Seeds, Seedlings and Your NJ Spring Garden: How to Plan Now

While thoughts of spring may be ways off, dreams of your best spring garden harken you to plan for warmer weather during the winter months. After all, garden success stems from well-researched and thought-out plantings. Remember that this preparation takes time. In reality, planting season in New Jersey begins as early as St. Patrick’s Day. Grab a cup of coffee alongside a notebook with a pen and start daydreaming as the snowflakes drift around your window. Your spring garden will thank you for its fruitful bounty while your soul benefits from sunny thoughts amid dreary winter skies.

spring gardenHow and When to Plant

Obtaining the know-how on what, when, where and how to plant a spring garden requires a bit of research. Study and understand your climate region, the seeds you intend to plant and their preferences, as well as ideal planting dates. Your efforts pay off thanks to a plentiful New Jersey spring garden.

Consider Your Region

Weather patterns change according to the region, and the weather affects your planting success. Your specific microclimate also impacts your gardening season. The National Centers for Environmental Information gives your current information and maps to help you understand your climate. The information helps you to understand several aspects of your area, including:

— Weather conditions.

— Growing seasons.

— Estimated last spring frost date.

Pick Your Seeds

Organizing a garden means creating the big picture in your mind. Once you consider your climate zone, dream about what you want your garden to look like. Taking the time to organize which plants you want in your garden and where you want to plant them. You reap the benefits of this planning throughout the season. To get started with your gardening strategy, go over a few practical steps.

— Mentally review last year’s garden including successes and problems.

— Determine the plants you want to include in this year’s planting.

— Choose varieties with differing growth rates for beauty and bounty throughout the growing season.

— Plant one unusual vegetable or branch into herbs. Just try something new!

— Layout your plan on graph paper to maximize yield and minimize overcrowding.

— Determine which varieties to start as seedlings and which you sow directly as seeds.

— Use the internet, local gardeners, and landscape experts to inspire your creativity.

Know Your Plants

Getting the 4-1-1 on the plants, you want in your spring garden helps you know when to plant them for the greatest success and the most bountiful harvest. In other words, knowing what you like differs greatly from knowing what works best. Again, a little research goes a long way. For each plant, take into consideration several important factors.

— Time needed to start seeds indoors.

— Safe periods for transitioning seedlings outdoors.

— Seed preferences for cool or warm soil when planting.

— Nutrients required for each variety and the makeup of your soil to fertilize as needed.

— Companion plantings which boost production and save space when planted together.

— The length of a plant’s germination period and growing season.

— Ideal conditions regarding soil and light.

Calculate Planting Dates

Once you daydream your garden and lay it out with research in hand, a garden worksheet helps determine planting dates. Based on your region’s weather and the types of plants you choose, resources such as these remove the guesswork from ideal dates to start seedlings indoors or begin seeds directly outdoors.

Basics About Seedlings

Remember that seedlings grown indoors may accept outdoor acclimation in cooler weather. Seeds, however, prefer warmer soils and air temperatures. Therefore, later planting dates typically accompany direct sowing methods.

Order Your Future Plantings

The internet makes seed shopping and purchasing easy. Request catalogs early in the planning process to help with your garden layout and to identify shipping timelines. Go paperless with online catalog browsing as you add seeds to a virtual shopping cart.

Start Ordering In January

Consider that you must order some seeds as early as January. This is because some seeds must mature into seedlings indoors and maximize the growing season. Add a company’s shipping time to your calculated planting dates to ascertain the latest day you should order seeds. After that, just select, click and buy.

Help Is Available

Do you feel overwhelmed? Do you have figures, formulas, and plans running wildly through your mind without any organization? Fortunately, help exists for the novice or inexperienced gardener. Thoroughly research the answers you need until you get your feet wet and feel more confident in your gardening skills. Consider talking with:

— Online gardening groups.

— Other local gardeners.

— Seed company customer service reps.

— A landscape expert.

Find answers to questions about planting season calculations, climate considerations, seed success tips, design ideas and more in these places. Keep in mind that you do not need to do this alone. While gardening brings a peaceful solitude to the lone gardener, friends bring it to life. Cultivate local relationships with gardening groups and landscapers to design and grow your perfect New Jersey garden.

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