It is that time of year again…the sun is shining a little longer, the days are a little warmer, and the birds are starting to chirp. My green thumb is a-itching and I am ready to start my garden planning. So early, some of you ask? It isn’t even daylight savings time yet!
I am relatively new to the gardening world (I feel like I say that a lot on this blog for my various “worlds”). At least to the “do it properly” gardening world. I have, for many years now, planted herbs and flowers, and vegetables. However, I basically stuck some seeds in the ground with Miracle Grow soil and hoped for the best. I spent minimal time tending to the plants and took whatever they decided to bring to fruition. Last year, I spent a little more time working in the garden and the results were amazing! I had squash plants, peppers, basil and chives that went CRAZY! Below are some of my peppers as they were growing last year.
We literally did not know what to do with the high yield of yellow squash we had. Four of us could have each eaten one with dinner for months! This has inspired me now to put a even a little bit more time into it this year, and see what happens. I would love to eat fresh herbs and vegetables out of the garden every night instead of buying them from the store.
So, back to the timing issue I was talking about earlier. The first thing I have learned, (well, already knew it, but never really cared) is that when and where you plant your seeds (I don’t buy plants) matters a great deal to the size and yield of your plant life. For summer veggies you have to plant a certain number of weeks before the last frost. I know, right? How are you supposed to know when the last frost is before it happens??? If you live in a state like Virginia, as I do, then you have a fantastic website you can check to see the estimated last frost of the season based on your area. The University of Virginia Climatology Office has published a website to look up such information. You can look at the table for your area, choose the lowest temperature your plants are likely to tolerate, and the table will give you the likelihood of the temperature being that low after a certain date. If you want to take a higher risk, plant earlier. If you want to be safe, choose the lower likelihood of cold temperatures.
There is also another easier way to check things if you are going to purchase seed packets from a company like Burpee. At there website you can search for the seed packets (and plants) that they sell. Once on the page of a particular plant, if you select the “growing info” tab on the lower right, it will tell you when to plant your seeds (and whether indoor or out) and when to transplant them.
For instance, if I want to plant Burpee’s Cherries Jubilee Tomatoes I can search them on the website, click the Growing Info tab, put in my zip code, and the chart will show me that I should plant them indoors in mid April and transplant them outside in late May.
Since all the sowing and transplanting takes planning, I am getting ready early! I also have more ideas for my garden that I thought I would be able to share with you today. However, I have kept you long enough already so I will let you get back to your world and you can return for my gardening ideas another time.
Good luck with your garden blueprints!