Planting Early Spring Vegetables

April showers bring May flowers….and lots of vegetables.  And April is time to get some seeds in the ground.

If any new, inexperienced, or even experienced Conshohocken Community gardeners want some advice about prepping or planting, or have any questions, please complete Contact Us.  We are happy to answer any questions, and if you would like a more experienced gardener to meet you at the garden and talk you through preparing and planting we are happy to arrange that.

If you are a paid member and have been assigned a plot, right now you should be:

  1. Get old plants, weeds, and rocks out of your plot.
  2. Put a few wheelbarrows of compost (from the mound by the shed) in your plot and lightly work the compost into the soil.
  3. Turn your soil over maybe 6 inches down.  You do not need to go too deep.
  4. PLANT!  Decide of much space you want to reserve for early spring vegetables vs late spring vegetables – perhaps 3′ by 5′ for early spring.

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In our March post we listed vegetables that are good to plant early spring.  It is important to plant now because these vegetables need to reach their peak before it gets too hot in late June and July.  (We recommend not yet planting tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, cucumbers, and typical summer vegetables – it is too cold at night for them still).

Key points in how to plant from seed:

  1. Read the directions on the pack.

Conshohocken Community Garden Trench
Trench prior to it being filled with compost.  Notice it is marked with stakes.
  • Make a trench in a row and mark both ends so you remember where the row is.
  • Fill the trench with compost.
  • Draw a line with your finger (or a tool) 1/4 or 1/2 inch deep (based on seed directions).
  • Lay the seeds in the line at whatever spacing the pack recommends.  You can always thin once the plants come up.
  • Lightly put or push soil on top to cover the seeds to the recommended depth.
  • Water very well.
  • Water each of the first 5 to 7 days (unless it rains).
  • Wait a few weeks and the plants will break ground. Water frequently if it doesn’t rain.
  • Buying plants instead of seeds is also a viable option, albeit more expensive. The same basic steps apply to plants as they do to seeds.

    Common oversights inexperienced gardeners make (and even experienced gardeners):

    • Not watering every day for the first week (and if you can’t, simply ask someone to water your plot for you – you can use contact us if you need to)
    • Planting the seeds too deep; 1/4″ is fairly shallow.
    • Forgetting where you planted or what you planted (it happens to the best of us)
    • Trying to use the whole pack of seeds – you may typically use 1/4 a pack in your plot. (Once you planted put your left-over seeds in a tightly sealed plastic bag and store them in the freezer until fall.)
    • Mistaking the seedlings for weeds and pulling them out
    • Not planting because you want to build a box, clean your whole plot, or build a fence. Remember, you can work around planted rows while the seeds germinate.
    Conshohocken Community Garden Planted 2
    This plot was only partially cleared and planted last week.  The gardener can clear the other half later as the seeds germinate.
    Conshohocken Community Garden Planted 1
    Chard, Carrots, Cabbage, Parsley, Spring Onions, Spinach, Green Leaf Lettuce, and Radish

    The plot pictured above was planted last weekend and occupies 5′ x 10′ – note the compost covering each row and the stakes marking the rows.  The vegetables planted are:  Chard, Carrots, Cabbage, Parsley, Onions, Spinach, Green Leaf Lettuce, and Radish.

    The plot pictured above has garlic, onions, and more.  The gardener laid some straw to help protect the bulbs this time of year.  [Straw vs hay?  Straw is dried stalks of a plant, no seeds.  Hay contains seeds which could take over your plot.  Always use straw and leave the hay for the horses.]

    We are excited to see everyone out gardening, and let us know if you need any help.  We hope this posting helps.

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