Dear Neighbor,

It has been my tradition that sometime Valentines week, I get to start something I love: gardening for the new year. Here in zone 6, we can start planting our earliest spring garden March 15, but I always wait until the last week in March, the same time I get new chicks.  With all this “global warming,” we just don’t have the warmth we used to and the 15th is just too early for most things.  So, I wait a bit but it is still time to start seedlings indoors, this week.

Live in colder regions? You should start your early spring seedlings March 1 for April 15. What can start indoors for the early spring garden?

Start your herbs, broccoli, tomatoes, and cabbages indoors. Tomatoes (unless they are cherry tomatoes) won’t be planted until late April or May for cooler areas but need to be started with the early spring garden seedlings.

If you haven’t done so yet, give your garden bed compost or rotted manure and give it a good toss. Ready it for planting by covering the ground  with black plastic or old window panes on the ground. By the time March 15 or April 15 comes along, it will be warmed enough to plant beets, carrots, lettuces/spinach, onions, beans, peas and radishes.

I still have kale, leaf cabbage, and broccoli in my tiny winter garden. It looks a bit rough but it survived the coldest winter I remember. The broccoli is sweet as candy; the kale has been a favorite soup staple. As always I swear to improve, do better and have a bigger garden. I am just excited that the time is coming to fire up the lights and start the 2011 garden! Happy Valentines to all!

Happy Homesteading, S