Thursday, March 19, 2009

Spring Planting Tips

Spring Planting Tips,7518,s1-5-19-1430,00.html?cm_mmc=OGNews-_-2009_03_18-_-growingatoz-_-spring_planting_tips,7759,s1-5-19-1430,00.html

Get an extra-early start on your vegetable garden by trying one of these techniques:

Use raised beds first. Plant early vegetables in raised beds, which tend to drain better and warm up earlier than in-ground beds.

Warm the soil. Cover some of your garden beds with sheets of black plastic for a couple of weeks before you want to plant. Remove the plastic before planting, or plant seedlings through holes cut into it.

Build plastic tunnels. Protect early plantings from cold or overly wet weather by growing them under clear plastic. Linda Brewer, a horticulture research assistant at Oregon State University, uses rebar and PVC pipe to support the plastic over her early vegetable beds. "This gives me a chance to exclude rain and increase the rate at which the soil warms," she says.

Take advantage of microclimates in your yard. A protected garden bed in front of a south-facing wall may warm up a few weeks earlier than exposed areas.

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