Garden layout for 2011 - Knowledgebase Question

Red Bank, Ne
Question by rhce_v3
January 3, 2011
I have a plot of land in the back and one on the side yard and I know what I want to grow but not much else. How do I get started? Do I need soil tests? How do I do them and when? How do I know what to plant where or what can be close to what?


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Answer from NGA
January 3, 2011

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Soil testing can be helpful but I find that preparing the garden bed by digging in some compost or other organic matter usually fixes problems with pH and drainage. So, begin your venture by spreading 3-4 inches of compost or other organic matter over the top and digging it in to a depth of 8-10 inches. Once you've done that, level the area and it will be ready to receive your plants. Spring is the best time to prepare the soil and to plant your new plants. Since you know what you want to plant all you need to do is read the plant tags to see what exposure to the sunshine they require, and how large they will grow at maturity. You'll want to give each of your plants ample elbow room so they won't be overcrowded in a year or two. Group sun lovers together in a sunny bed and shade lovers together in a shady bed. Aside from the above, there's not much else required. I like to sketch out may garden beds on paper and (using a pencil) place circles to indicate the ultimate width of each plant. This way you'll have an idea of how many plants you can place in a bed without them being overcrowded. Hope this technique works for you, too.

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