The countdown to spring is on. This is what you need to know to start planning your garden this spring.
We’ve had snow and ice and wind and rain in my neck of the woods this winter. But the sun is beginning to shine, and the birds are beginning to sing.
And I’m looking at my garden plot with longing, and great plans.
Planning is key to a successful garden. In fact, other than harvest, planning might be a gardener’s favorite task.
It’s now March, and I’m eagerly anticipating a summer garden like no other. And, I’m beginning to plan.
Here are 5 Ways to Get Your Vegetable Garden Ready for spring.
1. Planning Your Vegetable Garden
I came across a free garden planning tool I’m using this year from The Old Farmer’s Almanac. It’s a Planting Calendar by zip code or postal code. They use historical data from local weather stations to calculate the best range of planting dates for your location. If you opt-in, they will email you planting reminders.
After printing my customized planting calendar, I’m off to order seeds.
2. Seeds to Sow in March
For example, according to my calendar, this month I should be sowing the following seeds indoors:
• Brussels sprouts
• swiss chard
3. How to Start Seeds Indoors
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Seeds need three elements to successful germinate: heat, humidity, and light. In order for seeds to sprout, they need heat, first and foremost. It’s especially important for heat-loving seeds like tomatoes and peppers.
Secondly, seeds won’t sprout without uniform humidity and moderate moisture. Too dry, and they lay dormant. Too wet, and they rot.
And finally, once they sprout, bright light is essential. Seedlings need 14 to 16 hours of daily light to grow. Unless you have a bright window with plenty of light, you may want to invest in a grow light.
5 Steps to Starting Seeds Indoors
1. Fill clean containers with a moistened soilless potting mix made for seedings. Fill the containers to just below the rim.
2. Plant the seeds according to the seed packet. When planting seeds, Farmer’s Almanac suggests planting the largest seeds in the package to get the best germination rate.
3. Cover containers with plastic. Prick holes with a toothpick for ventilation. Water as directed, but carefully without causing too much soil disruption.
4. Seeds sprout best at temperatures of 65 to 75°F (18 to 24°C). Find a naturally warm spot to grow the seeds.
5. When seedlings appear, remove the plastic and move the containers into a bright light. When the seedlings get their second pair of leaves, prepare individual pots filled with a potting mix with plenty of compost. Move the seedlings carefully to the new pots and water well. Keep pots out of direct sun for a few days.
4. Tools for Starting Seeds Indoors
5. Countertop Growing Systems
My brother has successfully grown the most amazing peppers in our region using countertop growing systems. With the limited warm summer days in our region, this has extended our harvest.