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Gardening with Laurie: New year - new gardens

By By Laurie Garretson
Jan. 9, 2014 at midnight
Updated Jan. 8, 2014 at 7:09 p.m.

Laurie Garretson

Another new year brings gardeners another chance to grow that better garden. With each season, nature gives us another opportunity to grow better gardens.

With new seed and bulb catalogs arriving in the mail - and all the cold, cloudy days we've been having - it's a good time to be indoors and start your spring garden plans. Let your imagination go wild and experiment with different ideas and plans.

The most efficient gardens will be smaller in size. Even if you have the room, several smaller-sized garden spaces will be easier to maintain. If you are the one who does the mowing, consider making all corner areas rounded instead of square. That makes for easier mowing.

Make beds as wide as you can comfortably reach - usually about 2 feet is the best distance. If you are unable to comfortably reach that distance, make the distance to your liking. Straining to reach your plants can become quite tiring.

Really take the time to evaluate your wants and needs from the space you have to work with. Put everything down on paper - don't trust it to memory. Plan for convenience and your capabilities. Gardening is one hobby that can quickly help you feel your age. If there is a part of garden work that you don't care for or you're not able to easily tend to, do not include it in the garden.

Next, determine any special obstacles that might need to be eliminated from your planing areas - obstacles such as not being able to comfortably bend over and not able to walk long distances. Also, include plans for wider level pathways if you need to use a wheelchair, cane or walker.

After all these considerations are down on paper, it's time to move on to other matters. Check the amount of sun and shade that will be available and in different areas during the hot summer months. Many flowers and most edible crops will require seven to eight hours of full sun.

Know which direction is north. North winds are cold. Consider your soil conditions, poor drainage areas and areas that might have sandy or clay/gumbo-type soils. Include any existing shrubs, vegetable gardens, ponds, walkways, patio areas and particularly large trees in your plans.

It is important to include all available water faucets. Their locations and the amount of them you have available can and should dictate where gardens are located. Dragging hoses around can get old fast.

Next week: more information on your easier garden plans.

Until next time, let's try to garden with nature, not against it, and maybe all our weeds will become wildflowers.

Laurie Garretson is a Victoria gardener and nursery owner. Send your gardening questions to laurie@vicad.com or in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77902.

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