Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Time to Start Planting your Garden

By Mark J. Donovan

With the weather getting warmer and the birds returning it’s time to start planting your garden. Before planting, however, you should prepare the soil to maximize your garden harvest. It’s wise to do a soil test first. This way you can determine the type of fertilizer and nutrients your garden needs. Once you’ve determined your garden soil’s needs, fertilize the soil and add compost and Lime as necessary and turn the soil over with a shovel, spade and/or rake. Then allow a couple of weeks for the fertilizer, Lime and compost to break down in the soil before actually planting.

Once the soil has been prepared for planting you can begin planting vegetables that thrive in cooler weather such as peas, beets and onion sets. As the days and nights get progressively warmer you can plant beans, squash and lettuce. Also, after planting these types of cold weather resistant vegetables it’s a good time to put up any protective fencing to keep out the local wood chucks and other animals that like frequenting a healthy garden.

With the threat of frost largely past, you can then begin to plant tomatoes, peppers, cauliflower and broccoli. If after planting cold sensitive plants there is a chance for an evening frost cover the plants overnight with cheese cloth to protect them from freezing. Also, make sure to stake the tomato plants right after you plant them, or at least pound into the ground the stakes for holding the plants up when they begin growing in earnest.

After planting your garden make sure to water it frequently, however limit watering to the morning and noon time hours. Watering the garden in the evening could cause mold and fungus growth on the plants. You may also want to spread some mulch or grass clippings around the plants to mitigate weed growth and to help retain moisture in the soil.

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