For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, Spring Planting Season is coming. Hopefully. The way the weather is acting here I am a believer in The Grand Solar Minimum!
However, keeping a positive outlook and depending on your USDA Growing Zone (link at the bottom of this post), you may need to start your seeds now. In my Zone, 5a, I can directly sow my pea seeds the end of the month. They like cool weather and will be done before summer heats up. They also like nitrogen and I picked up a product on impulse from a local nursery that states it “fixes” the nitrogen in the soil. If any of you are interested leave a comment and I’ll get you the name of it. It’s late, I’m in bed and that stuff is in the detached garage! I do know peas will produce nitrogen, like other plants do. Which is why in places where the winters are mild enough that you can grow things all year, people will plant a “cover crop” over the winter to replenish nitrogen and other nutrients in the soil. That is all I know about cover crops, I’ve not learned about them because we have hard freezes here and I can’t use cover crops. What I learned from an organic farmer in my area is for plants that like nitrogen, wet teabags with enough boiling water to get them wet. When they’ve cooled put one or two around the base of the plants. As it rains or when you water the tannins will leach into the ground and decay into nitrogen. Worked like a Charm the year I tried to grow broccoli! My older sister had told me not to try to grow it when I’d gotten the young plants from the nursery because she’d tried several times and couldn’t grow it. It was nice when I could show up at her house with the only plant the dogs I’d had at the time didn’t eat! They ate the other 3 plants to the ground! Yes, I know it was them and not Shortbus Bunny because I caught them! Moving on……
You should already have your garden lay out planned, but if not, now is the time to do it. Plan it so taller plants, like pole beans, don’t shade other Sun loving plants. Keep in mind that plants don’t like to be crowded and some plants will even produce a toxin to kill any nearby plants of another species. Overcrowding is just a bad idea in general as you’ll lose yields due to insufficient resources for all the plants. Even using a fertilizer your plants won’t have enough room in the soil to put down a healthy enough root system to really produce for you. Here’s what I mean when I talk about planning. Last spring I was wandering around my favorite nursery looking at plants and found their Strawberries. On impulse, I bought 6 of them and planted them in my garden. Not remembering just how much those bad boys spread! By the end of the summer I’d already lost half of my garden space! I’m going to try and use what’s left this year, but by next year I’m going to have to till a new garden space. Full honesty here- I’m not really good at planning things. I just go with what feels right. It’s a Pisces thing.
If you have already had a garden and the ground is warming up enough that your snow is gone, you might want to check and see how its looking. If you haven’t had a garden, now is a good time to find a spot in your yard for one. You’ll need full sun for the majority of the day and good drainage. Walk around your yard, check the soil to see if it’s swampy, if it is keep an eye on the spot it could just be still frozen so the melting snow has nowhere to go yet. If, after a few warmer sunny days it’s still swampy, that might not be the best spot. Look at any trees around the spot, you don’t want any right over your garden, but some to the west would be perfect since they’ll block the late day Sun and help keep it from roasting your plants. My neighbor has a huge old Maple in his yard that blocks the late day Sun.
- Plan the layout
- Learn your Growing Zone if in the U.S.
- Start any seeds that don’t have to be Direct Sowed
- Make sure your tools are in good repair (I forgot that part above)
- Prepare the ground either by cleaning out any debris or tilling for a new garden
- Get ready to plant and Yay!! Summer!!!