salad, beets, asparagus, spuds: planting tips

'Rhubarb' chard seedlings int he gardenTHE GROUND HAD A FROZEN CRUST MOST MORNINGS until this week, but it’s finally time for more early things to go into the garden, besides the peas and spinach. Things like chard, above, and these:

I already sowed my first short rows of salad greens and arugula, one in the coldframe and one in open ground. The protected ones are up; I’ll repeat the modest sowings in open ground every 10 days or two weeks all season long, a little bit at a time, for a continuous bowl of greens. This is how I sow salad stuff.

My seed potatoes—which is what small potatoes for planting are called—should be arriving before long, and will go into the garden late this month. How I plant potatoes.

My asparagus bed is more than 20 years old and still providing; my neighbor’s is more than half again as old, and going strong. Impressive. I expect the first spears by late this month. How to plant asparagus.

I’ll plant beets soon as well, to insure lots of delicious beet-laden salads like this one, remember?

What are you planting?

(All my “edibles” posts are here, in case you want to browse. Or browse through the subject of growing from seed in general. Enjoy!)

  1. Leesie says:

    What are my best options to control Japanese beetle grubs in my garden?
    I just planted new sparagus crowns, should I worry about the grubs?
    Thanks for any help you can impart.

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, Leesie. For non-toxic control — but not immediate results, truth be told — you can inoculate the turf and garden soil with special nematodes or (even slower) Milky Spore. Read about all this in this old post, then follow the green links for more info. You may want to read up over on Paul Tukey’s Safe Lawns blog, including this article about voles and moles (the moles eat grubs). Or even better, this one on nematodes to tackle grubs.

  2. Judy says:

    I put my peas and potatoes in on the same weekend. Since I’m an office worker during the week, I have to do major gardening on the weekends. Excep that it has been so wet and rainy here in the Northwest that I really haven’t done much yet. Typically we plant both potatoes and peas around St. Patrick’s day. I was a week late, the peas are up, but don’t see any action in the potato bed yet.

  3. kristi says:

    We are a few zones ahead, but have planted most of the same things. This is my first year for a cold frame. How early/late can you plant in it?

    1. Margaret says:

      Hi, Kristi. Takes some experimenting, as each one is made of different materials and positioned differently so warmer/cooler. I use it all fall and again in late winter through maybe May, leaving it open much of the time at the warmer ends. Some friends have theirs dug into the ground so they use it into winter a bit, too. I can lift mine and use the ground beneath in the summer, or prop the lid all the way open (though winds can wreak havoc sometimes with that plan).

  4. Margit Van Schaick says:

    Uncovered the thyme in my elevated 4×8-foot garden beds yesterday, the second balmy day we’ve had in southern Vermont(zone 5-A). It smelled so good! The soil is cold but I was able to make furrows with my fingers–next time I go out with Physical Therapy to practice outdoor walking, will take lettuce seeds with me to sow. I am so incredibly happy to be able to do this; Oh, how I love gardening!

  5. Donna says:

    I’ve planted some peas and, best of all, the garlic that I planted at the very last minute back in November is just starting to sprout! Hurray!! :-D

  6. MichelleB says:

    Around here, in the mountains of the VA blueridge, we plant peas as soon as possible but wait til Easter weekend to plant potatoes. Anyone else follow this folk wisdom?

  7. Michele in Salem says:

    I planted lettuce and spinach a few days ago. I see Rhubarb poking through and I’m checking the asparagus bed every day!

  8. jenndon says:

    Hi! I live in N. Fla and have planted tomatoes, different kinds of basil, mint (in pots) and thyme. Also have lots of seedlings of cosmos (love them) and zinnias ready to transplant into my garden.

  9. Rachelle says:

    Easter is so late this year, Michelle B. I might be pushing a bit here in zone 4, but lots of times we have snow on potatoes, and some of mine are in. I planted out some spinach transplants, and seeded radishes and some lettuce. I think my flat-leaved Italian parsley survived the winter– a pleasant surprise!

