The snow may still be flying, but it is time to start thinking, planning and planting the vegetable garden. If you don’t plan on growing your own seedling starts, you won’t have to worry about planting just yet. If you are planning on growing your own seedlings, now is the time to begin planting some of them. This is especially true for the cold tolerant vegetables. In fact many seed packets recommend starting your seeds 6-8 weeks before the last frost. Here in Zone 6 the average last frost date is usually around April 15th. The 8 week mark for me is next week.

To find out what the average last frost date for your area will be head on over to the Farmer’s Almanac Average Frost Dates page.

My planning process

A crucial step in a successful garden is taking the time to plan. What are you going to plant? Where are you going to plant it? How much room will you need? This is just some of the questions I ask myself when planning my garden.

I usually start my planning process by taking inventory of my freezer and canned goods. If I have 20 quarts of pickled red beets sitting on the shelves I probably won’t be planting a large amount of beets.

I also need to think about what does well in my garden and where in the garden it grows well. For example, I have a horrible problem with cucumber beetles. I’m still working strategies for defeating them. But until I do, I don’t plant a whole bunch. Instead I rely on other sources for my preservation needs. I also have a corner that gets some afternoon shade. I don’t want to put heat loving plants like tomatoes in that area.

Starting my seedlings

I have already started my pepper seedlings. For some reason I have found that peppers take forever! Especially some of the hotter varieties. I made sure I started them nice and early.

My next priority will be to start the cold tolerant vegetables I have planned for the garden this year. I’m completely out of sauerkraut so I will be planting a large cabbage patch. I’m also going try growing some Brussels sprouts and broccoli. Both are tolerant to the cold and can be set out fairly early.

In the past I have planted the cold tolerant vegetables as early as mid-March. This has been in my raised beds. I have frames that I use to put plastic over them for the colder days. Unfortunately I won’t be able to do that this year.

My garden will be getting a big revamp this year. I’m very excited to get started. I’ll be posting more updates soon!!


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