Planting seeds too early or too late can complicate the
process. Beginners should stick close to these dates. Seeds
planted too early can outgrow their pots before the weather
warms, those planted too late won't be ready to transplant
and will miss valuable growing time outside.
Early March: Brassicas like broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage
Mid March: Peppers and eggplants
Late March: Tomatoes
Early April: Melons, squash, and cucumbers, though these
can also be sown directly into the ground later in the
Read the directions on the seed packets. Check for directions
on seed prep, some will need to be scored, chilled, or
soaked. The packet will also give instructions on when to
plant inside or direct sow outside, based on the last frost. Our
frost free date is May 9.
Fill your containers with soil, leaving a half inch of space at
the top of the container. Tamp down the soil, water until it's
uniformly moist, then let it drain. Press the seeds into the
containers. Fine seeds generally sit on top of the soil, larger
seeds can be covered with soil. Seed depth should be one
to two times the width of the seed. Gently water the seed.
The best way to water is to soak the containers, allowing the
soil to wick up the water from below. When the soil is moist,
remove the containers from water and allow them to drain.
Don't forget to label your plants!
Planting Choose a warm spring day to plant. A few days of overcast weather will help transplanted seedlings adjust to their new home. Sun and wind can be hard on tender seedlings. Planting in the afternoon will also help transition seedlings. Rake soil up in mounds to create rows or beds of loose soil for the seeds and seedlings.
Spacing Refer to the spacing on the seed packet or plant label. Keep plants far enough away from each other to allow air to circulate between plants, but close enough to shade out weeds later in the season.
Seeding or Transplanting The following plants grow well when sown directly into the ground. Seeds should be planted in the ground at a depth two to three times their width. Water after sowing: Corn, peas, beans, squash, melons, pumpkins, spinach, carrots, beets, radishes, turnips, kohlrabi. These plants grow the best when planted as seedlings, whether started indoors or purchased from a nursery. Press soil around the base gently and water in to get rid of air pockets around the roots: Tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, cabbage, broccoli, brussels sprouts, onions.
Choosing a Container
Good drainage is essential. Choose a material that works best
with your site and the needs of the plant. Clay wicks excess
water, glazed pottery and plastic hold onto water, and metal
retains heat and water. See the reverse for plants by container
Most vegetables need 6+ hours of sun to produce well. Leafy
greens, radishes, beets, peas, and some herbs can produce
with 4 hours of sun.
Use a light, soilless potting mix (not garden soil or top soil!)
to insure good drainage. Our favorites are Baccto or organic
Use your finger to check the moisture content of the top
few inches of soil before watering, and water thoroughly
when dry. Water in the morning, and avoid watering foliage
to prevent fungus problems. Consistent watering in the heat
of the summer is especially important for container-grown
vegetables. Remember that containers on concrete will get
much hotter than containers on grass or wood.
Tomatoes, peas, pole beans, and vining cucumbers need
support to grow vertically. We like using tomato cages that fit
directly into the pot.