Garden Update | Getting a Head Start on Spring Gardening

By Kiersten | Last Updated: March 25, 2014

Limp Chard Leaves

Spring Seeds
Last week I cracked open my copy of Month-by-Month Gardening in the Carolinas thinking I’d make a calendar for when I should start planting different types of spring vegetables. I was patting myself on the back for being ahead of the game and then I saw that some seeds should be started in January–so, once again, I was already behind schedule. I ordered some seeds and a seed starting kit that day and this weekend I started seeds for:

  • Bleu of Solaise Leeks
  • Purple of Romagna Artichokes
  • Red Creole Onions
  • Bacalan de Rennes Cabbage
  • Giant of Italy Parsley
  • Fractal Romanesco Broccoli
  • Calabrese Green Sprouting Broccoli
  • Purple of Sicily Cauliflower
  • Long Island Improved Brussels Sprouts
  • He Shi Ko Bunching Onions

After reading the first gardening book, I found another source that said I had about a month to go to plant most of these, but a third book agreed with the first. So it was two against one. Plus, given how long it took for some of these to grow in the fall (I still have no Brussels sprouts or cabbage), I think I’m better off starting things earlier rather than later.

Spring Flat Chart
Instead of doing newspaper pots like last time, I’m using a self-watering flat stationed underneath my Aerogarden’s grow light. I will probably return to peat or newspaper pots for the summer garden, but since I’m starting these inside (and the tray needs to fit on the Aerogarden), I figured this would be less of a mess. I’m so excited for my spring garden!

That said, almost everything from fall is still hanging in there. I harvested cauliflower from each plant, so I pulled all of those since they don’t get side shoots. I also removed the largest broccoli plant because it started getting droopy and sad looking. The remaining broccoli plants are producing some small secondary heads, which we’ll probably have in curry on Friday.

Limp Chard Leaves
I have no idea what’s going on with the chard, but all of the larger leaves got droopy last week, so I cut them off. Again. It seems like as soon as I think I’m going to have some leaves big enough to eat, something happens to them! In this picture, they actually don’t look too bad–maybe we should have tried eating them?

Hailstone Radishes
I decided it was time to pull the remaining carrots, beets, and radishes from the garden because it’s been a few months since they were supposed to mature. The beets had grown about an inch tall above the ground, so not surprisingly, they produced nothing. The carrots that I had left in were tiny little nubs too. I got a few hailstone radishes which were big enough to eat, although I don’t like radishes and my husband forgot to eat them. Sigh.

So are you gearing up for your spring gardening yet? What are you going to be growing?

About Kiersten

Kiersten is the founder and editor of Oh My Veggies.

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Ahh, should I be starting them now?! Yikes! We have limited space but I am going to try radishes and Lily got two cute kids gardening kits with basil, peppers, cilantro, parsley, and more to try.

I don’t know if they have a book like this for Georgia, but I got a month-by-month gardening book for NC. It’s awesome because it tells you exactly what you need to do each month. Radishes get planted 3 weeks before the last frost, so you definitely have time on those. And I think everything else, you could start closer to summer, except maybe the parsley. Mine took FOREVER to get big.

Oh no, I’m feeling so behind! Do you think it will be an issue if I start seedlings the first week of April? Also, I know the baby beets aren’t edible, but they are really cute. 🙂

You are way north of us, so you should be fine! Find the last frost date for your area & basically, you count backwards from there. So, like onions you start 12 weeks before the last frost date, lettuce is 7 weeks–I bet your last frost is much later than ours, especially if you’re in a higher elevation too. Worst case scenario, you can buy seedlings for spring & start summer from seed. 🙂

Well, it depends what you want to grow! 🙂 You should have plenty of time for most plants. A lot of spring veggies, like radishes and carrots, don’t get planted until 3 weeks before the last frost date. But maybe you don’t even have a frost date in FL?!

I’m in North Central Florida, so we have occasional coldfronts with temperatures in the low 30s, sometimes down to the teens even. We probably only have about a month left of potentially cold weather though.

If you have a month left of cold weather, you could definitely do lettuce, peas, radishes, beets, & carrots from seed. And I think if you wanted to grow cauliflower, broccoli, and/or cabbage, you’d probably have to buy transplants because they hate warm weather so they have to mature pretty early in the spring.

I have decided I am going to save my Cats Pride kitty litter containers. Cut the top off and decorate with some of the new “decorator” duck tape and make garden containers. This will be cheaper than buying pots:) I also saw somewhere that you can use packing peanuts in the bottoms of plant containers instead of gravel or rock.

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds has some multi color hot peppers I want to order to plant in one of my container garden pots! WOW you have got me fired up about planting and it is 22 degrees outside.

That is a great idea–I love that tape! You know what else I saw? Someone just cut open bags of soil and stuck tomato plants right in them. And then they covered the plastic bag with burlap so it doesn’t look like an eyesore.

Last year I grew Hungarian Black Peppers from Baker Creek and you wouldn’t believe how many peppers I got. From one plant too! I’m sure if you get those seeds, you’ll be eating peppers all summer long. 🙂

My husband’s wanting to try out blackberries or raspberries this year but we need to get them in the ground soon. I’m a little nervous about the brambles because of the dog and kids but would love to have more fresh berries since our strawberry plants don’t produce near as much as I’d like or can eat.

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