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How Does Your Garden Grow?

So it’s Earth Day (or thereabouts), what’s growing in your garden? Hopefully, the answer isn’t nothing. By now you can have a lot of vegetables started in your garden and it’s even getting a little late for some things.


Peas- April 23, 2010

At the moment, I have leeks, broccoli, peas (dwarf and climbing), red cabbage, lettuce, arugula, spinach, onions, carrots, and beets up and growing in my garden and a second set of seeds of a number of these in the ground and ready to come up.

Broccoli & Sugar Snap Peas

It’s still not too late to plant almost anything, though if you want peas you should get them in the ground immediately. It’s also a bit late to be cabbage or broccoli if you’re starting from seed, but you can use transplants, that is plants started from seed by someone else that you buy as a plant. In addition to the plants I’ve mentioned there are many others that can be in the ground now (see Hudson Valley Seed Library Seed Starting 101, part 1).

If you’ve never planted from seed before, the most important thing you need do to get successful germination (this is the technical term for seeds sprouting) is to keep the seeds evenly watered. They should be watered at least once per day and more if you can. They ground doesn’t need to be soaked (in fact that can actually drown the seeds) but just kept moist. Putting a row cover over the seeds can help keep your seeds moist. Row covers are a very lightweight fabric you lay over your planting bed. It’s so light that as plants underneath it grow they will actually lift up the row cover. In addition to keeping the seeds moist, row covers can protect tender plants from frosts and help keep pests away from your veggies.

Beds With Row Covers

Row Covers

If you haven’t planted any thing yet, you should at least be preparing your garden for the season whether it’s building beds, adding compost or doing that pre-planting weeding. One thing you should not be doing, unless your beds are highly compacted, is tilling your beds. If you’ve been careful not to walk on the areas you’ve planted in previous years you don’t need to till. It actually brings lots of weed seeds to the surface and disturbs the living system that is healthy soil. If you’re converting a section of lawn to garden then you probably do need to till just this one year since lawns by their very nature tend to be highly compacted.

And think of all the work you’re saving.

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Image of The Organic Gardener's Home Reference: A Plant-By-Plant Guide to Growing Fresh, Healthy Food



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