Right now it looks like spring is a long way off. But don’t be fooled — before you know it, it will be time to plant your garden. That makes this the perfect time of year to sit down and plan what you want this year’s garden to look like.
When to plant
When and what you plant depends on where you live and what the average frost date is for your area. Find your USDA Hardiness Zone on the interactive map. The Hardiness Zone tells you how cold it gets and which perennial plants, bushes, trees will survive in your zone. Then find out what the average first and last frost dates are in your area. For most of us in North Dakota, the average last frost date is mid- to late-May.
So does that mean that you cannot plant anything until late May? No, you just shouldn’t plant anything that will not survive freezing temperatures. But there are many cold-hardy vegetables that do just fine in cool weather. You can start planting those as early as 3-4 weeks before the average last frost date. I've included a link to a planting calendar that tells you when to plant your different crops.
What to plant
The “when” to plant is the first part of your garden plant. The second part of your garden plan is “what and how much.” So, how much should you plant? Ah, well that depends on several factors:
Where to plant
The final part of the garden plan is “where.” Where will you plant your garden? Your garden needs just two things to be successful: Plenty of sunshine and a steady supply of water.
Choose a location that gets at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight per day. You don't want the shadows of trees, shrubs, or buildings blocking sunlight. Something facing south is ideal.
If you will need to water your garden, locate it where your garden hose or sprinklers can reach. Avoid low-lying areas where water tends to accumulate and doesn't drain quickly. You also want the ground to be level so that seeds and dirt aren't washed away in heavy rain.
I've made a three-part video series on everything you need to know to get started gardening. Part one of the series is linked below.
Planning your garden now will not only ensure a more successful garden, but is a great way to shake off the winter blues. With a little planning, you are certain to have a wonderful garden this year. Happy spring!
How to calculate how much to plant to feed the family: https://morningchores.com/vegetable-garden-size/
Timeline for gardening in our area: https://www.ufseeds.com/zone-3-planting-calendar.html
Interactive map to find your hardiness zone: https://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/pages/view-maps
Find your average frost dates: https://garden.org/apps/frost-dates/
Part one: https://www.bitchute.com/video/cfiQNzQ8PndE/