Through many years of experiment and observation, I’ve created a planting calendar for my kitchen garden, a monthly reminder of what to plant when. This time of year, every week or two from early March through late May there are seeds to sow, usually in pots indoors but sometimes out in the garden, and growing plants to harden off and set out.
The onions I seeded indoors in early March went into a garden bed this past week, thin green shoots that will be robust spears by mid-summer, and the potatoes I greened up in late March went into the ground in late April, their sprouts buried in a shallow trench but promising vigorous above-ground growth in just a few weeks.
The sugar snap peas I planted in early March and set out in the garden ten days later are already over a foot tall and climbing in the bed next to the potatoes. The tomatoes I seeded indoors on that same March day went into the greenhouse in early April and are thriving, almost ready to start training into the tall vines they will become by summer. The eggplant and peppers started indoors in mid-March went into the greenhouse yesterday. They’re much smaller than their tomato cousins but will catch up soon.
And last week on the last day of April I planted seeds of radishes, chard, lettuce, carrots, beets, and turnips in a garden bed. A few warm days and the radish sprouts will be showing followed soon by the first green of the other roots and greens. As May warms and dries, I’ll plan beans, corn and squash and at the end of the month another bed of greens and roots.
There’s great pleasure in repeating these tasks every spring, planting seeds, watching for their germination, tending the growing plants, setting them out in their permanent spots. Coming regularly as they do each year makes them less a chore and more a part of the natural rhythm of the year, a link to the lengthening daylight and warming temperatures, the blossoms and leaves on fruit trees and shrubs, all signals of the welcome turn to spring and summer.