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Natural Awakenings Indianapolis

Planting an Early Spring Vegetable Garden

Mar 04, 2014 09:50PM

There is never a better time to start planning a garden than early spring when some of the tastiest and most nutrient-rich vegetables can be planted. The task of growing food might seem daunting for the novice, so here are some tips on how to get started in March or April.

If one’s worried about chemicals in the soil, raised beds should be built. “The sturdiest raised beds are handmade,” says Lanette Erby of Greenscape Gals, LLC, whose company builds raised beds from new or recycled chemicalfree wood.

Raised beds should be located where they will receive the optimal amount of sun for each crop. Crops such as tomatoes must be planted where they will receive at least seven to eight hours of sun but beds meant for cool season crops can be established in less sunny locations. Once placed, fill raised beds with a soil and compost mix available from most mulch companies.

“A common misconception is that nothing can be planted while there is still a danger of frost,” says Erby. “In fact, cool season vegetables benefit from a little cold as long as one has newspaper, old sheets or frost blankets on hand for covering vegetables overnight when there is a frost danger.”

The Farmer’s Almanac predicts a 50 percent probability that the last frost date for Central Indiana will be April 17. Once beds are built and filled with soil and compost, use the following planting schedule:

-Beets, arugula and lettuce seeds, as well as onion sets, small bulbs and transplants should be planted as soon as soil is workable.
-Spinach seeds can be thrown over frozen ground to germinate or transplants four weeks before last frost.
-Plant broccoli seeds four weeks before last frost or transplants two weeks before last frost. Plant kale three to five weeks before last frost.
-Plant potatoes when grass begins greening.
-Plant carrot seeds two weeks before last frost, thin to four inches apart when two inches tall.

“The most common mistake I see in gardening is overwatering,” says Erby. Most plants only need one to 1.5 inches of water a week, usually readily available in the spring from rain.

For gardening advice or to set up a complimentary consultation for raised bed construction and planting, contact Greenscape Gals, LLC, 317-801-5833, [email protected], GreenscapeGals.com. See ad on page 14.
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