With this great weekend weather, we decided to start our garden for the year! Living in the Midwest, we typically start our garden anywhere between February and April. That's Midwest weather for you. Sometimes, you get stuff in the garden early, and you'll get some snow flurries in May. It's always a gamble when you plant a little too early, so that's why we created this DIY cold frame garden box last fall. This is the first season we'll actually get to use it! This picture was taken a couple of years ago when we started our garden. It was the best decision we ever made.
This picture was taken a couple of years ago when we started our garden. It was the best decision we ever made.
Why You Need to Start a Vegetable Garden in Early Spring
If you need me to convince you on why you need a garden, here are a few reasons:
- It's cheaper. Yep. Seeds and Bonnie starter plants are way cheaper than the actual vegetable.
- It's more delicious. Can you imagine pulling a vegetable off, washing it and eating it only a few minutes later? It's the most amazing taste in the world.
- It's family time. Our family loves going outside and playing in the garden. It's also a great way to show them where food comes from!
If you have been wanting to start a garden, this is the time to start! No excuses people. If I can manage to have four kids under the age of seven gardening with me, you can too! It's so much fun and so rewarding at the same time. To give you perspective, I live in a small subdivision in suburbia America and we have two 64 square feet raised beds with a permanent 15 square feet cold frame nearby.
Tips on Early Spring Gardening with Cold Frame and Raised Bed
I'm going to share with you a few of our favorite tips and tried/true techniques in starting a garden.
Plan first. Know what you want to plant in your garden. For most people, you only have so much room. Making sure that you know how much room you have and what plants you want (along with how much room they need) will save you money because you won't overspend!
Prepare the garden. Purchase good soil and compost. This is a must. Your seeds and plants will need a nutritious foundation so that they can grow. We used our favorite tried-and-true Miracle-Gro Garden Soil for Vegetables & Herbs in the cold frame.
I also stop by the local coffee shop and pick up some grounds to mix with it! Coffee grounds are great for plant nutrients!
Get your seeds and plants early. Typically, you can start finding seeds in early February. While we tried everything, the plants that we put first in the ground are: broccoli, cabbage, onion, potatoes, and garlic. The plants that we start from seed around the same time include: lettuce and spinach. I will say that the hubs typically tries EVERYTHING from seed just to say he did it. However, I prefer to have a sure-fire plan. So, I typically buy Bonnie Plants as he starts his plants from seed. That typically means a bountiful harvest for us!
Walmart has a great selection of Bonnie Plants that is a great way to make sure your garden has a great head start. One reason I secretly prefer buying plants is because, typically, my dining room table turns into a seed planting station. Buying them this way means I get to reclaim that space from the husband!
Start looking for plants as early as you can! While the husband is obsessed with knowing that he grew something from seed, I on the other hand want a sure thing. So I typically stock up on plants that he may already be starting seeds for.
Get your timing right. Gambling on a super early start to your garden early can cause you to possibly lose everything you worked on because of an unexpected frost. I recommend referring to an almanac to make sure your timing is right.
I also would recommend using a cold frame to potentially start your plants to avoid super cold weather for your plants. We planted the Bonnie plants in the cold frame this year for the first time!
Plant in a raised garden. If you can, plant in a raised garden in an effort to ensure proper drainage, better weed control, and (hopefully) a better yield! This is what one of our gardens looked like a few years ago. I assure you that I truly believe our plants would not have been successful if it were in a non-raised bed.
Protect. While I would have preferred a non-fenced garden, with all the deer, bunnies, and other beasts, we would be gardening for them! I would recommend creating a barrier of some sort around the garden. We found this fence while dumpster diving on trash day!
Just start! If you have been contemplating a garden, and haven't acted on it, now is your time to! This is the perfect time for those cold weather plants. Bring all the kids out - they would love to help you!
Get the family out there too!