It’s exhilarating to be outdoors gardening again!
Were you one of the many new gardeners or gardening families that got your hands in the dirt last year to raise homegrown vegetables? If you’re like the rest of us who got “bitten by the bug,” you’ve been making decisions throughout winter on which varieties of cool crops to plant first.
Although many of us want to spring free from our homes and start planting seeds or starts from sheer excitement and warmer weather motivation, a little prudence and planning before will ensure a timely and achievable harvest.
Soils: Since winterized garden soil tends to be dense, amend your soil by tilling in compost (from your home pile or nursery-bought) for proper nutrition along with worm castings for air and water balance. For raised beds and container gardens, we recommend E.B. Stone’s “Edna’s Best” potting soil for its blend of 100% natural and organic ingredients. We carry Edna’s Best in two sizes: 20-quart bag, $7.98, 1.5-cubic feet, $12.98, and worm castings in a 20-quart bag (share with a neighbor!), $15.98. Ask our staff for the amount of soil you may need.
Crops: Early-season vegetables or cool crops thrive in cool temperatures and are simple to sow and grow. Most gardeners experience a high success rate with planting the basics: arugula, lettuce, spinach, radishes, peas, strawberries, Swiss chard, carrots, beets, kale, other greens, and cabbage. For those who want a greater gardening challenge, we suggest growing broccoli and cauliflower. Although seeds are the most affordable, be cautious not to overplant. Determine the space required for each seed variety by following the sowing directions on the back of the packet. Pre-pack veggies starts are less likely to be overplanted and are sold in packs of 4’s and 6’s and right now we have an abundance of healthy starts located near the Garden Store.
Sun: Most cool crops require up to 6 to 8 hours of direct sun. However, some cool crops require less light (3 to 6 hours), including beans, Swiss chard, kale, collards, beets, carrots, mint, chives, cilantro, and parsley.
Watering: Whether watering seeds or starts by hand, with soaker hoses, or an irrigation system, deep watering less often will help you grow plants with strong roots and is better than frequent light watering.