen.

You should also take into consideration the flatness of the ground you are working with. If your plot of ground isn’t perfectly level, if it’s on a bit of an incline, then you’ll want to make your rows go in the opposite direction. Consider, too, where the sun comes up and where it sets, and ensure that your taller plants, like corn, aren’t going to shade your smaller ones. If you are planting climbers, make sure you position the trellises the climbers are going to grow on in a way that won’t shade the other plants as well.

Although March may seem a little soon to plan and plot out your patch, there are a few early bloomers that you need to start indoors early if you want to include them in your harvest. For example, edible flowers, herbs, and perennials need to be seeded early indoors to get you started. Leeks and onions also need to be started early.

If you’re reusing any plastic trays, cell packs, pots, or other planters, wash them first with a little bit of diluted bleach to kill anything that might be living on them prior to planting. We do this here at the nursery all the time.

Next, think about lighting and air movement for your early seedlings. Lighting and air movement are crucial to successfully growing plants indoors, so be sure to take this into consideration as you plan.

Think about a greenhouse and how it is situated. Those plants get direct sunlight from morning until evening, whereas in your house, the sunlight only comes from one direction. If you don’t provide enough light from grow lights, you’ll notice your seedlings leaning towards the sunlight. This makes them stretch and causes them to become soft and leggy to a point where they will snap off very easily.

The best grow lights are the ones where you can lower and raise the light because you want to keep the light really close to your plants. As the plants grow, you can move the light up. This will keep your plants shorter and stockier and not so weak.

When you think about air movement, think again about greenhouses, which have huge fans that pull the cool air in from outdoors, moving it through the greenhouse. This causes the plants to move just as they would if they were outdoors, which makes them very sturdy and strong. To mimic this air movement in your house, I recommend you place a small oscillating fan—set on low—beside your plants and leave it on throughout the day. Good air movement also helps prevent disease in those tender early weeks.

Before you move your seedlings into the garden, I strongly suggest you buy a test kit and test your soil. Your test kit will measure pH levels, nitrogen, phosphorus, and potash. All you do is take a sample of your soil and follow the instructions. You should be doing this at least once a year.

The onset of spring is also the best opportunity to spray your fruit trees (as well as your roses and your lilacs) to prevent early diseases and pests. You can do this with a dormant oil kit, which we keep in stock here at Blomidon Nurseries. Be sure to choose a warm, dry day where the temperature is above 4.5°C (or 40°F) to give the spray four or five hours to dry on the stems before the temperature drops at night.

And while you’re out there, you should also cut back any ornamental grasses, as this needs to be done around the same time.

And that’s it for what you need to do to plan and plot out your veggie patch this year. Don’t forget to stop by Blomidon Nurseries for all of your seeds, soil testing kits, and more. We can’t wait to see you.

Happy gardening!