In last week’s blog I talked about planning your garden. This week I want to discuss choosing plants and planting spring cold crops. Cold crops meaning they can with strand the lower temperatures that are likely during the spring months. I visited my local plant store over the weekend. (I prefer my family owned hometown store rather than the big box stores.) As I said last week, my plan was to plant peas, cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower. So I went to my local store and browsed through the plants. I decided on 45 day and 80 day cabbage, and red cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and I also decided on buttercrunch lettuce, and an additional strawberry plant. (The one I planted last year has already started growing, is running, and looks good.) Look for plants that look healthy and soil that feels damp. Plants should not look dry, yellow, or wilted. Buying healthy plants is vitial to a successful garden. I didn’t purchase pea seeds because I have seeds left from last year. Seeds can be kept from year to year by storing them in the freezer. I would only use them for a few years before buying new. I did a little research that says seeds kept in the freezer are good for a minimum of five years and some can last up to 20 years, depending on variety.
I came home and began planting . All my plants had damp soil so they came out of the packs easily. To get the plants out of the packs pinch the bottom of the packs upward and gently pull the plants out. Next, lay out the plants where you want to plant them to check for spacing. I recommend reading the tags that come with the plants to know how far apart to space them. In raised beds, plants can be a bit closer than tratidional gardening, but the tags give you good information. Then, loosen the roots by gently pulling them apart. Next, use a spade to pull back the soil and make a hole. Place the plant in the hole and cover with dirt. Gently pack soil around the base of the plant. Always water plants after planting. I do recommend that you never water plants in the sun. Either plant and water in the morning before the sun gets to high or wait until near sunset to go back to your plants and water. This rule applies throughtout the gardening season. Never water when it’s full sun/hot or it will hurt the plants.
Gently pull the roots to loosen.
Make a hole as deep as the root system.
I planted 3 rows of peas. Use the spade to make a trench or ditch. Sprinkle peas down the row and cover with dirt. Peas like to climb so creating a trellis is a good idead. We simple use a piece of wire attached to one of the arches. Since I planted 3 rows, I will place another piece of wire later once the peas begin to grow.
Lastly, raised beds must be well watered everyday. Catching rain water is a good way to cut down on watering cost. If your plants don’t seem to be doing well after a few days it may mean that they need some extra nutrients, either fertilizer or Epsom Salt, which acts as a fertilizer. Once again find a good website, a gardening book, someone at your local plant store, or county extension office to help answer question you may have or to get advise.
I hope this little bit of information helps you. If you have never gardened before, I encourge you to make it part of your journey.