What To Do While Your Garden Is Still Under The Snow

By: Curtis Wayne 0 Comments   3/23/2019

Garden season is coming in the next few months, but the Midwest is covered with snow right now.  The snow melt is causing major flooding and delays in planting across much of the farmland.

My garden is still covered with about a foot of snow.  But the snow is melting fast and soon I will be walking around the mud to see what I have to work with this year.

The key to gardening is planning, thinking ahead and strategizing, which makes it very fun for those that love these things.

Here are a few things that I’m doing while my garden in still under the snow.

1. Draw your garden map

Each year one of the first things that I do is look at my garden map from last year and read my notes about how the garden season turned out.  I look at what grew very well and what didn’t.  I look at what I had too much of and what I didn’t get enough of.  I look at what plants I rotated last year and what I should rotate this year.  I review my books on what crops grow well together and what crops do not, so that when I rotate this year I don’t put things next to each other that don’t grow well together.

Then I draw my new garden map for this year.  I draw out the rows and label the crops that I plan to plant.  I add notes about what new foods I am going to try this year.  I add notes about where I plan to add new compost or lime or wood chips to improve the soil.  I add notes about what I plan to trim, like grape vines or fruit trees. I add notes about what I plan to build or repair with fences or raised beds. 

2. Order your seeds

After my new garden map has been drawn up with note about what I plan to do this year.  I look at my seeds and compare to the garden map to determine what seeds I need to order.  I make a list of seeds I need and maybe new fruit trees or grapes that I want to try this year.  Then I make my seed order.  I also make a list of plants that I am planning to purchase from my local greenhouse or that I’m going to grow myself as starters. 

Next I add my planting schedule to my garden map.  In order to get the most food, I have embraced continuous planting.  I like to schedule several planting dates so that I don’t miss these dates, Early planting (end of April), Main planting (middle and end of May), Late planting (middle of June) and Fall planting (middle of August).  I put these date on my calendar so that I don’t forget and when other things come up during the summer I can work around these dates or move them if need be.

3. Work on your soil and fertilizer

Good soil is one of the most important things that a gardener has to keep up.  I look at my garden map and read my notes about what I am planning, new compost or lime or wood chips.  Then I make plans to work on the soil in between the planting dates.  I look at what areas of the garden that I’m going to plant in first and see how I can get the soil in those area ready first.  I also think about adding compost and other things that take longer to break down to different areas of the garden. 

Next I get a city compost permit for the year, so that I have access to different types of soil building debris, like wood chips or last years’ leave pill or sand.   I also have to think about buying some lime and peat moss to help improve the soil in areas that are too acidic or stay wet and do not drain very well after a rain.   At this time I do not have animal waste to help build my soil up with nutrients.  Animal waste is one of the best ways to fertilizer your soil, but animals are also very time consuming and can be very expensive to feed and manage.  Fertilizing your garden can be done without animal waste.

That about covers it.  Each year it seems like my pre-gardening list gets longer and longer, because during planting and harvesting season I add things to the list that I don’t have time to do. 

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