Spring is a wondrous time for us all but especially for gardeners, who have been anxiously awaiting green shoots and tender new foliage in their gardens. It’s a busy time of year with a long list of chores.
A good start is a check of our garden tools—our partners in the garden. Our cutting tools should have a clean sharp edge. (Watch our video on tool sharpening here!) A good clean cut on hard wood when pruning and shaping helps our plants stay healthy against pests and disease.
While we amend our vegetable garden beds with composted soil our seedlings of cool weather crops such as broccoli and cauliflower will be the first ones in. Peas should be in now, an easy large seed to plant with kids. A good choice are the types that have edible pods; they are less work and crunchy right off the vine. It’s also a good time to get your onions and leek “starts” in, find a location where they won’t be shaded by the later heat-loving vegetables like tomatoes and peppers.
A potato bag is fun to plant with the kids and grandkids with seed potatoes available now for French fries later! Think of all the different ways to plant vegetables that make it fun and easy for the family, from potato bag planters to raised beds for the deck and patio.
How about an herb planting next to the grill? As we think about the tomato season, include varieties that produce both early and late. Tomatoes produce fruit at maturity and maturity depends on the variety, so you don’t have to wait too long for that delicious slice. Early Girl and Jet Star are a couple of good examples. Also don’t forget the sweet cherry varieties that little hands can pick, they are delightfully sweet and irresistible! Look for resistant varieties both listed on the seed packet and plant tag to resist fungus and tomato wilts.
If you are planting tomato seedlings you have started indoors—don’t forget to harden them off (slowly adjusting them to outside temperatures for a few days before planting in the ground) and when planting, plant them up to their true leaves. Tomatoes root along their stems so don’t worry about planting them too deep. As soon as your tomatoes are planted put in the supports around them and water evenly throughout the season to prevent blossom-end-rot. Espoma Tomato-Tone fertilizer is a good choice for your tomato garden.
Lettuce is a rewarding garden venture! The early bunches make it easy to grow in my elevated raised bed by my kitchen. Gardening standing up and keeping my greens from the rabbits is very satisfying. All the different leaves and colors make for a beautiful planting.
As I harvest the mature lettuce from my deck garden I replace with more from seedlings I have started in my greenhouse. To keep a lettuce planting going is a gardening challenge I enjoy—it’s all about timing with successive plantings throughout the growing season.
Starting squash varieties is a perennial gardening task. Have you tried spaghetti squash? Easy and fun with kids, a delicious vegetable that imitates spaghetti! My zucchini recipes are family favorites along with the end of season butternut and acorn squash dishes.
I am always inspired to try new things when I see the lovely artwork on the seed packets. Be patient and water every day. As spring gardening begins and I work in the soil, I can already taste my roasted beets, leek soup and fresh carrots!
Did you know some vegetables grow better together? Learn more by checking out our vegetable companion chart here!
Everything you need for this season’s vegetable gardening chores can be found at all Agway of Cape Cod locations.