It’s time to get out in the garden and get growing! Here are 10 springtime tips for your vegetable Garden that will help you get your season started off right!
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10 tips for your vegetable garden
Sharpen Your tools
A sharp tool makes all the difference when working in the garden. If you don’t already own one, run down to a home improvement store and buy a simple metal file. Use the file to sharpen the edges of all your digging and cutting tools. Be sure to get a nice sharp edge on your shovels, hoes, and weeding tools. Also, put a nice sharp edge on all your cutting tools as well, tools like hand pruners, bypass pruners, and hedge trimmers all need to be sharpened at least once a year. Putting that sharp edge on your tools means you will slice through whatever you are cutting cleanly causing much less damage to the plant. Dull tools crush and pinch plants causing much more damage to the surrounding plant tissue.
Consider Starting a compost pile
Spring is a great time to start a compost pile. Your compost pile can be as simple or complicated as you would like it to be. You can pile materials up in the corner somewhere or build yourself a nice bin system. In the spring there is usually a lot of plant material available (see #3 below), why not compost all that extra plant material to enrich your garden!!
Get a head start on weeds
Spring is the time for rebirth right? Well, unfortunately, spring is when your weed problems are reborn as well! In most parts of the world, spring is mild and wet. Perfect conditions for those weed seeds to germinate! If you tackle your weed problems early in the spring, pulling is much easier because the plants are small. Because the weeds are small they haven’t had a chance to set seeds yet. No new weed seeds in your garden this year means fewer weeds to pull later in the summer or next spring!!
Plant some bare root perennial fruits & veggies
Spring is the perfect time to plant perennial fruits & veggies. Fruits like strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries love the chance to put their roots down and get established in the cool spring temperatures. In the spring you can plant all of these small fruit plants using bare root starts. These dormant plants never look like the big beautiful starts you will get later in the spring at the nurseries, but early plantings of bare root starts actually makes for healthier stronger plants in the long run. And to top it all off you can buy bare root starts for a fraction of the price you will pay later in the season for nursery grown stock. Don’t forget to plant perennial herbs and veggies in the spring as well!
Warm up your soil
Newly planted seeds like nice warm soil to germinate. Most cool season veggies would prefer to be planted in soils warmer than 55 degrees. A week or so before you plant your seeds cover your garden bed with some clear painters plastic. This simple idea can help your spring veggies germinate up to a week sooner than they would without the warmed up soil!
Plant cool season veggies
Everyone loves a juicy homegrown tomato or cucumber, but we are still a couple of months away from planting warm weather crops. March and April is the time to think about cool weather veggies. Plants like peas, spinach, lettuce, onions, and Swiss chard love cool spring weather. Broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbages also grow best in the spring. Don’t forget root crops like carrots, beets, radishes, and turnips! If you get started now on those cool weather crops, you will have grown an entire gardens worth of food before its even time to put in the tomatoes!
Build a small simple hoop house and get started extra early
If you would like to give your spring crops an even bigger head start consider building a simple hoop house for some of your garden beds. A little lumber, some PVC pipe, and some clear plastic will warm up the soil and protect your spring crops. This allows you to plant those cool weather veggies weeks sooner than you would be able to otherwise!
Buy a Wall-O-Water and get a tomato plant in extra early
This year buy yourself a water-filled hothouse to get a few tomato plants started extra early. These simple water-filled cloches are fantastic at protecting early planted tomatoes. By using one of these you can easily plant your tomatoes 6 weeks earlier than you would otherwise. I use mine to plant just a couple of tomatoes early. The head start means I’m usually eating tomatoes around the first of July!
Keep bugs & birds off your new plants with a fabric row cover
The warming temperatures in spring mean both the birds and the bugs are getting more active and they are hungry!! Nothing looks tastier to a hungry bird than a freshly planted bed of peas. Buy a lightweight fabric row cover to put over your growing plants; this will keep the birds and the bugs out. Be sure to buy the thinnest, lightest weight cover you can find so that it will still allow the maximum amount of sunlight and water to get through!
Start a garden journal
Buy a simple notebook or 3 ring binder this spring and start keeping notes on your garden! Record planting dates, germination dates, when your plants were first ready for harvesting, and what varieties you planted. What was the date of your last frost this year? Was your spring wet and cold or warm and dry? How did the weather affect your plants? Keep notes on everything that happens in your garden. Taking the time to write these things down will pay big dividends in the future. My garden journal is a treasure trove of information; I refer to it, again and again, every year! Keeping a garden journal is a very important part of having a successful garden!
Spring is here!! Used these 10 tips for your vegetable garden and let’s get that garden started!!
10 springtime tips for your vegetable garden was originally featured as a guest post on the Bakerette.com. Thanks, Jen for letting me join your group!!