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“Let’s put the new raspberries here,” I suggested. Tim and I were standing waist deep in an untamed field near the vegetable garden. In an area a bit rocky for root crops, fruit canes seemed a good choice. With sun shining there all day and water easily accessible, the decision was made.

As I began to mark the perimeter, Tim went to get the scythe. “How much can I have?” I asked tentatively, realizing that he’d have the worst task – knocking down the tall, tough grasses before we’d be able to rake and mow.

“As much as you want.” Tim is a jewel I don’t deserve, who lives by the motto, “Happy wife – happy life.”

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We opened much more than we needed just for raspberries. I’ve been wanting to get the pumpkins out of the garden, and this was a great opportunity. By fall when it was finally tilled and ready for planting in the spring, we were pretty proud of ourselves.

Our son, Sam, came over to see. “Is this really where you’re planning to plant raspberry canes?” he questioned. “You’re going to be plowing snow right through there all winter.”

Ugh.

Sam was right. In the midst of summer, it’s easy to forget what happens on a piece of the earth in the winter. Here in northern Maine, where we expect lots of snow, we plow the snow back far beyond the driveway, leaving a wide place to deposit the snowfall from each storm. The new garden will freeze and we will have no difficulty plowing over it, but annuals, not perennial fruiting canes, will be our best option. 

To help you avoid a similar mistake, I offer these suggestions:

Have you already chosen your plantings? Consider these before choosing a garden location:
1. What are the sunshine or shade needs of your plants?
2. What will be the size of the mature plants? Will they spread? How much room will each plant require?
3. What are the water needs? Is there sufficient access to water nearby?
4. Look up and around. Are there existing plantings which will compete for soil nutrients, water and space? What will be the mature sizes of existing plantings? Will existing plants eventually crowd or shade your new plantings?
5. What does the plant need after the growing season? Will it die back to the ground or need to be mulched (Learn about my favorite at www.PremiumGroundCover.com), wrapped or supported in winter? Will it provide interest and beauty in a winter garden? Will you want to see it from your window?

Have you already chosen your garden location? Consider these before choosing your plants:
1. Is the garden in full sun, partial sun or shade?
2. If the garden is next to a house or other structure, how much room do you need to maintain a proper distance between plants and foundations, steps, windows and gutter downspouts?
3. Are you looking for plants of a particular shape, color or size? Fast growing or slow-growing? Annual or perennial?
4. How far is your garden from a water source? Can you provide adequate moisture, or should you choose more drought tolerant plants?
5. What happens in your garden’s location in winter? Will it be under a snowbank? Exposed to harsh winds? Plowed over?

Our new garden will be planted in pumpkins before long, and they will be free to run as they will. We’ll also plant other vegetables there, long rows of kale and broccoli, perhaps. As for the raspberries, we will be doing some hasty work in the spring preparing yet another garden, this time well away from the path of the plow.

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