Friday, May 22, 2009

Become a Master of Space and Time

A character on one of my favorite shows "Heroes" calls himself a "master of space and time." Hiro can stop time and let it resume whenever he wants. At one time he was even able to go forward and backward through time. Wouldn't that be a cool power to have? But this post is not about superpowers, it's about becoming a master of space and time in your garden. Space and time are two of the most important elements in the garden that most people don't consider.

Let's think about space for a second and why it's important. Space has all kinds of garden related meanings. It could be an outdoor living space like a patio or a garden room. It could be used to refer to the spacing of plants including vertical positioning as well as horizontal. Proper spacing of plants is very important to avoid fungal diseases or to crowd out weeds. Close spacing in dry environments might work better but if you live somewhere with a lot of natural moisture you might be inviting fungi for dinner. Close spacing may prevent light from reaching weeds and limit their growth which is always good. Space can also refer to open spaces for wildlife or any other kind of natural habitat. The word zone is used a lot in garden talk but in my garden every space seems to have its own climate zone where plants who like similar envrionmental conditions thrive together. Lots of meanings for a small but important word.

Time can be very closely related to space especially when we are talking about the size of plants. That little seedling can grow to be quite large over time and if your space isn't big enough you may have problems. You can master time simply by knowing the mature size of your plants. Don't plant something that will be too large for an area unless you don't mind moving it later. I do this sometimes knowing I'll have to move it so I can have a temporary spot for that impulse buy plant I shouldn't have bought but did anyway! It's always better to plant it and leave it but plants are resilient beings. Becoming a master of time can also save you money in the long run. You can buy smaller plants that are less expensive and let them grow patiently to their mature size. Then you can have the satisfaction of telling your gardening friends "I planned it this way! I am Master of Space and Time!" (OK I doubt you'll say that but maybe you'll think that.) Let's not forget about the vegetable garden timing. Planting the right crop at the right time is essential to getting your garden to produce. It would be extremely tough to plant lettuce in the garden in July and probably just as difficult to plant squash and corn in March. It just doesn't work! The lettuce likes it cool and the squash and corn like the soil nice and warm. Timing is everything!

If you become a master of space and time in your garden and you you might not become a superhero but your plants will love you for it!

7 comments :

  1. I heard one forecast this afternoon that hinted at a risk of frost for some parts of the Maritimes, even though we've had two days in the high 80's! So yes, timing is everything, especially here in our fickle climate. :)

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  2. Hi Dave, a fun post! I like to get the smallest possible pot of plants to let them acclimate better to my garden conditions. While waiting for those to grow in, annuals and seeds will help keep weeds down until the shrubs, trees and perennials grow larger. After nine years here, that is finally happening and the weeding has been greatly reduced excepting the paths. I might be the mistress of time and space, or should it be the madame? HA
    Frances

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  3. Timely post Dave. I have several new perennials that I'm finding space and time for. (My favorite hero is Niki.)

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  4. Oh so true, Dave. No need to waste seeds or loose a plant if you don't plan ahead. I too like to purchase smaller plants & watch them grow as they settle in at my garden.

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  5. Very good post, Dave...I have made a point of limiting plant acquisitions this spring! ...Knowing that I must really plan better or lose them. Thanks for the reminder to keep with the program. gail

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  6. Very sage advice indeed. You must know what I am going through right now trying to adjust too big plants and not enough space. Urrrr! I will from now on follow this and become master:) Have a great weekend!

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  7. Well put, and something I struggle with all the time.

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