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Garden Planning 101

Proverbs 31:16 She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard. Garden Planning 101- SouthernGalsCook.com

This weekend, South Central Kentucky was beautiful! With the threat of a late frost behind us {hopefully}, we took advantage of the 75 degree weather and planted our garden.

I LOVE to garden and am always eager to teach others what I have learned in my short time as a gardener.

Over the last few years I have made it a goal to learn and apply something new each season. This garden season, I wanted to learn as much as I could about companion planting. I want my family’s food to be chemical free so I want to do everything I can to prevent pests and diseases as naturally as possible. With the knowledge that I acquired over the winter, I set about planning out my garden.

Here are a few tips!

1- Decide what you would like to grow. After reviewing last year’s gardening notes, my husband and I decided that we definitely wanted to grow more this year. Not only did we want to grow more corn than last year, but we also wanted to grow other veggies that we didn’t before. I also knew that I wanted to companion plant by incorporating pest-deterring flowers, as well as careful plant placement. If you are new to gardening, start by choosing a few things that you and your family like to eat and go from there.

2- Consider your garden space. Once you know what you want to grow and how much space you have to work with, you can start to put a plan together. Remember that plants have different real estate needs. Some plants need to be trellised while some don’t. Squash plants need about a 2-3 ft circumference, while a bush bean plant may only need a foot of space to thrive. You can find out that information on the back of a seed packet. But y’all, even if you have 50 acres, if this is your first garden, start small. Take time and learn as you go. Gardens are hard work. If you invest too much time and money into something you don’t know a lot about, you could easily become discouraged and give up. Even a small garden can produce a lot of food!

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My Family’s Garden Spot

3- Educate yourself on what plants work well together. I scoured the internet  for hours learning as much as I could about what garden plants are beneficial to each other. I found many companion planting graphs and charts on Pinterest, but some of them were missing things I wanted to grow, like okra and radishes. So I ended up doing a search online that looked like this– “okra+companion+planting”. I used the information that I got to map out my garden.

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I’m kind of a geek and loved making this map.

Some of you that are more experienced, may see some ways that I could have done this better, and if you do please let me know! I am a sponge when it comes to learning about this stuff. I did take a lot of time carefully deciding the best way to utilize the space and grouping “companions” together. Bonus: I’ve always heard that to detract rabbits, you needed something shiny and moving in the garden. Some people string up pie tins around the perimeter of their garden. I decided to make row markers with wooden stakes and shiny duct tape. I’ll let you know if it works. We have A LOT of rabbits.

GardenPlanning7SGC 4- Get to work! A dear, sweet friend {cough cough Dana’s hubby cough cough} broke up our garden for us with his big tractor. Since we didn’t plant for a couple of weeks, we had to go back over it with our new-to-us tiller. My little lady was sick with strep throat and had to stay in the air conditioning while my husband, son, and I got to work.  Bo, our Bagel {beagle-basset mix}, supervised close by. Since my hubby is recovering from a medical ordeal that I don’t care to get into, he only did what his energy would allow. My son is eight– need I say more? Otherwise, this would have been a major family involved effort. I pray that as the weeks pass by, everyone will be recovered and can help with the upkeep, harvest, and preservation of the garden.

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Hoeing crooked-but-mostly-straightish rows

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My two favorite guys planting corn.

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PJ carefully placing corn seeds a hand-width apart.

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Bo is making sure I stay on task and that the rabbits stay away.

I know this was brief, but it really isn’t that complicated. It just takes some homework and planning. We welcome any questions you all may have about gardening. We don’t know everything, but together we know a lot! HAHA! Happy Planting!

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