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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Spring Vegetable Planting

What to Plant This Spring: Vegetables

What to Plant This Spring: Vegetables
Looking to plant some vegetables in your garden this year? Here’s a list of vegetables that flourish with a spring planting. Follow the directions on your seed packets for specific planting information, but follow these tips to get an idea of how to take care of them once they’re in the ground.

Carrots. Carrot seeds should usually be sown about 2 weeks before the last frost date, but early April is usually cool enough to work well. The soil should be loosened at least a foot beneath the surface, with the top layer mixed with mulch or compost, though seeds should only be planted about a quarter inch deep and a few inches apart. When they start to spring up, weed out the smaller ones so that there is 4 to 6 inches of space between them. Pull up when the roots are rich in color.

Onions. Start planting the onions soon as possible; they like the slightly cooler weather of early spring. Growing from seeds can be difficult and it will be 1-2 years before you see the (literal) fruits of your labor, so you may want to start with “sets” of onions—immature onions raised in your local nursery that will grow into mature plants. Ask your local nursery about the growing specifics for the kind of onions you buy, but in general, water only when the ground is dry, and cut off any flowering stems that you see.

Radishes. The soil for radishes should be fertilized and well-drained while remaining moist, and seeds should be sown about half an inch deep and about an inch apart. Continuously pull up the roots as they mature to edible size, which will happen quickly. Let them sit too long, and they will become spongy.

Potatoes. Seed potatoes are better for planting than supermarket potatoes, as supermarket potatoes have likely been treated with anti-sprouting sprays. You can find seed potatoes at your local nursery. To begin the sprouting process, leave them in a windowsill to get sunlight for about a week before you plant them. A day or two before you plant, cut them in pieces with one or two eyes per piece. Plant before the last frost date in your area, about 6-8 inches deep, in rows, eyes pointed upward, and cover the trenches only halfway with soil, continuing to fill as the vines and flowers creep upward. While they’re flowering, continue watering, keeping the soil moist but not waterlogged. 2-3 weeks after flowering, you can begin pulling them out of the ground, but let sit on the surface or a dry area, unwashed, for 2-3 days to let the skin mature.

Beets. Soak beet seeds for 24 hours before planting, then plant beets in mid-spring when the soil is workable, in well-drained, sandy soil. Water every day, just enough to keep the soil moist, and a good mulching will help retain moisture and prevent weeds. If harvesting the beets for their leaves (delicious in salads!) as well as the roots, thin out the sprouts when they reach about 2” high, cutting off the weakest-looking stalks at soil level. Harvest the roots when they’re about 1-3 inches long.

Remember: weed your vegetable gardens to keep the weeds from competing with your vegetables for nutrients. If you want to make sure your region will be ready for planting particular vegetables, check out your region’s planting zone or when your region’s last freeze date is.

Originally posted by Vocalpoint 4/10/2012

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