Plant

– WHEN TO START –

You can typically begin planting a few crops by seed as early as April 15.  Some vegetables are better planted as transplants or starts, these should wait to be planted in May or early June, depending on the weather. 

Follow the instructions for when to plant each crop as listed on the ‘Madison Planting Time Chart

– SEEDING IN ROWS –

To plant seeds in rows, use a hoe or trowel to dig a trench at the depth the seeds are to be planted according to the instructions on the seed packet or the ‘Madison Planting Time Chart.  Follow the instructions for spacing and drop seeds evenly into the trench.  Then cover the seeds with soil using your hands or the back of a rake or hoe.  Lightly pack the soil around the seeds to ensure good seed to soil contact and eliminate large air pockets, then water the seeds in.

– SEEDING IN HILLS –

Seeds will most often be planted in rows, however, some crops, like squash, cucumbers or melons can be planted in hills. To plant seeds in hills, create mounds of soil to the desired size, then create holes in the top of the hill following spacing instructions, and drop one seed in each hole, firm the soil around the seeds and water in.

– SOAK THE SEEDS –

To speed up germination, you can soak larger seeds—like peas, pumpkins, squash, and sweet corn—in water for an hour or so before planting.

– PLANT MORE THAN YOU NEED –

Normally, you’ll be instructed to sow seeds thicker than needed because some may not survive the tender stages following germination. You will later need to thin plants for optimal growth and production. Most crops should be thinned soon after sprouting.

– THIN IT OUT –

One of the most common gardening mistakes is not thinning plants early on so they are properly spaced. Thin most crops soon after sprouting or as soon as the first true leaves appear. You can delay thinning some crops until you can eat them, like beets and turnips grown for greens, chard, leaf lettuce, mustard, onions from sets, and spinach.

– KEEP THE SOIL MOIST –

Keep soil surface moist until germination by watering every 2-3 days in absence of rain.  After seeds germinate, you may need to water weekly until plants are well established. 

– BUY TRANSPLANTS –

Purchase transplants at a local garden center or farmer’s market when you are ready to plant them in May or early June, depending on the planting time instructions for each crop. Keep them watered until you are ready to plant them in the garden.  

– PLANTING TRANSPLANTS –

Lay the plants out where you plan to plant them, following spacing instructions.  Dig a hole slightly larger than the pot, then carefully remove the plant from the pot.  If the roots are tightly bound, gently tease the roots apart, or use a cutting tool to cut through some of the roots to encourage roots to grow outward.  Place the plant in the hole and firm the soil around the roots. 

– KEEP IT LEVEL –

For most plants you want the top of the roots to be level with the soil surrounding it.  Burying the plant deeper than this can kill the plant.

However, crops like tomatoes, peppers or eggplants will grow roots from their stems if you remove the lower leaves and bury the plant deeper, resulting in a stronger, healthier plant.

– MULCH IS YOUR FRIEND –

If you are using mulch, you can now place it around the new seedlings to help retain soil moisture, and water the plants thoroughly. 

– WATER –

In dry weather, newly planted starts may need water every few days until deeper roots are established. 

LEARN MORE

There is a wealth of information available around the web. We have gathered some of it here and encourage you to use the links below to gain additional insights as to how to be succesful in your garden. 

WHAT ARE FLOATING ROW COVERS?

Floating row covers are really cool

Check out this great resource for more information

Floating row cover

WHEN SHOULD I START PLANTING

Click the link below and follow the instructions for when to plant each crop.

Madison Planting Time Chart

HOW DO I GROW SALAD GREENS?

Click the link below and follow the instructions for how to grow salad greens

Growing Salad Greens

HOW DO I START PLANTS FROM SEED?

Click the link below and follow the instructions for how to start plants from seed

Starting plants from seed