Preparing for a Spring Garden
Spring is around the corner, and all gardeners can focus on is starting a successful Spring garden for the new year. To begin preparing for a Spring garden we like to clean out our garden for any weeds or leftover debris from other plants. We also like to plan out what we want to grow by drawing up layouts and determining which crops are going where in the vegetable garden.
When Should I Plant a Spring Garden?
With all the Spring garden talk going around, Greg and Travis decided to talk a little bit about their seed starting schedule. Here in South Georgia, the guys are located in plant hardiness zone 8b. If you do not know which zone you are in you can check with the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map or search by your zip code. If you are a letter above zone 8b, in other words in zone 8a we suggest planting two weeks later than we do in the garden. If you are a number above we recommend planting approximately a month later. However, this is just a general rule it can be a little off depending on your weather in your area. Another thing to consider when to start planting is how big of a transplant would you like to put in the ground. In other words, it takes longer to grow a dixie cup size tomato plant than it does a little transplant plug grown in 162 cell seed starting tray. You should also consider how well you will be able to fertilize or push the seedlings to be ready for planting in time for a Spring garden.
Spring Garden: Seed Starting Schedule
For us in zone 8b our seed starting schedule will be a little different if you live in another zone. Around mid to late January, Greg and Travis plan on starting a second round of cool-season crops like cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, lettuce, and rutabagas. After the cool season crops are started we can start on nightshade varieties. For the nightshades, we can start tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and tomatillos. Since we starting all these crops in mid to late January, our goal is to have the transplants ready to go in the ground early to mid-March. In early February, we like to focus on getting our herbs started in the greenhouse. Some of the herbs we plan on planting are basil, cilantro, parsley, borage, sage, and tarragon. Then, closer to mid-February we will start growing flowers such as ageratum, cosmos, celosia, roselle hibiscus, nasturtium, zinnias, and calendula. However, for the celosia and roselle hibiscus, you may need to wait a week or two to ensure you have warm temperatures when planting in the soil. At the end or late February, that’s when it is time to start transplanting sunflowers, okra, pumpkins, and winter squash. Greg mentions that in zone 8b you can transplant watermelons around the 15th of March till the end of March.
Show and Tell Segment
On the show and tell segment this week, Travis has some mini cabbages that he harvested from the garden. He did a little experiment with no-tilling in his garden this year and with not a lot of nitrogen feeding the plants in return, he grew personal-sized cabbage. Greg shows off an exciting new product that will be available on the website closer to the end of February. This new product is a LED Grow Light Kit that will be ideal for growing indoor lettuce, herbs, and microgreens. Travis mentions a few new varieties that have been added to our website this week. We have two new sweet corn varieties, Yellowstone Sweet Corn and Eden Sweet Corn. Both of these new sweet corn varieties are known as supersweet augmented which means they have been bred with the sugary enhanced and supersweet genes. Another new variety of corn is the new Strawberry Popcorn which is great to grow with kids and to use as a Fall decoration. The Avalanche Beet is another new variety that is a white beet that has a sugary flavor profile. The last new variety is the Gold Mine Bean which is known to be the most popular and best producer of all the golden wax beans.
For the Q & A segment this week, the guys answer some viewer questions about short-day onions, top-producing butter beans, and will Mountain Vineyard tomatoes grow on a trellis. The top three short-day onion varieties that have the best storing ability is the round sweet onions and white onions. The top three from our knowledge are the Duster, Cougar, and Cirrus onions. The top-producing butter beans is the King of Garden Pole Lima bean. When growing the Mountain Vineyard tomatoes we recommend growing them on a Florida Weave trellis or with tomato cages.