  10. Juanita says:

    We’re just going into Winter now here in SA. I have a courtyard edible garden in pots and crates, as the soil in my aesthetic garden is not vegetable-from-seed friendly at all.
    I have a modest crop of turnips which I grew from seed, which will be ready for harvest with some care in a month or two.
    My basil has been monstrous, but will soon succumb to approaching frost. I am always loathe to pull it out when it has grown in one season from seed and served me so well, but better to make one last batch of basil pesto than to lose it to the elements. My tray of chives should survive in my small greenhouse.
    The chillies, rosemary, oreganum, thyme, flat leaf parsley and crated chives will all have to fend for themselves though, so we’ll see how it goes.

  11. stone says:

    I’ve been picking lots of lambsquarter, chenopodium giganteum…
    The turnips and rutabagas are big patches of yellow… the butterflies are happy…
    the beet and carrot plants are tiny, and the spring peas are just feeding the rabbits… nuthin to eat but the weeds… But they are good!

  12. dr. p says:

    i live in eastern sicily–at the base of mt. etna, in the province of catania. this is my first sicilian (mostly container) garden experience after gardening for 3 1/2 years on the Puget Sound in Western WA.
    Our last frost was awhile ago and it’s been warming up quite nicely. I’ve plenty of flower seedlings already in action–zinnia, cosmos, morning glory, english daisies…and a bunch more.
    I’ve also planted sugar snap peas, arugula, mesclun mix, italian lettuce varieties, nasturtiums, coriander, fennel, chives, italian ‘yellow ring’ beans, peppers, cukes, tomatoes. Almost have sprouted and then some! Round Two will be more hot weather type veggies…
    The growing season is nice and long here. Can’t wait for my first Sicilian grown pomodori!

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, Dr. P. Sicily! How fantastic that sounds. And as you say homegrown tomato sauce from the Sicilian soil…sounds divine. :)

      Welcome, Stone. All those goodies means you are a very good advance-planner! I am impressed. (And apparently so are the pollinators.)

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, Steve. Love chard. Can’t wait ti start having a homegrown crop of it again here, and it lasts well into fall; pretty tough even in my cold zone.

  13. Jayne says:

    And they’re off! Like race horses….we begin! Thank you for link to your edibles. Maybe I will find some help there. I am the last horse, as always. I’ve started my seeds, but I still don’t have a rotation plan for my 9 raised beds!!! That is what April does to me – I feel like I’m racing and I know where the finish is, but I’ve got NO PLAN how to get there!

  14. Brook Penick says:

    We just built three more raised beds this past weekend – now we have seven. They’re filled with beautiful topsoil and I can’t wait to get out there this week and start digging. I’ve started lots of seeds inside, but am already worrying about losing my squash to those wretched borers! It has happened every year and I don’t know what to do about it. Any thoughts?

    Since we just finished the new beds, I’ll be planting peas this week (coastal Virginia) and hope I’m not too late. Potatoes will go in as well, and I love the idea of hilling them with straw. I’m going to try that this time because I don’t have extra dirt anywhere to use.

    Jenndon, I dedicate one whole raised bed to zinnias! We can sow directly in the soil here with wonderful results. They really give you a lot of bang for your buck and nothing makes a prettier arrangement. Plus, the more you cut, the more they grow! Love ’em!

  15. gail says:

    In middle illinois I have already sowed numerous types of plants. My peas, 5 types of lettuce, radishes, spinach and carrots are all up. Can’t wait until the middle of May to plant green peppers and tomatoes.
    I have tried planting asperagus twice, but I think my location is too wet in the early spring and my asperagus rots. Planning on trying again this year with a raised bed.

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, Gail. My peas and salad things (the first sowing of those) and spinach are in, but going so slowly. Very cold here still most days; frost last night. The raised bed plan sounds smart, and it’s worth it…what a great perennial vegetable to have. Enjoy, and see you soon.

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