Month-by-Month Guide to Vegetable Gardening
The bottom line: While it’s too early to actually start planting most vegetables, there are tasks you can take on inside and outside.
Finish up your seed orders. When the seeds arrive, read the instructions on the packets and make a chart of what date to start each variety, working backward from the last frost date for your area. Germination rates—how long it takes a plant to go from seed to the first sign of leaves—vary, and in order to have the little guys ready to plant, you must start them at the right time. To keep your information straight, write down your ideal planting day for each one on a Post-It, stick it to the individual packets, and organize the seeds in chronological order in a card file.
To prep for seed starting, hit the stores and stock up on enough of the right growing mix, seed trays, and peat pots (or whatever other method you plan to use).
Make sure you have the necessary tools; fill in any gaps in your collection and clean and sharpen the tools you already own. The essentials: a round-headed shovel, a garden spade and fork, a scuffle hoe, a dirt rake, a bypass pruner, a trowel, a garden thermometer, and a wheelbarrow. Gloves and—c’mon, you know you love ’em—garden shoes complete the list.
Outside: If the ground is workable, plant bare root perennial vegetables like asparagus, artichoke, horseradish, and rhubarb.
Inside: Start seeds for cool-season vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, kale, lettuce, spinach, and onions.