When we moved to Midtown in Little Rock a few years ago, I was pretty adamant about wanting a small area in the backyard where I could plant a vegetable garden. Over the years, the garden has tripled in size and is now the perfect size to provide my husband and me with veggies all summer long. I typically don’t start my garden until after the last frost, but this year I wanted to get started a little early.
With the feeling of spring in the air, I’ve been dying for a little dirt therapy in the garden. As usual in Arkansas, the spurts of warm weather are only a tease, and it’s not actually time to pull out the garden tools, at least not all of them. But if you’re looking to get a few things in the ground during these warm days, there are a few veggies that actually enjoy the cooler nights.
To kick off my gardening season, I spent this past weekend preparing part of my garden for lettuce, sweet peas and turnips. These green veggies actually prefer the cooler weather and can survive the cooler nights we are still having.
To get started, I had to pull the tools out of their winter resting place in the back of the shed. Since I wasn’t planning to do my whole garden, I just needed a hand tiller, hoe, shovel, rake, water pail and work gloves.
Since we hadn’t touched the garden since last fall, I had to start by dealing with some weeds. Using the hand tiller, I started my way through the garden, breaking up the dirt and pulling out the weeds. I try to keep my garden as chemical free as possible, but you could use weed killer to do the same thing.
Once all of the weeds were gone and I just had dirt, I went back through the garden one more time with the hand tiller to make sure the dirt was good and loose for planting.
It was then time to switch tools and use the hoe to create rows for planting.
In this case, I wasn’t planning to do the whole garden so I only created two rows, one for turnips and one for lettuce. Once the rows were created, it was time to drop in the seeds. Most directions will tell you to carefully space out your seeds, but I like to fill my rows with lots of seeds and weed them out if too many sprout. This helps assure that plants will come in across the whole row.
In addition to lettuce and turnips, I also decided to plant some sugar snap peas. Actually, my niece was over a few weeks ago and was playing in the garden. She wanted to help plant, so I let her play with some seeds I had left over from last year. Little did I know that the sugar snap pea seeds she planted would actually grow. So to stick with the location of that plant, I decided to dig a circle around it and plant some more seeds. Also, these peas need something to climb as they grow, so I decided to use one of my tomato cages to give the plants support.
Once all of the seeds were divided out, I simply covered the rows with the excess dirt from making the rows and finished by giving the whole area water. Now I will wait for them to grow!