This past weekend I found myself in the gardening section of my local Walmart. While I wasn’t in the store to shop for my yet-to-be-planted garden, I couldn’t help but notice a package that was prominently displayed at the end of one aisle. It read “Spend $1 and get $20 worth of food.” Of course, that “slogan,” if that’s what you’d like to call it, was designed to sell the seeds inside the package, but it made me realize that, soon enough, it will be time to plant my garden. I mean, with our extra warm winter and spring right around the corner, many trees here in Southeastern Pennsylvania are fully in bloom, and daffodils and crocuses are everywhere.
It might just be time to get ready for gardening. If so, you may want to head out on the next warm day and–if you didn’t do so at the end of the fall growing season–start getting rid of any leftover plants from 2011. While you’re at it, pull any weeds that popped up in the meantime.
Once you’ve rid your gardening space of greenery, you need to get the soil ready for planting. One of the first ways you do this is by tilling the soil–basically, moving the soil so that it’s easier to work with. However, you can’t till until the weather and the soil is ready. How do you know when it’s time? When you’ve had your last frost–or you think you are beyond the risk of a frost–and the soil is dry enough to be tilled.
Here’s a tip and trick to find out if it’s time to till. Grab a clump of soil in your hand and squeeze. If it makes a ball and stays together or drips water, it’s is way too wet to till. Once the soil pretty much crumbles in your hand, then you can start tilling the soil and getting it ready to plant seeds. (FYI, if you don’t have a yard with soil to till and turn into a garden, you can always try container gardening.)
I’m going to head outside this week and do that soil test. What about you? Are you planning to have a garden in 2012?