It's time to plan your vegetable garden for the season - which may be one of the most fun things we gardeners do! Plan out your beds, start seeds, and plan for succession growing to get the most from your garden as you can. Plus a new free online garden planner that may help you plan, too.
Do you enjoy planning your vegetable garden as much as I do? Next to sipping tea on a cold January day while circling the vegetables and flowers I want to grow for the season, planning where - and when - to plant those seeds is my favorite activity.
Why? Because it's still that fun dream time when the garden is perfect - no bugs, ground squirrels, or late frosts to ruin your efforts. You get to pick where you'll fit in all the things you want to grow. Plus, the neat boxes and rows on the plan look so tidy and if you've gardened before you know that doesn't last long in real life, lol.
So I thought I'd share with you what you can plant in the spring, a garden tour of what our farmhouse raised bed vegetable garden looks like in late winter and my vegetable plan for the coming gardening year.
First, what are the best veggies to plant in spring?
Here are the vegetables that do best planted out in spring:
- Peas - snow, snap, and English peas (sow directly in ground 4-6 weeks before your last frost date - find your frost dates here).
- Spinach (sow directly 4-6 weeks before last frost date).
- Radishes (sow directly 4-6 weeks before last frost date).
- Lettuce (sow directly 2 weeks before last frost or when your soil temp is 40-55 degrees - TIP: I like to start some seeds indoors 4-6 weeks before the last frost date and set them out as transplants at the same time I lay the first seed, giving a staggered harvest).
- Carrots (sow directly 2 weeks before last frost and keep sowing every two weeks through June for a season long harvest).
- Beets (sow directly 2-3 weeks before last frost - can also be succession planted like carrots).
- Kale and Chard (sow 2-3 weeks before last frost or start indoors 6 weeks before - they tend to do better for me as transplants).
- Broccoli (can sow 2 weeks before last frost, but it's best to start indoors 8 weeks before and transplant out at the last frost date).
- Cabbage (same as broccoli).
- Onions - seeds, sets, and/or transplants (I usually plant sets and transplants, as I haven't had much luck in my area sowing seed directly).
When should you plant your vegetable garden in spring?
As you can see from above, the last frost date calendar is your friend here. You'll want to start the seeds indoors that you need 4-8 weeks before that date, depending on the variety. Then direct sow the vegetables you can plant when the ground can be worked 2-4 weeks before.
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Early Spring Raised Bed Vegetable Garden Tour
Quite a bit has happened in the farmhouse vegetable garden since I last shared it with you. And the layout has been tweaked since detailing the first plans of this space here. So I thought I'd give a little tour of the bones of the garden before planting to show how it's coming together.
We had to fence the main garden area because of deer, but there are a few beds outside the fenced area I will be planting things the deer don't like (as much, ha!), plus some herbs and flowers.
The area you see above is to the right of the gate leading to the main garden and the rock bed will hold asparagus. There is a matching bed across from it where I'll plant onions (see the garden plan for details).
The metal beds hold strawberries and I will be planting blueberries this year.
This bed is to the right of the gate and I'll be planting a couple smaller artichokes and a rhubarb here plus a few flowers deer tend to leave alone like marigold and nicotiana.
Notice the watering system spigots? All these beds are connected to our DIY automatic watering system - I'm SO looking forward to less watering chores now that everything is set up!
Welcome to the main part of our low maintenance raised bed vegetable garden! The beds are made either from rot-resistant boards using this method or from the many rocks we find on our property. Most of the paths are finished now, covered in cardboard and wood chips.
Each of the beds, even the smallest rock beds, have a spigot that will attach a soaker hose to the automatic watering system so that once it's planted, it will almost take care of itself.
Leaving us time to sit on our broken concrete patio and enjoy the view! Well, a girl can dream, right?
You can see above where I stopped with the cardboard and wood chips - so there's still plenty of work to do to cover that weedy gravel.
The view above is from the west corner looking east and shows the Triple Crown thornless blackberry bed and raspberry bed in the upper right corner, the long broken concrete ("urbanite") bed that will hold flowering shrubs the deer eat like hydrangeas, and two of the long narrow beds that grew tomatoes last year using the cattle panel-zip tie staking method.
This year the beds will hold pole beans and cucumbers and the other two narrow beds will host the tomatoes.
This view from the east corner gives you more of an overview of the garden beds. One day we hope to turn that garden shed into a little cottage with windows and a door into the fenced garden. Won't that look cute?
2020 Vegetable Garden Plan with VegPlotter
In order to share my vegetable garden plan easily with you this year I tried a new-to-me free online garden planner. It did take more time to set up than I thought, and I still like having my paper plan in the Garden Notebook Journal for easy reference, but this is a nice way to show the overall plan.
It's called VegPlotter and you just sign up for a free account, watch the couple of quick tutorial videos (it's easiest to go to their You Tube page to see them all), plug in your garden's measurements and start planning.
Sadly, they don't have any flowers available to plug in - that's what will be in the center of the round rock wall garden, the long planter (along with the pumpkins), and spaced throughout. I'll also grow sunflowers around and have some in the beds outside of the fenced area.
I've rotated all the crops and won't be trying sweet corn this year after last year's dismal production. And hopefully with the ground squirrels under control I'll be able to harvest some lettuce this year, though building some chicken wire covers is still on the to-do list.
I'll also be adding blueberries to the metal beds, one or two bin potatoes, and a grape to grow over the arbor (still to be built...) at the gate.
The slightly oval shaped area of rocks is supposed to represent our broken concrete coffee patio. I can't wait to add a few chairs out there when the warm weather hits and have tea at least a few times enjoying the garden and the view.
What will you be growing this year?
Looking to start a garden or make gardening easier?
Then you'll want to grab my Gardening The Easy Way ebook - it's full of tips and tricks to grow what you want without all the backbreaking work!
Make This Year's Garden A Success!