The first day of Spring is here and with it all the possibilities of a fruitful growing season! Now is the time to dust off your gardening books, pull out your seed catalogs and deep dive into garden planning.
Seeds are the perfect metaphor for spring. Every seed holds within it the potential of a healthy, thriving plant. Spring holds the same promise of new beginnings and a flurry of growth. What better time to dream big and try new things?
As with any new project, it’s important to look back and learn from the past. Take the time to walk through your old garden beds. Assess what is there and what is missing. What worked in your garden last year? What needed a little more help and guidance?
If you haven’t done it in the past, try starting a garden journal this year. It’s a simple way to document the successes as well as mishaps of your growing season. Keep it small and portable so it can make the journey with you.
Continue to ask questions as you wander your garden beds…
How did the soil survive the winter? Did it blow away? Settle deep into the ground? Soil is the foundation of any good garden. It is important to amend it yearly to keep it full of the nutrients plants need to thrive and grow. Amendments such as compost, worm castings and gypsum can all be considered as you assess your soils health.
What plants flourished here last year? Where did they grow best? What were some difficult areas to plant in? Difficult plants to maintain? By taking a survey of your plant varieties, you may begin to see patterns in your garden. Some areas are best for sun-loving plants like tomatoes and peppers, while others nourish shade tolerant varieties like spinach and other leafy greens.
Take notes…and keep asking questions!
Now that you’re armed with bits of history and garden know-how, it’s time to get to the fun part…planning your garden! Pull out your seed catalogs and begin to look for plant varieties that fit the growing patterns in your garden.
It can be helpful to grab a big piece of paper or your garden journal and draw an outline of your garden. Begin to fill the page with pictures or names of each of the plant varieties you’d like to grow. Play close attention to plant needs for sun, water and soil. This will give you a realistic idea of what can fit and the areas it would do best in.
Don’t be afraid to get a little creative. The more you document your garden the easier it will get to choose new varieties to try out each year.
The next step is up to you! Let the seeds you’ve planted on your page come to life in your garden this season!
Danielle Simmons, Horticulture and Animal Interactions
Inspired by her childhood experience of play in the forests of upstate New York, Danielle has devoted her career to connecting human wellness with a deeper engagement to the natural world. Danielle planted and manages the greenhouse and the garden beds at Sunrise. She enjoys teaching guests the many uses of herbs, from first aid to making herbal teas and salves. When she is not being inspired by the big trees and abundant water at Sunrise, she is enjoying time with her family and their organic garden, which they tend on their homestead south of Santa Fe.