Get out your shovels and rakes — gardening season is here! Yes, we know it’s cold out. In fact, it seems like the warm weather will never stay longer than a few days — but we promise, it will.
Besides, some veggies like the cooler weather, and they do best when they get an early start.
According to the folks at Rodale and The Old Farmer’s Almanac, now is the best time to start seeds for beets, turnips, carrots, leeks, radish, potatoes, peas and parsnips. It’s also a good time (though not if there’s a freeze or frost warning) to set out seedlings in a protected area — veggies such as cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, onions, Swiss chard, lettuce, kale and spinach — to harden off.
You’ll need to get your garden in order first, though. Start by raking off any debris such as leaves, plant stalks and twigs. When the soil crumbles easily, it’s time to plant. It’s a good idea to take a soil test first to find out what, if anything, your garden needs.
Kits are available at many garden centers and agriculture extension offices. The Gardening Know How website has a handy search tool to find an extension office near you.
When the warmer weather rolls around — sometime in May — and the threat of frost is past, it’s time to plant things like tomatoes, beans, cucumbers, melons and peppers.
A layer of mulch between the rows will help to keep weeds down. You can also use newspaper (although you’ll want to avoid the glossy inserts) and cardboard — they’ll eventually break down and become a good source of compost.
Whatever you do, don’t let the cold weather get you down — with a little luck and some sunshine, you should be harvesting some of your earlier plants in early to mid June!