January 24th, 2014
For most of you, it’s time to start thinking about planting seeds for your Spring garden.
For those of you who will still have late frost, purchase some planters for your windowsill and plant up some chives, basil and thyme. You can enjoy nurturing your herbs along and not have to worry about losing them to a late frost.
If you are planting your first garden, download a zone map to use as a guide or contact your local master gardeners group. You can also find zone maps on the back of some seed packets. The map will tell you ranges of dates when you can plant seeds.
Some plants like radishes, spinach, lettuce, and carrots prefer to be what is called “direct sow.” That’s where you plant them right into the garden soil, and they sprout within a few days.
Other plants like tomatoes, broccoli, cabbage, and peppers do well to be started indoors, or purchase plants at your local garden center to transplant.
And still others like corn, beans, peas, cucumbers and squash could go either way. You could direct sow or you could transplant a seedling.
So, what should you plant now?
You could easily plant spinach, lettuce, mesclun, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, bok choi, chard, kale, carrots and radishes. Fairly soon, you should be able to sow early Spring peas.
Remember, some plants thrive in sunshine and hot weather, others prefer cold weather and shade. So, could you get away with some tomatoes? The answer may surprise you. Tomatoes do better when they have a certain length of sun exposure and warmth of soil. There are some cooler weather tomatoes that produce smaller fruits like Black Krim and Stupice. These varieties were originally developed in Russia. It’s important to keep them warm enough, so you may need to cover them up at night. Those who live in warmer regions can get theirs in the ground sooner.
Practice and take careful notes about what you planted, when, and how well they grew. It will change year to year, but eventually you’ll have a great connection with your property and what kind of foods you can grow.