No matter what the weather looks like outside right now, you can do your part to help usher in spring by planning your spring garden. In most areas, you have about three months before you can begin planting outdoors in earnest, but a little daydreaming along with some planning and preparation now will go a long way in April.
The location of your garden will dictate what you can grow to a certain extent. A perfect vegetable garden location should receive no less than six hours of full sunlight per day, but don’t let that stop you if your available space gets less than that. There are plenty of edibles that do just fine in partial shade situations, so look for shade-friendly plants and you will be off to a good start. My good friend Shawna Coronado grows a beautiful vegetable garden in the shade each year.
If you are starting a new garden, chances are the soil is going to have plenty of room for improvement. Now is a good time to do a soil test to see exactly what your soil needs, but starting with a good amendment of compost or composted manure will be a step in the right direction. The soil should be tilled and worked to a depth of no less than 12” unless you will be using an alternative gardening method like raised beds, containers, or lasagna gardening. The soil in your new garden should drain well, meaning that water should not pool on the surface of the soil for more than a few minutes before draining away.
We all have plants that we love and will naturally want to incorporate into the landscape at home, but it is important first make sure that those plants are well-suited to grow in our spring garden. check the seed packet, plant label, or ask the pros at your local garden center for guidance. Don’t forget to also make note of the spacing requirements and resist the urge to overcrowd your plants. They will thank you for it in the long run and you will save yourself a lot of time and energy later.