University of Vermont Extension
Department of Plant and Soil Science
SPRING TIPS FOR THE VEGETABLE GARDEN
Charlie Nardozzi, Senior Horticulturist
National Gardening Association
seeds indoors, making coldframes, and planning the garden layout are some of
the spring activities for this year’s vegetable garden.
you start seeds under grow lights or fluorescent shop lights indoors, check the
tubes for signs of age. Tubes that have been used for two to three seasons
probably have lost much of their intensity even though they look fine. Dark
rings on the ends of the tubes are a sign they need to be replaced.
get an early harvest of lettuce and other greens, dig out a large shallow
container and sow some seeds. Grow them indoors until the weather warms enough
to put them outside during the day. Keep cutting leaves from the outside of the
plants to prolong the harvest. Or you can sow seeds for a mesclun mix and cut
off the leaves when still young. They will regrow for another harvest in a few
alliums, such as leeks and onions, should be started from seed now. Sprinkle
the seed on top of seed-starting mix, keep it moist, and as soon as the
seedlings emerge place the flats under grow lights. Snip the ends periodically
to keep them about 3 to 4 inches tall and help them grow strong.
frames are handy for hardening off seedlings. You can make a simple cold frame
by placing hay bales along the perimeter of
a rectangle, and placing old windows or a glass storm door over the top. Purchased cold frames
are convenient -- some have thermostatically controlled tops that open
automatically when the temperature inside hits a designated point. Since the
midday sun can heat things up quickly, this feature is especially handy if
you're away for long stretches during the day.
your soil is dry enough to work sow peas, spinach and greens . Transplant cole crops such as broccoli,
cauliflower, and cabbage into the garden. Set up the pea trellis before you
plant so you don't disturb emerging seedlings in the process.
planning your veggie garden layout, avoid planting members of the same plant
family in the same spot they were in last year, or even the year before.
Members of the same family are susceptible to the same diseases and insect
infestations. For example, avoid planting members of the tomato family
(tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, and eggplant) in the same place year after year.
seed packets for recommendations, then plot out planting times for seeds you'll
be starting indoors. Don't try to get a jump
on the season by planting earlier; larger plants are more easily stunted than
smaller ones and won't necessarily grow faster once they're transplanted
outdoors. This is especially true for
melons and squash that only grow when it is warm.
Return to Perry's Perennial