Dreary, cold days of January are perfect for planning your first suburban garden. And while, in the midst of winter’s freeze, the warm planting season may seem a long time off, it isn’t. Here in planting Zone 9, winter’s last frost sometimes comes and goes in the first week of March.
Most suburbanites can turn at least a small patch of backyard grass into a productive vegetable garden with no more than a shovel, hoe, garden rake and elbow grease.
Two of the most important considerations in planning a garden are location, and soil quality. However, urban and suburban dwellers don’t usually have a lot of choice when it comes to their soil; the quality likely will be about the same at one end of a small yard as it is at another. That leaves location as the primary factor in your plan.
Choose a plot of ground that enjoys as much daily sunshine as possible. You’re going to need at least four hours (preferably more) of daily sun, for instance, to obtain tomato fruit. Don’t automatically despair if you can’t find a spot with sufficient sunlight – in January. Remember that by May, the sun will be climbing far higher in the sky. So if your only logical garden location doesn’t get enough sun now, it’s possible it will later in the year. Continue reading