A Look Ahead at Spring Gardening

Sunflowers, August 2007, © Copyright 2008 Jade Leone Blackwater

The above image shows the southern-most corner of our garden in August 2007.  As you can see our giant sunflowers were in their finest blossoms last August, attended daily by bees and birds from sunup to sundown. 

The equinox is still six weeks away, and those months will be cold for many of us in the Northern Hemisphere.  Don’t let the lingering cold months fool you: now is the time to begin planning your spring, summer, and autumn plantings, and to begin seedlings for tomatoes and peppers indoors.  (If the soil is soft enough, this can also be a great time to prep soil with compost or wood ash, and pull out stubborn root balls.)

Sleeping Garden, January 2008, © Copyright 2008 Jade Leone Blackwater 

My garden in Chester County, Pennsylvania will soon see enough warmth to begin germinating seeds in the cold frame.  Once that happens, I’ll be sowing carrots, radishes, cilantro (coriander) lettuce, spinach, onions, and a few others.  I like to select vegetables that are easy to grow, and that suit our tastes and cooking habits.

Arugula, January 2008, © Copyright 2008 Jade Leone Blackwater 

Fortunately we have a major arugula patch thanks to its wonderful proliferative qualities, so I won’t need to grow any in the cold frame.  The arugula and sorrel have been happy to overwinter in the main garden.  As you can see in these pictures, the cold freezes and snows wilt and kill the outer leaves, while the center of the plant remains vibrant and alive.  As soon as things warm up the plants will grow a fresh set of small leaves, and voilà – fresh salad!

Garden Sorrel, January 2008, © Copyright 2008 Jade Leone Blackwater

With any extra room in my cold frame, I may see how early I can get jalapeños to start from seed.  I’ve been told that the cold spring months are the perfect time to grow a “salsa garden.”  I promise delicious salsa images and ideas here at AppleJade this summer.

If you want to get started with a cold frame this season, but don’t have the time or means to build one, here are a few places to get you started:

Seeds of Change is a great place to find organic and heirloom seed varieties.  They also offer gardening supplies, including their Collapsible Coldframe and Deluxe Coldframe.

Planet Natural also offers a variety of heirloom seeds, and many natural gardening supplies and pest controls.  They offer Single Cold Frame and Double Cold Frame kits.   

To learn more about using (and building) cold frames I recommend you explore the book Four Season Harvest by Eliot Coleman.  Once I get started with planting my cold frame, I’ll be sharing step-by-step pictures at AppleJade with ideas for your own gardens.  Have a question, idea, or suggestion?  Leave me a comment, or contact me!

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4 Responses

  1. Your garden area looks so great! Look forward to reading more as the weather warms up and so the earth….

    I have not had much experience as a gardener but what I did have was so relaxing and inspiring. It’s no wonder gardening is incredibly popular. A way for people to get back to basics and to grow some wonderful, healthy food at the same time.

  2. […] Blackwater presents A Look Ahead at Spring Gardening posted at AppleJade, saying, “I write a blog about natural health and wellness including […]

  3. […] line of my yard.  These sunflowers are the progency of my Pennsylvania garden including both the giant and the shorter, red […]

  4. […] dominated the scene all around the yard this year.  We collected almost all the seeds from our Pennsylvania sunflowers, and those seeds waited patiently from 2007 to be planted here in western Washington this year and […]

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