Ever since we built our garden last winter, it has been a haven for me. It is a place where my mistakes do not mean my ruin but rather they bring about my growth. It is a place where that growth brings about bounty and beauty. There are several spring gardening ideas that I want to share with anyone planting a spring garden that I've learned as a beginner gardener.
If you're starting from scratch and don't have a garden space yet, I highly recommend building raised beds to garden in. It allows for more control of the environment that you will be growing your food and flowers in. In our garden we have four 4 ft by 8 ft beds for vegetables, fruit, and herbs , three 2 ft by 7 1/2 ft beds for flowers and one long flower bed that is 2 ft by 13 ft. When we built our garden we tilled up the ground and left our native soil under the soil that we bought to fill the beds. If you are not going to till up the space that you are building raised beds in you can use weed blocking fabric underneath your garden soil. We bought our soil in bulk and it was much cheeper than if we had bought it by the bag. Last year (our first year growing the garden) we laid mulch down on the ground around the beds but we had a huge problem with weeds. So this past fall we put down weed blocking fabric and then laid down pea gravel that we again bought in bulk. Buying in bulk is the best thing you can do if you are planning a larger scale gardening space like ours. It will save you lots of money but it means a little extra work.
Plan your garden space
One of the most important things I've learned is that to have the most successful yield of veggies, herbs, fruit, or flowers, you must start with a plan. Plan out what you want to plant in each bed and create a diagram of what you are going to plant where. Certain plants grow better together so it is worth researching what to plant as companions. Last year for example, we planted our basil and tomatoes in the same bed because planting them together gave the tomatoes a sweet basil undertone.
To plan our garden beds I use this gardening journal that you can purchase on Etsy. This also allows me to look back at what we planted in years past and to keep track of what did well and what did not.
Dedicate a space to growing herbs
Growing herbs is incredibly rewarding and is very easy to do. Most herbs can be dried and preserved to be used in recipes later. But there is nothing quite like fresh herbs.
This year we are growing rosemary, peppermint, cilantro, basil, dill, and lavender. Most of these we grew from seed last year but I'm growing them from plants this year to save time and get the most out of the garden!
We use fresh dill in our dill pickles, on toast, and in salads. We use fresh basil in our pesto cream pasta as well as our caprese pasta. Fresh rosemary we most often use in lemon rosemary chicken recipes. We use peppermint in baking recipes as well as in teas. Lavender I mainly use as decoration but also to dry and use in bath salts, candles, cookies, and soaps.
Plan your flowers to last from spring to fall
When planning out what flowers you want to plant in your garden, choose a variety that bloom at different times or plant your flowers at different points throughout the season. We have 4 flower beds in our garden and each is dedicated to a different part of the growing season. Our large front flower bed in the garden has a mixture of flowers that bloomed in early spring and ones that will bloom throughout the spring and summer including gladiolus, lilies, daisies, roses, foxglove, columbine, peonies and scabiosa. Our front smaller flower bed is set to bloom in late spring and throughout summer and includes lots of gladiolus, dahlias, cosmos, ranunculus, and lilies. The back two flower beds are a mixture of wildflowers, sunflowers, zinnias, delphinium and hydrangeas and are going to bloom in the summer and fall.
Plant fruit bushes and brambles
Planting fruit bushes and brambles is extremely rewarding because they yield fruit every year. We have two blackberry brambles and two blueberry bushes in one of our raised beds. Last year our bushes and brambles were attacked by birds so we didn't have much of a crop! But this year our blackberry brambles have taken off and have tons of berries on them. I'm totally prepared to build a scarecrow or build a cage this year if the birds get too pesky. Our blueberries are looking great too and I can't wait to hopefully make some mini blueberry pies.
Its so nice growing fruit as a little something different than the veggies and herbs that we grow. I would love to eventually have more fruit trees in our backyard but for now my heart is content with my little berry patch in the garden.
This is definitely not an exhaustive list of ideas for your spring garden but I hope that these have been helpful as you begin to plan your own little garden haven. Be on the look out for garden fresh recipe ideas on the blog soon!
Thanks for taking the time to read,