Spring sowing and planting in the vegetable patch

Rows of lettuce and radish sowed and planted in a spring vegetables patch.

Spring is a busy season for planting and sowing, busy as in “buzzy” since bees and insects have joined the show in the vegetable patch!

You need to clean, sow, repot, transplant, and more if you want to harvest any vegetables during the high season.

The weather and your location both play a major part in timing the sowing for each variety. Luckily, there are a few basic guidelines that are common to almost every planting zone.

Here’s a calendar with the steps on what to plant when.

In March and April, clean everything up and sow in the warmest spots

March is the best time to clean the vegetable patch up. Spade to break the soil up and eliminate weeds, add organic fertilizer to enrich the soil.

Now is also the time to hoe and run the cultivator along the growing beds. The goal is to upend the crust that might have formed over the winter. Prime vegetables can be sown under a cold frame, in a greenhouse, in plastic growing tunnels or other devices to ensure a decent amount of shelter. Carrot, radish, cabbage, onion, green pea, etc. will be ready for harvest as early as May!

In warmer indoor settings, like your kitchen windowsill or a heated greenhouse, you can start sowing summer vegetable seeds: eggplant, cucumber, tomato, bell pepper, leek

April and May, repotting and planting

In April, the soil warms up and risks of freezing have subsided. You may sow directly in the ground your nasturtiums, ipomoea, lupines and nigella to decorate the vegetable patch and attract beneficial insects. These also serve as decoys that draw pests like large white away from your harvest crops.

Depending on the ground temperature, sow your vegetables.

  • spinachonion and radish appreciate soil that is 45 to 50°F (8 to 10°C).
  • carrot, chicory, cabbage, lettuce and peas prefer 50 to 55°F (10 to 12°C).
  • If the soil is too cold, germination pauses, so you’ll simply have to wait it out.

In May, the ground is warm enough at 60 to 68°F (15 to 20°C) to welcome transplanted seedlings and nursery pot-bought celery, pickle, bean, tomato, cucumber, zucchini, bell pepper and melon.

Growing tips

When planning out your vegetable garden, don’t over-estimate yourself, especially if you haven’t got much time to dedicate to gardening. Adapt the size of your vegetable patch to the needs of your family.

  • Usually, a cultivated surface of 200 to 250 square yards or meters is more than enough for a family of four (two adults and two children).

Stage your sowing in time. Only plant a small number of seeds for any given species at two-week intervals. This is the best way to eat fresh vegetables, simply harvesting the mature fruits as they take turns ripening.

Also, in order to reduce the number of treatments you might need to apply, select varieties that are hybrid. These were bred to resist diseases (F1 class). Lastly, ensure that your planting rows are spacious enough for all your plants to thrive.

Laure Hamann