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Planning a Better Garden
 By Kerry Lake, Master Gardener

Mary, Mary, quite contrary how does your garden grow?

The drought here in New England just continues to get worse every week. Many towns now have water bans on watering of any kind. Four feet of snow one winter, then bone dry the next 12 months; how is a gardener to cope with this contradictory weather?  Let’s start by getting back to basics. In the next few months we are going to bring you knowledge and experience from our master gardeners. We will take a look at new and old garden ideas and concepts in order to help you plan a more resilient garden for 2017.

Whether starting a garden, or freshening an existing one, NOW, yes now in October, is the time to start your plan for that 2017 garden.  Over the next several feature articles we will look at the different aspects of planning and then caring for next year’s garden.  Our garden is only as good as the depth to which we plan and prepare.  As someone once said “Preparation is the Key to Success”.  So now, starting in October, we have a few months to plan for our next spectacular garden, to be better prepared for next year.  Be forewarned, planning means work on your part.  We will be recommending books for you to read, evaluations to construct, budgets to prepare, site plans to draw for both new and existing gardens. All the work will be worth it when you reap the rewards. We can work together this fall and winter to prepare for the best garden in 2017.

We propose that there are 3 factors that will affect your dream garden: the Soil, the Site, and You; let’s keep with our S alliteration and call ‘You” Self.  These three factors dictate everything that can and will happen to your garden. Each month we will look at Soil, Site and Self In preparation of our 2017 Garden. Take a look at our Soil – Site – Self garden tasks for October.

Coming Up in November:

  • Soil: Soil test results & remediation including cover crops
  • Site: Developing the Dream Site Plan
  • Self: How you can make the Dream a Reality

Feature Articles & Book Reviews


Become A Master Gardener


The Master Gardener program will allow you endless opportunities to enhance your knowledge and expertise as well as to meet fellow gardeners from throughout Western Massachusetts. You will also discover rewarding service and learning opportunities as you assist people with good and sustainable solutions to their gardening problems and challenges.


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What We Do

Western Massachusetts Master Gardener Association is committed to serving the community through public education and service.Find us at local farmers markets answering gardening questions. Look for us tending area community and non-profit groups' gardens.


Ask A Master Gardener

PHONE HOTLINE: Call the Hotline with your gardening questions at any time: 413-298-5355.  WMMGA Master Gardeners will answer your questions and call you back! Please leave your name, your question, your phone number (or email address), and the best time to reach you on the answering machine any day of the week. We will call you back when we have an answer to your question.


Bud Identification
Weed Identification
Plant ID
Previous Feature Articles
Berkshire Botanical Garden
Arnold ArboretumArnold Arboretum
Tower Hill


in November:
Part 2

©2016 Western Massachusetts Master Gardener Association