Extend your growing season this spring. Simply apply these inexpensive techniques to your garden plan this spring and you will be munching on spinach and lettuce salads before your neighbors even begin planting.
Step One: Start Seeds Indoors
Begin growing seeds indoors 4 to 6 weeks before your last average frost date. Use plastic storage containers placed in a sunny window to create warm and moist microclimates for the seedlings. Start warm weather tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants from seeds indoors as well as cool weather plants like pak choy, lettuce, spinach, onions and chives. Transplant seedlings outside into warm garden beds after last chance of frost. Transplanting plants vs. direct seed sowing shortens harvest time by 2 to 4 weeks.
Step Two: Warm up the soil.
Staple 2 layers of a moisture porous black weed barrier material over raised garden beds in early spring. Black absorbs the sun’s rays and heats the soil. The weed barrier helps to retain heat; quickly warming the soil to growing temperatures (65 – 80 degrees).
Step Three: Use Frost Deterring Row Covers
One never knows when an unexpected late spring frost might pounce upon a bed of early plant seedlings. As an extra layer of protection, cover your beds with frost deterring row covers. This light material is porous allowing light and moisture in but helps keep the frost from burning your plants. Keep the covers on during the day to heat the garden soil creating a warm space for plants during the cooler nights.
Take a baby step – extend your spring growing season for greater early season harvests.