Get Ready. Get Set. Garden.

Get Ready. Get Set. Garden. Daffodils are blooming. That’s a sure sign that the gardening season is underway. You can start planting now for early bounty, even though the average last frost date for our area is April 14. To prepare your plot, apply compost, then turn under or till into the top layer of the bed, where it will be most valuable. Dig furrows or planting holes. Direct sow spinach, arugula, mesclun, radishes, carrots, beets, turnips and leeks. Peas and fava beans are other great cool season varieties, but don’t forget to install trellises now for these climbers. You can plant cool season favorites, such as strawberries. Whether you purchase them at a garden center or start them in your own flats under good light, harden off cool season seedlings — broccoli, kale and collards — in preparation for moving to the plot. Move them outside in a sheltered spot for increasing periods of time over several days, allowing them to get accustomed to the more rigorous conditions of the garden. Then transplant those seedlings, but be prepared to cover them with row cover or other protective covering when a freeze threatens. – Carol Hassell