All About Planning

Inventory before you plan

There is an old saying: ” A goal without a plan is just a wish”. Those words couldn’t be truer about planning a garden. It matters not if it is a container, a planter, a vegetable garden or the entire landscaped area. Plans are required for the ultimate success. And it helps knowing first what is already in stock.

For many years I designed landscaped gardens. The initial consultation with clients came with a bevy of questions to determine the goals the homeowner or business hoped to achieve. How did the client see the space used? Did they entertain large or small groups? What was the short term and long term expectation for the space such as small children growing up and outgrowing the play area. How much time did they want to spend to maintain a garden area? Landscape problems required further discussion such as grading, drainage, eye sores, or blocking prevailing winds. What vegetation was to remain? Location and enhancement of views required attention as well. As questions were answered, plans soon developed.

These questions came to mind a few weeks ago when one of my grandsons, Wyatt, came to help me on the ranch for a few weeks. He loves to garden, and I was somewhat surprised by a very innocent question asking what he should plant in his vegetable garden. I simply asked him what he and the family enjoy eating. From that question on, the planning took hold.

After determining his list of edible crops, the chosen veggies needed division – which plants thrived better in the shade opposed to the sun. Companion planting came into play for the ultimate crop outcome. Location and exposure would aid for planned success.. We talked about soil preparation, double digging, soil amendments and the need to protect his crops. In years past, attempts of growing vegetables failed as deer used the back yard as their main thoroughfare. Browsing tender bean sprouts, and lettuce only made the trek through that area much more inviting!

Wyatt ‘s gift of creativity came to light as he contrived an attractive artistic fencing system that would deter the marauding deer. He investigated plants that the deer are less likely to find as tasty. and opted to use herbs and flowers close to their pathway such as tansy, poppies, creeping thyme and sage.

Locating a water source and drip system design was next along with a need for a compost top dressing to keep an even soil moisture level for longer periods of time. The breakdown of this type of top dressing would also benefit the greedy feeding vegetables. Lastly, we talked about which plants could be used for multiple succession planting and when to start seeds inside for earliest transplants outside. Before long, pen and paper in hand, Wyatt set forth to design a means of protecting his seedlings with a well constructed cold frame. Needless to say, he was anxious to see his plan through.

Planning. It takes time to think it out before employing the ideas. Are you ready to begin planting or installing? Consider both the long and short term goals. Think outside the box of incorporating the easiest and most cost effective transitions before starting. Have fun with ideas and bounce them off of others to employ their creative juices. Spring is promised yet to come and our rainy weather is providing these moments of planning times.

Speaking of planning – daylight savings time begins this weekend. Even though our irrigation controllers should be set on rain mode or to the off position, remember to set that clock forward when doing the same to your indoor clocks.

Have a great weekend!

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