Sow what?

Sow what you like, that’s what!

Early spring is a great time to sow vegetable or flower seeds outside in raised beds or container gardens. Raised beds and/or containers enable the soil to warm faster so you can sow earlier. If you want to double-check that your soil is ready, use a soil or compost thermometer to make sure it is in the germination range of the plants you want to grow.

RB3Lots of people now have raised beds or container gardens for growing food as this has been a popular trend over the last several years. If you happen to be wondering what to do with your raised bed in its second or third year of production, read on. A couple of simple steps and you’ll be on your way to seeding.

The first thing I do with my raised beds each Spring is weed. Weed seeds blow in during late Fall and Winter and these guys always get a headstart on growing so there are always some to pull by the time I arrive on the scene.

Once the weeds are out, I add about 2-3 inches of compost to the top of the bed and work it in with a hand spade. This year I used a bagged product from a local garden store that is being sold as a specific amendment for raised beds. I liked that it is organic, available in a good size (2.2 cubic feet) and contained a balanced ratio of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium – the essential nutrients.

RB1

Now it’s time to sow or plant or both! In my first bed I placed an obelisk in the middle and sowed sugar snap peas around the base. Then I planted some lettuce starts (picked up at a local nursery) around the outside of the peas.

RB2This pairing should workout nicely for Spring/early Summer and when danger of frost has passed I’ll place a tomato plant in the middle spot underneath the obelisk and then use the obelisk as a support for the tomato as it grows. When the hot weather arrives, the lettuce can be replaced with peppers, basil and other herbs.

Well that didn’t take long! The peas (planted last week) have started to sprout!

RB5I’ve also been sowing arugula, broccoli rabe, beets, kale and a salad mix in some other raised beds. As you may have guessed, I really enjoy eating homegrown greens.

RB4And in another 6 weeks or so…we’ll be full on into what I claim is our “salad season” meaning most dinners consist of single entrée that is some type of salad that can be eaten as a meal. Think taco salad, grilled kale caesar salad, chinese chicken salad, greek salad, etc… Of course, I’ll get some groans and moans from my kids but they eventually come around to eating fresh! (I’ll share a couple of yummy salad recipes in May.)

How about you? Do you grow in raised beds? If so, what do you like to sow? Have you ever tried grow bags as a container?

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