Set Yourself Up For Success!

For most of us, thoughts about this year’s garden leapfrog immediately to “What exciting new varieties will I grow?”

Take a moment. Close your eyes. Think about the best gardener you know- the person with that enviable kitchen garden and those killer flower borders.  You bet your bottom dollar that knowledgeable soul takes care of two key things before choosing a single plant: location and soil.


Location, Location, Location
How well did last year’s garden site(s) work? 

Was there enough sunlight? 

Good drainage? 

Crazy amounts of wind? 

High amounts of foot traffic?


Use what you learned last year to increase your success this time around. Veggies need an average of six hours of sunlight per day, while some flowers need much less. Drainage issues could be the cause of stunted growth and wilting, yellow leaves. Wind and foot (or paw or hoof) traffic can cause manual damage. Rethink and change what did not work.


Essential Soil
Say “soil” and most people yawn. Don’t be fooled – getting this piece right is essential. Soil provides nutrients, moisture, and physical support for plants. It is the foundation for all growth. Who knew dirt was so important? Scientists and master gardeners did! All the research agrees: better soil equals healthier, happier, lusher plants. So assess the quality of your soil before planting.

  • Observe: You probably already know if your soil is super sandy, sticky clay or hard packed.

  • Test: Before you “fix”, determine what is needed. You can test your pH, nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium levels of your soil using a Soil Test Kit.  Your local Cooperative Extension office offers super helpful soil testing services, plus advice about soil types found in your part of the country. Give them a call and ask every question that comes to mind. That is why they are there – to help gardeners like us. Find yours here.

  • Amend: Once you know what your soil needs, add it. Work it in. Check out any of these products to give you the luscious soil your garden deserves. 


Congratulations! You have just laid the foundation for your best-ever garden. Now, let yourself go wild choosing fun, new plants!