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When to Plant Your Garden

Now that the weather’s warming up, we know you want to get out in the garden!

Step One:  Know your Hardiness Zone

When is the best time to plant your garden? It really depends on where you live and what you want to plant.  In the map below, you can see that the US has been divided up into hardiness zones by the USDA.These are determined by the average minimum winter temperature of that region, then divided into 10 degree F increments.

USDA Zone Map

Step Two:  Choose plants for your garden

Once you’ve determined your hardiness zone, you can decide what you want to plant.

Garden plants have different space, moisture, and sun requirements, so make sure you are choosing the best plant varieties for your zone, soil type, and garden location.

For example, cucumbers are available as vines and as bushes. If you have a small garden area, you will probably want to choose the bushy variety, since the vines can take over your whole garden and choke out other plants.

Cucumbers

Successful tomato bushes will also grow up and out, so you will want to make sure that you have room for them to grow. You can also find hanging tomato varieties, which would be helpful for an apartment or house with a small patio.

Tomatoes

Step Three:  Test your soil

There are various tables available to help you determine when to plant, but the best way to tell is to examine the soil. Squeeze a handful of soil into a ball and poke the ball with your finger.  If the ball crumbles, the soil is ready. If not, you’ll need to be patient just a bit longer before tilling or raking.

Tilling or raking helps break up the soil, controls weeds, mixes organic material into the soil, and loosens up the dirt for planting. Make sure to stay fairly shallow when tilling or raking; under 12 inches should work.

Raking Soil Tilling Soil

Looking for more detailed information? The USDA’s website breaks down the zones further here.  Also check out garden.org’s calendar, which gives you more specifics on when to plant in your zip code.

Getting your hands in the dirt is one of summer’s biggest pleasures, and we’re happy to help! Check back here throughout the spring and summer as we follow the life cycle of your food, from seedling to harvest and through fall/winter storage and canning.

Grow with us! Send us your pictures of gardening, tips for a successful garden, and questions in the comments!

 

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