When it comes to planting you need to first know what you want to harvest and then decide if you are going to raise the crop from seed or start with plants. Seeds are obviously cheaper, but some seeds are harder to grow. I will split this post into two categories; seeds (what I plan to plant directly into the garden as seeds) and plants (what I plan to put into the garden as a plant). Most of the planting needs to be done after the fear of frosts which for me is between mother’s day and Memorial Day. There are some colder weather crops which can be planted earlier which for me include lettuce, spinach, and onions.
Potatoes – Yokon Gold
Potatoes store well over the winter and are an easy food crop to grow, they do require a lot of space, and need open, sunny areas. Buy potatoes from a garden store not a grocery store they spray their potatoes to stop them from sprouting. You can get several seed potatoes out of each potato by cutting them into pieces, make sure each piece has at least two eyes. One option for planting potatoes is to plant them in trenches or holes in long rows. The rows need to be spaced 15 to 20 inches apart. Dig the trenches or holes 3 to 6 inches deep and place the seed potatoes about 11 to 14 inches apart. Cover the potatoes with at least 1 inch of soil. As the plants grow, mound the earth up around the shoots.
The first decision with sweet corn is what type to plant. Sweet corn has three kernel color varieties: yellow, white and bi-color (yellow and white). It also comes in three types: normal sweet, the sugary enhanced and the supersweet type. If you plan to grow more than one variety remember that cross-pollination between normal sugary and supersweet varieties can happen in the same field resulting in reduced quality for each type. To prevent this from happening make sure that the seeds have varying maturity dates so that they will not blossom at the same time. It is best to plant blocks of corn to ensure better pollination. I like to plant in rows at least 24 inches apart corn needs room, plant seeds 1-2 inches deep and 12-14 inches apart.
Carrots are a hardy addition to any vegetable garden and can be stored for months after harvesting. Make sure you have thoroughly prepared the soil for planting, working to a depth of 8 inches to allow the roots to penetrate the soil easily. The seeds are very small and should be planted 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep and covered lightly with soil. Plant about two to three carrot seeds per inch, placing seeds in uniform rows. Space rows of carrots 12 to 18 inches apart. Mark rows accordingly so that they are visible prior to germination. You may also want to label row markers if you are planting several varieties.
The easiest lettuce to grow is loose leaf, the leaves grow in rosettes and do not form into a head. Loose leaf comes in red, bronze and green, and it matures much faster than other types of lettuce. It produces several harvests in a growing season. Plant lettuce in the ground about two weeks prior to the last expected frost. Seeds germinate at 35 to 55 degrees F. You can also plant lettuce again in the fall because lettuce is not tolerant of hot temperatures. It does tolerate light frosts and thrives in temperatures from 45 to 65 degrees. Plant seeds at a depth of 1/4 to 1/2 inch in rows 10-12 inches apart. Water thoroughly but be sure not to dislodge any seeds
Spinach is packed with nutrients – it’s rich in vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients that can help fight cancers and promote good cardiovascular health. Spinach is a cool-weather leafy green plant that grows best in neutral soil. Grow from seed directly in the garden, because of its shallow roots, spinach doesn’t transplant well. Plant seeds at a depth of 1/4 to 1/2 inch in rows 10-12 inches apart.
Onions are a cool-weather crop and frequently the first vegetables in the garden ready for harvest. I like to grow my onions from bulbs, also known as sets. Onion sets have a higher success rate than seeds and require less time to mature. Prepare a planting bed; I like rows, for the onion sets in full sun. Walk on the planting site in late March to compact the soil slightly. Dig holes in the soil large enough to accommodate an onion set. Space the holes about 4 inches apart and space the rows 1 foot apart. Place an onion set in each hole with the neck pointed up. Fill the hole with soil so that only the tip of the neck is visible above the soil. Give the onions 1 to 2 inches of water per week. The less water they get the hotter the onion!
Peppers – Sweet banana, Red, Yellow, and Green
Bell peppers require warm weather, plenty of bright sun and lots of moisture if they’re to grow and thrive. Space rows 12 – 18 inches apart with 18 inches between plants.
I plant two kinds’ of tomatoes, cherry tomatoes for salads and canning tomatoes for making salsa. Space rows 30” apart with 24 inches between plants.
I plant all my vines in the same plot in hills 5-6 feet apart.
Pickling cucumbers, Cucumbers, Water Melon, Cantaloupe, Pumpkins.