In the Midwest, it is almost outdoor vegetable garden time! While those who start seedlings inside have already begun the process; outside planting generally begins around Memorial Day Weekend. While you wait, now is a great time to plan your garden. If you have never gardened before, here are some tips to help you plant a successful and performance-enhancing garden.
1. Determine your garden location
Here is a great resource for choosing a smart site for your garden. In short, choose a spot with plenty of sunshine and with access to a water source. Don't plant next to a large tree or shrub, as the plant will not only create shade but also take nutrients from the soil. Once you have determined your spot, the soil quality makes a huge difference. However, to best know what to add to the soil to make it great for planting, do a soil test. Soil testing is the best way to know where your soil falls short in nutrient content. It also will make the actual gardening part easier since you have already perfected the soil. If you want to do a soil test, it needs to be done ASAP.
2. Find your planting zone calendar
To know when each vegetable can be planted or transplanted, find a planting zone calendar for your location. A quick internet search for "garden planting zone" will bring up many links that allow you to enter your zip code to find your zone number. Once you have your zone number, you can find a planting zone calendar like this one.
3. Determine which vegetables you consume the most
Once you have identified your planting location, with your zone calendar in hand, determine which vegetables you would like to grow. If you are brand new to gardening, start small with perhaps 3-4 different vegetables. Pick those you eat the most to assure no produce goes to waste.
To make the garden especially performance-enhancing, choose as many darkly-colored vegetables as you can. These vegetables are the highest in nutrients. Lettuces are particularly easy to grow, as well as radishes, bush green beans, tomatoes, peppers, beets and zucchini - which are all packed with performance-enhancing nutrients. Once you choose your vegetables, scheduled plantings using your zone calendar.
5. Water with care
When seeds or seedlings are first planted, they require frequent watering to help get them established in the soil. However, after daily water for the first week or so, normal rainfall is often enough to keep the garden moist. To know if the garden needs water, check the dirt for any drying/cracking or plant leaves for any wilting.
6. Harvest your spoils!
There is nothing like harvesting produce right from your own backyard. Before you know it, the first round of lettuce and beans will be ready to pick. You can't get more local than that! Just keep a close eye on your garden so you keep up with harvesting. This will assure no produce goes to waste.
Not the gardening type? Try your local farmer's market this summer for the best in high-nutrient produce! To find a farmer's market in Michigan, click here. If you live in another state, trying searching online for a "farmer's market in [state]."
Your Nutrition Coach,