Tips For Your Spring Veggie Garden
If you started seeds indoors or under grow lights in your garage, you’ll need to harden off the baby plants. Hardening off means you’ll need to acclimate your plants to get them ready for planting in the garden. Start by placing them in the shade for a few hours a day, watching carefully to make sure they don’t dry out too much. Then very slowly transition them to part sun/part shade for a short time, making sure they don’t dry out. Then once they’re ready, place them in full sun for a few hours, watering them generously beforehand. Do this slowly to keep from shocking or killing your plants. Once they are acclimated to the outdoors, you can plant them directly into your garden.
Add a little color to your veggie garden by planting some companion flowers. Some can double as edible flowers, just be sure to check the variety. Not only are they beautiful, but some flowers will help to attract pollinators and help to keep garden pests away.
This year, we’re planting Nasturtiums, Dwarf Marigolds, Cosmos, Romaine, Lettuce, Chives, Asparagus, Borage, Cilantro, Basil, Thyme, Parsley, Strawberries, Bell Pepper, and Dwarf Blueberries.
Worried about your garden flourishing in shadier areas? There are several veggies that don’t mind a little shade. Use your partly-shaded garden plots for things like:
- salad greens (arugula, lettuce, spinach)
- leafy greens (collards, kale, mustard greens, swiss chard)
- root veggies (beets, carrots, potatoes, radishes, turnips)
- brassica veggies (broccoli and cauliflower, cabbage)
- peas and beans
- leaks and onions
If you don’t have room in your garden for composting, not to worry. Just dig a small hole in your garden each time you have compostable kitchen scraps like crushed egg shells, leftover chopped up lettuce, old chopped cabbage, coffee grounds, potato peels, tea bags (staples removed), banana peels, or small pieces of asparagus ends. If you’re not sure if you can compost something, just Google it. If you’re burying scraps in your garden, we would recommend composting veggie scraps or things that do not have a strong odor or sweet taste (like onions or strawberries) that could attract creatures like racoons. Once you place your small scraps into your garden, cover with some dirt.
Be sure to chop up tough or hard items that will take a long time to break down (like egg shells, cabbage, asparagus, banana peels, etc.). Over time, your scraps will turn into rich compost and will help to attract garden worms that are beneficial for breaking down compostable waste, adding usable nutrients for plants, while aerating your garden. Click here for more about composting at home.
Note: Citrus peels take a while to break down and worms are not attracted to citrus. Do not compost seeds within veggies (like bell peppers) or fruit unless you want a bunch of baby plants.