April is almost gone–which for a gardener means spring planting has begun. I know many of you are interested in gardening and I also know many of you are learners. I am by no means an expert–however, I do enjoy planning and planting our family’s vegetable garden.
In case you are considering planting a veggie garden–be it big or small– I wanted to not only show you how we plant our garden but how I plan it. Here is a quick reference to how I go about the process, and four basic concepts that I call the “4 Ps of Gardening,”
The biggest failure I have ever made was a lack of planning. To be honest, I have never been the best at planning out a thing like a veggie garden. I am a free spirit and had always had the mentality of it will grow as long as I plant it. Right? Wrong. When planting a successful veggie garden there are a few things to consider.
Location, Location, Location
Choose a location that gets at least 6 hours of sunlight everyday. The majority of fruits and veggies need lots of sunlight to grow. Also, make sure the location is free of weeds and has good soil.
Put it on Paper
This is probably where I have failed in the past. I have all the ideas in my head but my failure to commit it to paper, leaves me whimsically planting with no real structure. When plotting your garden be sure to measure, put those measurements on paper, and stick to the plan. Also determine a budget–seeds are less expensive than pre-boughten plants however, not as easy to grow for a beginner.
Placement and Companion Planting
So, the truth is planting a garden isn’t complicated but it does have to be strategic to have the best turnout. Research companion planting. Essentially, planting certain veggies next to each other helps to ensure the best production and health for your plants. For example, planting tomatoes next to peppers will yield benefits for both. On the other hand, planting cabbage next to tomatoes will end in disaster for both plants.
Take a minute to read what I am about to say here. And read it before you roll your eyes… because I know some of you might. Bees are amazing–they are the primary pollinators of thousands of crops throughout the world (blueberries, cherries, oranges and almonds are 90-100% dependent on honeybees). Unfortunately, North American honeybees are dying due to pesticides, insecticides, lack of wildflowers due to “weed control,” and a ton of other chemicals that most of the EU has outlawed years ago. Without pollination we literally can’t grow the majority of our food.
Last year I grew a ton of zinnias and cosmos to not only hide my garden–because let’s be real, sometimes veggie gardens can start to look not so pretty–but to promote pollination from honeybees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. Attracting pollinators is an AMAZING thing–and can be so beautiful too. Last summer we had hundreds of butterflies and hummingbirds we enjoyed watching every evening.
This year I have planted a ton of cosmos and zinnias in other areas near the garden and will feature other flowers within the garden. Sunflowers to help add height and companionship for squash, amaranth to companion corn and beans, and marigolds to help deter pests like beetles. I will also have a section devoted to herbs and mixed blooms nearby the tomatoes and peppers. A lot of herbs (mint, lavender, basil) help deter pests (spiders, mosquitos, and moths) and promote companion planting.
There is an amazing power in prayer. And I think there is also a lot of Truth to be found in praying for abundance and provision. Coming from a farming community that has been hit hard with flooding on one side and needing rain on the other, I know many are praying for miracles to help save their family farms.
I first read the idea of praying over a simple vegetable garden on a gardening website last year. The website actually had Scripture and prayers for different steps of planting and harvesting. While I think it’s biblical to pray for all things the thought had never occurred to me to specifically pray for a veggie garden. But then I thought, “If I can’t pray for the simple things then how am I going to pray for the hard things?” Really how hard is it to send a prayer up when planning or planting? After all we do not have control over the weather which has so much power to affect crops and food prices.
So, I leave you with the “4 Ps” of my own gardening philosophy. Plan, Placement, Pollination, and Prayer. There are countless garden theories out there–but I think these are the basic foundation of maintaining a successful garden. Now whether your garden is a potted plant or it’s an acre long, I truly hope this inspired you and helps in your gardening journey! Feel free to follow me on Instagram to see real live updates about my garden and home!