There’s nothing better than harvesting homegrown food and flowers. Even better is getting multiple successions of plants from your garden. If only there were an easier way to start your growing season off early enough for succession harvesting…
You’re in luck! There are all sorts of ways to get a head start on the growing season and to get the best germination rate among your seedlings. Even if you aren’t looking to succession harvest, you can use these tips to grow your seeds to seedlings before it’s time to get planting.
The first thing you want to do before planting anything is to make sense of your space to grow in.
The best way to ensure your garden is weed-free is to tear out everything that isn’t a winter ground cover as soon as the soil is workable. Then it will be easier to keep track of the weeds that pop up from week to week without having to fight established root systems next to your new plants.
If you are planting in containers, be sure that all organic material is pulled and that your soil is well-fertilized. This will keep your plants happy as they don’t have to compete with weeds for resources.
Aerating the soil in a garden is key for healthy root growth and is particularly helpful with growing root vegetables like potatoes and carrots. Once every couple of years we will pull out the rototiller but most years we just overturn the soil in each of the raised beds. This breaks up the soil and turns it over as a rototiller would, so stays aerated for a while.
Growing groundcover plants in the off-season can help keep down weeds and continue the growing cycle with roots breaking up the soil. Having ground cover has helped immensely in balancing our soil, though it cannot prevent weeds completely.
You can get a head start on weeding by turning your soil as soon as it is workable. It is still necessary to weed the garden as warmer weather takes over, but turning over the soil has always helped to break up what has settled over winter. I have also noticed that the beds we don’t disturb will have more weeds later on in the season.
Adding compost to your garden space is a natural alternative to using potent commercial fertilizers. A spinning composter is helpful for families looking to get started with composting their food waste. If you are looking to compost your yard waste too, a compost pile may be better for large quantities of green matter.
Adding compost is not necessary for every garden bed every year that you choose to grow. Some plants are heavier ‘feeders’ than others, meaning they use more of the nutrients in the soil they are growing in. Potatoes, tomatoes, and sunflowers. Replenishing the nutrients once part-way through the growing season and once during the off-season to help with groundcover plants.
Compost can be turned over throughout the soil or buried in a layer under the topsoil. Once your compost begins resembling soil, you can transfer it to your garden and clean out your composter.
When the soil is properly aerated and you know it is nutrient-dense, you can begin planting.
Consider how hardy your plants are and if they will require full sun, part shade, or full shade. If you are looking to start growing your seedlings earlier in the season but do not have space indoors, try this hassle-free hack to sowing seeds while there’s still frost on the ground.
Looking for more content to grow your green thumb?
Follow along with my garden bed prep and how I plan my garden under the Gardening highlight on Instagram. This gets updated each year, so be sure to check it out before the new growing season begins! If you’re visiting at the beginning of the season, the TUO Pinterest page might do you more good. Here you can find tons of photos of my garden as it progresses through the seasons via the Garden Inspiration board.