It's late winter in the PNW and time to get some garden seeds and get ready to sow some spring things! Sowing seeds directly into the garden into prepared soil is called direct seeding. Some crops do best when seeded directly into the garden, versus getting transplanted, including all root crops.
Prepare your garden beds:
Get a soil test! (check with your local conservation district - see resources below)
Why test your soil? If you are unsure what nutrients your soil needs - prior to adding nutrients that could run off and contaminate ground water and local streams
Cut cover crops at soil surface and chop into soil using a shovel. This may take repeating as roots may continue to grow.
Add 1/2" to 1" of fresh compost to surface
Let soil rest for a couple of weeks before seeding/transplanting in - time for the cover crop to decompose (aka green manure)
What to sow in early to mid March:
Peas - snap & snow varieties
Lettuces & salad greens (arugula)
Onions (choose intermediate or long day varieties)
What to sow beginning mid March:
Potatoes* - get your seed potatoes and plan to plant around St Patrick's Day!
Herbs: Chamomile, Feverfew
What to sow early to mid April:
Carrots* (germination is best when soil temps are over 50 degrees)
Parsnip* (germination temps same as carrots)
*Direct seed only – typical of root crops that don’t like their roots disturbed.
Succession Planting: Staggering the timing of seeding a crop by at least a couple of weeks will allow for prolonged harvests of your favorite crops!
Crops that work well for succession plantings:
Lettuce (choose different varieties and colors)
Cilantro (bolts quickly)
Carrots (at least two successions) - they hold in the soil during the colder months so not as important for over wintered crops
Transplanting out beginning in April (depending on average last frost date)
Check your average last frost date! These crops can soon be planted from hardened off starts:
Lettuces, greens (however it's best to direct seed these)
Cabbage family: kale, cabbage, broccoli
Onions (starts or sets)
Season Extension: Use row cover fabric (link in resources below) to cover early season plantings and protect from light frosts, pests and critters.
Cedar Grove Organics (also available as bagged and bulk at Sky Nursery, Shoreline)
Row Cover Fabric:
Local nursery or online - can be loosely placed directly over plants and soil, hold down with rocks or soil at edges
Plant Enough to Share
Remember to always plant enough to share. Plan for some losses (twenty-five percent or so) due to pests, plant health, etc. and also plan to plant some to share with your neighbors or local food bank.
Please contact Marni with any questions or for more information about garden consulting or coaching.
Happy spring gardening!