When to Start Your Spring Garden

All digging should be done when the soil is moist but not dripping wet. Pick up a handful of soil in one hand and squeeze it into a ball. It should feel damp, but no water should drip as you squeeze. Ideally, you should be able to form a ball of soil that stays together when you open your hand, but crumbles easily when you tap it with a finger. Planting dates vary according to microclimate. Those gardening very near Puget Sound or one of the area’s large lakes will probably be able to start quite early. Inland gardens, particularly those in the Cascade foothills, will need to wait a little longer.

Gardening Calendars

  1. Planting Calendar from the P-Patch Trust in Seattle (2.3MB)

  2. The Old Farmer’s Almanac: http://www.almanac.com/gardening

  3. http://westsidegardener.com/quick/timetable.html

Gardening Information

  1. WSU King County Extension Master Gardener

  2. Growing Community Gardens Resource Package: http://ext100.wsu.edu/skagit/wp-content/uploads/sites/5/2014/03/Resource_Package.pdf

The best way to decide when to start planting is measuring the soil temperature. Probe thermometers are inexpensive, costing about $10 at The Issaquah Grange. For early season veggies, insert the thermometer 2 inches into the soil, measure several days in a row at mid-day, and take an average. Begin to plant cool season crops (arugula, beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, kale, leeks, lettuce, onions, peas, radishes, spinach, Swiss chard, turnips) when soil temperature averages at least 40 degrees. See http://www.weekendgardener.net/vegetable-gardening-tips/soil-temperature-030803.htm

As soon as soil is ready in March, can plant

  1. asparagus

  2. chard

  3. kale

  4. kohlrabi

  5. lettuce

  6. onions

  7. peas

  8. turnips

  9. radishes

  10. rhubarb

  11. spinach

  12. mustard greens

After April 1, plant

  1. beets

  2. collards

  3. broccoli

  4. leeks

  5. cabbage

  6. parsnips

  7. carrots

  8. potatoes

  9. cauliflower

  10. celery

Wait until after mid-May to plant

  1. beans

  2. Brussels sprouts

Wait until June 1 to plant

  1. tomatoes

  2. squash

  3. cucumbers

  4. melons

  5. pumpkins

  6. peppers

  7. eggplant

Companion Planting: see http://www.gardensablaze.com/Companions/CompanionYield.htm

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