How to Get the Most Out of Planting Times as Spring Approaches
You’ve got your seeds, your garden journal and your tools ready. Now it’s time to plant! In spring, you want to make sure you are getting all of your vegetables in the ground at the right time in order to maximize your yields.
Most plants won’t be able to grow in temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, so you might want to start some of your seeds, such as lettuce and leafy greens, indoors. Generally, you can begin sowing these seeds indoors about six weeks before you transplant them to your outdoor garden. When you do plant these started seedlings outside, it’s a good idea to keep them about a foot apart to make room for growth.
If you aren’t planning on starting seeds indoors, there are some great seed choices that can be sown straight into the ground at this time of the year too. Don’t worry if the final frost of spring hasn’t occurred yet. As soon as the soil in your area can be tilled up, you can generally begin your planting – specifically onions, spinach, and peas, which like a little bit of cold to get them going. You can generally get those seeds into the ground starting in early March.
If you are using raised beds, the ground is warmer, and your planting can begin sooner than if you are putting them straight in the ground. A good test to tell if the soil is workable is to make a ball of soil in your hand and poke it with a finger. If it crumbles, it is ready. If the soil is too moist, the ball stays together leaving only an indention from your finger. You don’t want this because working the soil when it is too wet will ruin the structure of the dirt and cause compaction for any plantings.
So, what are some good seeds to get in the ground starting in March? Now is when you would probably want to start your veggies such as lettuce, beets, carrots, radishes, celery, and potatoes. If you are looking to get a head start on April, think about starting seeds indoors for vegetables such as cabbage, kale, cauliflower and broccoli and when April finally rolls around, you can get these plants set in the ground. April is also time to set your seeds for corn, eggplant, gourds, mustard, okra, and pumpkins. In the waning stages of spring, you can break out your seeds for beans and kale and as Memorial Day grows closer, think about getting out your warm-season veggies like melons, cucumbers, and squash.
Make sure to keep your garden watered and weeded. If your seedlings are properly cared for, you will certainly enjoy the rewards of gardening come harvest time!