March 31, 2015

Spring Gardening

Hello fellow gardeners! Or better yet, aspiring gardeners. I am in no way a gardening expert; I've only had a few years experience, even. But since I had no clue what I was doing, I did a LOT of research and have learned quite a bit along the way. 
Here is some of my tips: 
1. You can get out there and start planting NOW. A lot of plants actually PREFER the cold weather. There are actually 3 gardening seasons that most people try and cram into 1. (So sad, I know). 
You can get out into your garden with some seeds and go ahead and plant these crops: 
Peas (sugar snap, snow or shelling varieties. I personally like sugar snap the best; and they are my main sustenance while gardening. They never make it inside the house. That is why I'm planting even more this year.) go ahead; plant generously. They will be mostly dead when it's time to plant your tomatoes, anyway.
Spinach (I don't have the best luck with spinach; but I think it's because I'm not using the right variety yet. But I still plant it!) 
Lettuce-technically you're supposed to wait a couple more weeks but I plant it anyway. It doesn't hurt anything; plus there are so many seeds that come in a pack you can replant later. Lettuce seeds don't tend to save well, longer than a year or two. Plus, if it does work, you are a few weeks ahead of schedule. 
-takes forever to germinate; but I promise; plant it now. (It takes forever when it's warm, too). 
Cilantro-this is a good pollinator; and it dies off when it gets warm anyway. This year I went a little crazy with how much I planted, but I think it's a good problem to have lots of cilantro. I can make some pesto early summer and call it a day. 
Dill-just do some in case it germinates. Definitely save most of your seed to plant again in a few weeks but it should work. 
Chamomile-I love this little plant. The tiny daisys are so cheery. 
Poppy-this flower actually NEEDS some time in the cold. Better yet; you planted it after the first frost in the fall. Don't worry; you can still plant it now. It will bloom spring and fall. It's a cool season annual but will probably self-seed for you every year. (Or be seeded by your kids playing with the "pepper shaker" seed pods)
Lupine-just like poppy needing some cold. Although I've been told a lot that I'm lucky to get it to work; not sure if it's the only secret or not? 
Onion sets -try planting close to your lettuce. Apparently it's supposed to deter pests that bother lettuce and make it taste better. And onions don't take up much space and you plant at the same time. Genious! 
Potatoes-my bag said, "plant early spring, as soon as the soil can be worked" which is NOW. So there ya go. I've never planted potatoes, it's my first year so I have no experience. I've heard they are one of the easiest crops to grow, though, and also to plant them in a new garden bed because it helps till your soil. 

2. Another one of my tips: don't go too crazy trying to plant stuff inside just to transplant it later. Some stuff you need to, but why take all those extra steps? I look for things that can be direct-seeded or that are easy to grow and plant those. Mostly because I'm LAZY. Most stuff will just grow when it's good and ready to grow. Most seeds you aren't going to kill by planting them too early, they will just warm up and germinate when they're ready. 

3. Plant some herbs. They mix well with flowers or vegetables, are great pollinators, caterpillars eat them so you'll get more butterflies, taste great, look pretty. Just do it. Most of them help your vegetables taste better, too. 
If you have a butterfly garden, my favorites are dill and parsley. 
If you plant tomatoes the best are basil, marigolds and sunflowers. 
Carrots the best are chives and rosemary. 
Look up articles about "companion planting" if you're interested in this. 

4. My other best tip is to just go out and plant something. Don't be scared. Most of the stuff you'll have to wait a while, but even if you have a small garden, pick something and plant it. I really enjoy myself gardening. I feel like it just gobbles up my stress. I know other people don't like it as much as I do, which is fine. So don't plant a ton. My favorite is herbs; 1. because I love them; 2. because they're easy to grow and 3. because they are so expensive at the store; if you grow them yourself they are practically free. 

There you have it. I'll try to post some more tips in a few weeks. 
Feel free to comment with some of your tips. Either with other stuff you can plant now (these are just the only things I actually PLANT; I'm sure there are more) or just other tips. Like I said; I'm new at this, too. 

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