Fall is a Great Time to Think About Spring Gardening
Photo credit Megan Holly
Fall has come, and with it, the dying of the summer
garden. The leaves have turned brown and the soil is showing on the garden
floor. Although there’s not much to do outside in the garden, there is plenty
to do now to prepare for the next growing season. Tiffany Hinton, founder of
the Little Witches Moon Gardening Club, shares three steps to prepare for spring.
She says, “Now is the time to prepare, to give it thought and dream of what you
will create when the sun grows in the sky.”
Hinton runs a garden club for kids each month in
the northern suburbs of Chicago, and even in the winter months, the members of
the Little Witches Moon Gardening Club come to class and learn. In the winter
months, Hinton teaches them about how the moon cycles and their effect on crops,
companion planting and garden design.
As Hinton teaches her students, gardening is a
year-round endeavor. With careful observation and reflection on the plant
successes and lessons of the past growing season, you can have an even more
abundant and enjoyable garden in the coming year.
Review This Year to Get Ready for Next Year’s Garden
Preparing for next spring’s garden can start
when the leaves begin to fall. One of the first things to do is to review the
past growing season. Make a list of what grew well and what did not grow. Get out
a sheet of paper and make two columns, and label them: “Good” and “Bad”. Add
the items that grew well to the good side. Add the plants that did not grow or
produce as you’d hoped to the bad side of the paper.
Next, look at what grew that you did not like. Put a line through those varieties and scratch them out. Whether it’s a vegetable that you didn’t care for or a plant that didn’t suit your garden area, don’t hesitate to remove it from the list.
What is left on the good list? Do you want to
grow these crops again next year? Did you like the variety you chose, or do you
perhaps want to grow another variety of tomatoes or cucumbers to try something
new. Once you have the list of items you will be growing again in your garden,
look at companion plants that will help to make everything grow more
Companion plants grow better together, like tomatoes and basil. You can find a list of companion plants online or in a gardening book. Check out Hinton’s Ultimate Green Witch Garden Planner, which has a full list of companion plants. Add plants you would like to grow to your list from the companion plant list of ideas.
Plan Your Garden Before
Third, using graph paper to map out your garden
space, do you have the space you want, or would you like to expand your garden
this next season? Draw out the space and begin to lay out the list of plants
you will be growing next spring. Ensure you have enough space for the list you
have chosen. Verify that companion plants are planted beside each other.
Order 2023 Seeds Early for Best Selection
Now it is time to order your seed catalogs. Many seed companies begin mailing catalogs in November and December. Ordering seeds is ideal by mid-January so that they can be started indoors in February for optimal growing time and production next summer. Shopping early for seeds also ensures that varieties you’re looking for are still available from seed companies, especially smaller, independent organic seed growers.
Hinton’s kids gardening club, the Little Witches Moon Gardening Club’s, holds its next class on Nov. 13. She invites you to register your child for the winter garden classes at CultivatingGuts.com.