By Jayashree Lavanyan, Edible Campus Garden Steward
In case you had not noticed with the snow still falling, it’s spring! And with the last frost date less than a month away, now is the best time to wake up your garden or pots from their winter slumber to make sure they thrive beautifully and brim with life for the rest of the year. Here are a few steps to begin your growing season off right.
Prepare your beds and pots
Early spring is the best time to give your soil some love and attention. If you are planting beds or pots, it is important to add the nutrients that your soil will need for the rest of the year. There are many ways to fix or amend your soil, but for the everyday gardener, I recommend adding compost and manure, which you can buy at your local garden store. Next, be sure to give your soil a few weeks to absorb the nutrients as well as time for the nitrogen from the manure and compost to dissipate. Being overly nutrient-rich causes a chemical burn and may not allow plants to thrive.
Next, as you are amending your soil, take some time to till or turn your soil, which will help provide aeration. When your plants start to grow the aerated soil will provide space and room for the roots to grow. Be careful not to over turn the soil as this causes nutrient loss. By taking time with your soil beforehand, you garden will provide the best home for your plants.
Starting seeds indoors
You can start seeds for plants such as Broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, certain types of carrots and beets indoors. They can be transferred outdoors around the 3rd week of April. They need to be covered in cloth or mulch to protect from frost. March is a good time to start seeds. As an alternative, you can buy started seeds from greenhouses or nurseries. Plants like tomatoes and peppers need time to grow and to mature well before transplantation in summer. Thus, they need to be started by late march or early April.
Not all plants need to be started and then transferred. Some plants are resistant to frost and these would be the best options for direct sowing. One such plant is peas. They can be directly sowed and can be grown quick and easy. Just make sure the soil is not frozen at the time of sowing. Late march is a good time to start with this.
Melons, cucumbers etc… do not transplant well. So it is wise to wait till late spring to plant them directly.
Well…Those are the first few baby steps that you need to take! To get a better understanding of how to go about this whole “planting-schedule” thing, check this out…The US department of Agriculture has categorized the entire landscape into hardiness zones defined by climatic conditions and each zone has a well-defined and detailed agenda. Salt Lake city is in Zone 5.
So there you go…Grab a calendar and get started! Good luck!
Jayashree is a Computer Engineering student at the U, who is just learning how awesome gardening can be and is writing blogs to let more people in on that secret!