Garden Talk: Planning For Next Season

Air Date:
Heard On The Larry Meiller Show

On Garden Talk, Judith Siers-Poisson learns how to make best use of time in the winter to plan for a great growing season.

Featured in this Show

  • Winter Can Be Perfect Time To Plan A Garden

    Looking out on the frozen tundra that is Wisconsin right now makes gardening seem like a distant memory. And it feels like it will be forever before the ground is even visible, let alone ready to dig.

    But, winter can provide time to slow down, think about what to grow and then plan for a great gardening season.

    There are many ways to plan a garden, from high-tech to paper and pencils. Melinda Myers is a Milwaukee-based garden expert and the author of more than 20 books, including the “Minnesota and Wisconsin Getting Started Garden Guide.” She is also the host of “Melinda’s Garden Moments.”

    Myers said that she’s using “graph paper, a little bit of CAD design (computer-assisted design), a ruler, sketches … and I’m old-school. So, I’m taking that paper to scale, drawing and I’m cutting out different garden shapes and I’m putting them around so I can decide ‘Is that the best place sun-wise, soil-wise, view-wise, and with access to water, to me, and all the other conveniences?’”

    Even if she describes herself as old-school, Myers also said she likes to use some of the websites, software programs and smartphone apps that have been developed to help gardeners plan.

    “There are tons of great planning tools on the Internet now,” she said.

    And better yet, many are free. Myers said she has found some sites that she finds particularly fun and useful. They include:

    • Gardener’s Supply Company, which offers online tools to plan a wide range of pre-planned gardens, as well as the ability to create your own. “It’s fun because they have line drawings of cabbage, broccoli, tomatoes and more, and you slide those icons into your plan, Myers explained. She added that the garden bed designs can be customized completely for the size of space. “It’s a click and drag, and very easy.”
    • Territorial Seed Company also provides an online planning tool that Myers described as “a little more sophisticated.”
    • Bonnie Plants provides a variety of plans for set, thematic gardens that range from Thai cuisine to kids’ gardens to pizza gardens.

    Myers also recommended checking out apps designed for smartphones.

    “So, if you are in the garden center … you can also access it that way, too, ” she said.

    Myers said that the National Garden Bureau just published a list of gardening apps that includes valuable user feedback.

    These software and online tools are great for adults, but they can also be a way to engage children in garden planning.

    “It gives them a visual of what they can grow. It might get them excited, and if nothing else, it gets us talking gardening and gets them excited about something that I have a passion for,” Myers said.

    And of course, it might help the adult to get technical assistance for a young person for using those high-tech tools.

    “They’re usually more adept at those software programs than some of us are. … So they may enjoy showing mom, dad, grandma or grandpa how to do it!” Myers said.

  • Done With That Stalk Of Celery? Regrow It!

    Cooks and gardeners are often the same people. But not all cooks know that they can garden with their kitchen scraps. And when children can get involved, all the better.

    Melinda Myers is a Milwaukee-based garden expert and the author of more than 20 books, including the “Minnesota and Wisconsin Getting Started Garden Guide.” She is also the host of “Melinda’s Garden Moments.”

    Myers said that a fun project for adults and children alike is regrowing plants from the refuse from produce used in cooking.

    “I have a sweet potato growing in my basement under lights,” Myers said, “because mine sprouted in the pantry. I hadn’t done it for a while and I needed it for a garden web tip, so I thought ‘I’ll take some pictures.’ So, I planted it and it started growing, and then how can you throw it away?”

    Myers said that there are a lot of things to try regrowing, including avocados and grapefruit seeds.

    “That’s not where you grow something for big productivity,” she said, “but it’s a fun thing to do this time of the year, or really, any time of the year.”

    Living Green magazine provides directions for regrowing several vegetables and fruits, including fennel, ginger, onions, garlic and even pineapple. There’s also an article about regrowing romaine lettuce, with some great photos.

    As only Buzzfeed can do, here is a list of 13 vegetables and fruits that can be regrown, including those that are doable, feasible but not easy, and “feasible only if you’re some kind of plant magician with lots of time and patience.”

Episode Credits

  • Judith Siers-Poisson Host
  • Judith Siers-Poisson Producer
  • Melinda Myers Guest

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