Looking out my window on Easter Sunday, I don’t expect to see the ground completely snow-covered and very few signs of spring to be found anywhere. The calendar tells us that spring is here but Mother Nature isn’t cooperating just yet.
There are a few signs of spring around if you look closely. Maple sap harvest is in full swing. Some of the spring bulbs planted close to the house on the south and west sides have started to crack the ground (don’t worry about these plants getting hurt by the cold temperatures this week; they will bounce back when the warmer weather returns).
There isn’t a lot for gardeners to do outside just yet, but there are still plenty of things we can do to get ready for May. Many of us still have to plan what we want to plant and where we want to plant it. Today we will concentrate on vegetable gardens.
Right now you are probably saying, “Why go to the trouble of planting any vegetables? They are too much trouble and I can buy them pretty cheap.” The main reason is that when you grow your own, you control how they are grown and what—if any—chemicals are used on them.
Now that I have your attention, let me tell you that you don’t have to plant a 40-acre garden to provide your family with fresh safe vegetables all summer long. A 20-foot by 40-foot garden can give you more than enough fresh vegetables for a family of four all year long. Planting certain crops early and replanting late crops after you harvest the early ones will help you increase your harvest.
Planting vegetables in containers for your patio is an easy way to enjoy fresh vegetables all summer long with only a small time commitment. Tomato plants are great for the patio; pick varieties that are determinant or bush. You can also plant peppers, bush cucumbers, pole beans and many other varieties. Herb containers are a great addition to any patio, there is nothing like cooking with fresh herbs right from your own pot.
Now is the time to start planning what to plant. Look at what your family likes to eat, pay attention to what fresh vegetables are costing you in the grocery store, and the time and cost of planting your own will seem pretty reasonable in comparison. Hang in there, spring is on the way, it just got a little detoured; probably road construction.