Sunday, April 3, 2011

Gardening 101: First Outdoor Planting - 4 weeks before spring last frost day


Today was my first day of planting outdoors. Some plants like cold weather and are supposed to be planted outside before the Spring last frost day. It is now 4 weeks before the last frost day in my area (always check the date for your area - you can do so at For Chicago Illinois is April 22 - so I took April 25th as my day to be sure.

At 4 weeks you can plant the following plants outside:
  • Onions
  • Lettuce from seed
  • Peas from seed or seedling
  • Broccoli
  • Strawberries
  • Spring Onions

I took this weekend to put the horse compost manure in the beds (see my post on how to get free compost). I put the compost on top of the previously turned soil and mixed it well with my spade. Then with a rake, I made sure the beds were flat and that all big chunks of soil were broken into small pieces.

I tried different ways to get my 1 feet squares. Doing a wooden grid was going to be a bit expensive so I decided to try with wool and nails ( I may regret this but I want to try anyhow). I took my measuring tape, nails, some wool and a hammer and tried to make a grid - Far too much work!!!! So I tried another way.

Little String attached to the long one at 1 foot intervals

I put 2 sticks alongside my bed at 1 feet from the edge and I tied 2 small strings to it - With my measuring tape I kept moving the 2 strings 1 square foot at a time so they will show me 1 square. I did my Planting there, and then move the strings to the next square and so on. I did work.

I used that technique to rejuvenate my strawberries. I took all the strawberries out and only kept the stronger plants and replanted then 4 per square.

Peas from seedlings

Peas - Outdoor seeds
I also planted some peas - some from seedlings that I started about 2 weeks ago and some from seed.

I planted some lettuce from seeds - Believe or not there will be 24 lettuces in this small space - at a rate of 4 lettuces per square foot.

Some of my perennials herbs are out like my spring onions and the garlic I planted in the fall is also looking good.

I will be doing some more planting during the week.

If you like this post, you may also like my other posts in the Gardening 101 series:

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