How to Organize a Great Garden

Your area has likely seen its final frost, and if you’re anything like the folks at The Organizing Blog, you’re just itching to start a garden — either to take advantage of delicious, healthy fresh produce at low prices or to improve the beauty of your home’s outdoor spaces.

#Organizing your tools and planting supplies is the first step to an #clutter-free garden, says Lovely Greens: “Start sorting your shed, garage and garden of everything that’s standing in the way of the garden you want” by tapping the KonMari method to #declutter and prepare.

Then, visualize your ideal garden. Yours might have rows and rows of tomatoes, peppers and other crops, it might have rose bushes and ivy, or it might have an assortment of native perennials that flower and pop throughout the year.

Consider the site, Almanac says. Sunny spots work better for the majority of crops and plants (many vegetables benefit from six to eight hours of daylight every day), but you have options for shaded areas, too. Sketch out the plots on a sheet of paper or try a garden planning app.

Dedicate beds to “families” of crops. Alliums (chive, garlic, leeks, onions, etc.) can go in a bed together; squashes, melons and cucumbers in another. Remember that some plants may need support structures or protection against pests and include those in your plan.

Now for the fun part: Pick out what you want to plant. In a food-oriented garden, that means crops you’ll use and enjoy. Whatever you grow will taste better than the commercially grown, store-bought version, but  there’s no reason to grow cilantro if you think it tastes like soap.

In a flower garden, that means designing for visual impact, varying heights and colors to lend visual interest throughout the year. Fill in those empty-looking spaces but don’t crowd plants and give your garden some height by mixing low-lying plants with taller varieties.

Pay special attention to perennials whether you’re planning a vegetable or flower garden. These plants need a dedicated space where they can thrive with routine maintenance year after year; get their placement right the first time.

A well #organized garden can provide higher yields and greater visual impact. Before you start digging, have a plan in mind — and you’ll soon enjoy the fruits of your labor on the table and around the house.

Grow Seeds in Just About Any Container

If you choose to start seeds for your garden, use a seed-starting kit with multiple cells for seedlings and add a grow light and/or heat mat for a technical assist. Or you can start seeds in “practically anything,” says HGTV. Use newspaper pots, disused seed trays, cardboard tubes, used cans and jugs, egg cartons or eggshells as containers. Just remember to label your pots or rows so you know what’s growing. Give seeds warmth, wetness and indirect sunlight Once the seedlings poke through the soil, move them to a sunny window ledge or greenhouse environment to mature into transplantable starters. #StartingSeeds

Start Some Easy-to-Grow Seedlings

If this is your first year starting plants from seed, start small, says. Easy-to-start vegetables include herbs, tomatoes, cucumbers, broccoli and leafy greens such as spinach, kale and lettuce; easy flowering plants include cosmos, zinnias, marigolds and sunflowers. Fussier seeds require a temperature change to trigger the end of dormancy and germinate; the good news is that many of these are perennials that will return year after year in your garden. Whatever you choose, be sure that soil and air temperatures don’t ruin your carefully cultivated seedlings; schedule transplant according to the final frost date in your area. #StartingSeeds

Give Seedlings Plenty of Light

As you start to care for your homegrown seedlings, be sure to give them plenty of light — 12 to 16 hours per day. Mist the plants once or twice daily to keep them moist, and try a greenhouse-style covered tray to maintain light dampness. “If your seeds dry out, they won’t germinate, but if they stay too wet, they could rot,” says Swanson Nursery. When your seeds sprout, thin them to concentrate growing energy on the strongest. Once they have several leaves and a week or two before the transplant, “harden” your seedlings by giving them a few hours of outdoor time in a shady or protected spot every day. #StartingSeeds

Start Your Summer Seeds Indoors

Starting seeds indoors can save money over buying plants, and the time to start is now! Depending on your plant hardiness zone, you can determine when you’ll need to plant seedlings outdoors and work backward from that date. Many plants need about six weeks to grow from seed to outdoor starter, so if you start this week, plants should be ready by May 1. Simply sow your seeds in soil or seed starter in a tray or small container, planting them only as deep as the seed is large. You can replant harder seedlings such as broccoli and onions as soon as two weeks before your area’s final frost. #StartingSeeds