Raised bed garden, lasagna garden, year round garden and whatever your zone, these tips for “later spring” gardens will work for you. Simply adjust up or down as many weeks as you need to account for your last frost date for your area. I’m in zone five, so if you’re in zone ten, you’ll need to do quite a bit of adjusting, fyi. I’m also including my review of The Organic Canner, by Daisy Luther, in this post because this book helped inspire me to make more concrete growing plans in the garden this year. I know I want to make some of her recipes and put them up, so I’m figuring out what and how much to plant.
To review what to do in the Early Spring Garden, please visit our previous post in this series: Raised Bed Gardens: What to do in Early Spring. One of the best books I’ve used to keep track of what I should be doing each month for the garden is linked below. It has space to pencil in your dates so that you can use it like a workbook all year round.
What to do in the later spring garden
- If soil is workable, direct sow carrot, beet, leaf lettuce, spinach, green onion, mustard and carrots into raised bed or any prepared bed
- If leaf lettuce, onion, Brassicas and leeks were started indoors earlier, begin to harden off for planting
- Build raised beds and fill with soil medium of choice – I use compost, manure, peat moss and vermiculite
- Start tomatoes and basil seed indoors – Planning to try the ketchup recipe from The Organic Canner this year; the one I tried last year was only mediocre and Daisy’s looks awesome
- Plant potatoes in trenches or potato towers
- Divide rhubarb crowns if crowded
- Start weeding – save for green manure, put in your compost or feed to your animals (check poisonous plants lists to make sure it is safe)
A Word on Freeze vs. Frost
A light frost will leave frozen dew on your plants; a hard freeze the entire plant, leaving it dead (or mostly dead). You may still need some frost/freeze protection even on hardy crops if our temps go really low again or stay below freezing for awhile. You can use something as fancy as Agribon or as simple as an inverted milk jug. Other ideas – Wall-o-water, blanket, clay pot, cloche, Mason jar.
- Direct sow peas, onion, lettuce, carrots etc if you didn’t get around to it last month – possibly sweet corn if the soil is warm enough
- The Organic Canner has a surprise for your carrot canning this year – how about Carrots with Honey? Yes, please.
- Sow indoors squash, melon, cucumber
- Plant bare root strawberries
- Watch outdoor crops for cutworms – use collars – watch for other pests, too
- Hill growing potatoes
- Being harvesting rhubarb and asparagus (unless 1st year plants because they will need to establish root systems)
- If danger of hard frost has passed, prune your roses. If unsure, look to see if forsythia is blooming – that’s how your grandma knew it was time to start on the roses.
Frost Date? What’s a Frost Date?
What do we say in Utah? “Never plant before Mother’s Day!” Why? Because that’s about the date of the last spring frost – or the date with the highest, earliest probability of being the last spring frost. For more about frost dates and gardening zones wherever you live, please visit this post. To learn more about succession planting, or planting the same crop over several weeks, please visit this post. Go to http://tinyurl.com/b7mjop to the NOAA; click on your state and the read the table to find the data closest to where you live.
- If you didn’t tempt fate and plant your first crop of bush beans last month, do it now
- Direct sow anise, chervil, cilantro, dill, okra, pole beans, sweet corn if didn’t do earlier and re-sow bush beans if the first batch failed
- Set out transplants of melon, squash, cuke, tomato, pepper, eggplant, basil
- The weirdest recipe I’ve ever seen is the one in The Organic Canner for British “Branston Pickles” and I so want to try it! From carrots to cauliflower, to apples and zukes, this recipe has everything but the kitchen sink – I’m planning out my garden with this one in mind…
- Cover Brassicas with floating row covers to prevent white flies and aphids
- Mulch all transplants and strawberries
- Weed – are any of them edible? You may want to turn those weeds into dinner or use the recipe in The Organic Canner for Dandelion jam
- Hill potatoes again
- Keep an eye on those bugs
- Harvest rhubarb, asparagus, early greens, garlic scapes, strawberries, baby carrots, snow peas
- Think ahead and stake or cage any plant that will need it
- In areas vacated by earlier crops, sow summer squash, carrot, turnip, leaf lettuce
If you’d like some ideas on how to plan the garden this year while including your kiddos, please visit our Farm Sprouts post on the topic by visiting this link.
Review of The Organic Canner
I have several canning books and I like them all for various reasons. Daisy sent me a copy of The Organic Canner in exchange for an honest review, so here it goes. I liked the simplicity of this book. Some canning books intimidate me, I’ll admit. For one thing, they say all over the place that if you don’t do everything right, you’re going to die. While there is a potential risk of serious food poisoning and you do need to do everything as correctly as possible, Daisy didn’t make me feel like she was assuming my failure. She gives very practical advice for learning to can, which equipment is appropriate to use, and then launches into the great recipes. She essentially says, “Use your head and don’t mess up by being dumb. Now let’s can wholesome food. ” I dig it.
The other thing I like about the recipes in this book is that they’re interesting and made with quality ingredients. I’m excited to try several combinations I hadn’t thought of before. Another thing that really inspired me about her book is that she extols the virtues of canning meals – stews, stroganoff, Sloppy Joe mix, soups. I’ve read those recipes before, of course, as they’re in a lot of canning books. However, for whatever reason, I was ready to listen to Daisy who tells me that they’re a practical way to save time and money for the busy home cook. Maybe it’s just that I’m busier than I ever have been before and I’m looking for anything that will help me create healthy meals for my family is record time.
The Organic Canner also has a section on canning nuts. No joke.
The text is easy to read, the hand drawn graphics are sweet and engaging and I think this would be a great book for new and seasoned canners alike. The Organic Canner would make a great wedding gift for the budding cook, gardener or prepper!
To begin your gardening and canning adventures, you may need these fine products: