Spring Gardening Tips for School and Home Gardens

Spring is here and it’s time to get started on your garden. Whether you’re gardening at school or at home, whether you’re growing edible or decorative plants, we have some tips!

First, make sure you have good soil for planting. The best soil composition is called “loamy.” This drains well, but retains some moisture and good nutrients. Test your soil by picking up a handful of moist but not waterlogged soil. Ideally, it should hold its shape until you poke it. If it falls apart too easily, add a couple inches of organic compost into the top of the garden.

Early spring is the best time to plant cool-season annuals. You can buy seedlings of some vegetables or use your own homegrown starts. Broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage are some edible plants that can be planted as seedlings now. Peas, carrots, radishes, onions, and lettuce are some that can be planted as seeds.

Speaking of lettuce, it’s a great idea to plant some lettuce, chard, or spinach seeds each week, so you can anticipate salad opportunities throughout the season!TheEvergreenSchool garden

Tomatoes and peppers need to be planted a little later, when you’re sure there won’t be a surprise frost. However, you can have fun starting the seeds for these plants indoors, in small pots or egg cartons. Here are some tips on how to start tomato seeds indoors.

Herbs are both useful and beautiful to keep in your garden. Oregano, rosemary, mint, sage, chives, and more can all be planted as seedlings now if the soil is loose. You may be able to find these at a local plant sale.

If you plant perennials in the ground or containers, now is a good time to start them. When you transfer them to the new soil, add some compost to improve nutrients for the plant. Depending on the size of the plant, a large handful or a shovel of compost will be helpful. Later, after your shrubs bloom and fade, prune them back to keep the plant and flowers healthy.

The choice of plants is up to you! Plant what makes you happy to look at and consume. We recommend buying seeds locally, so they’ll be adapted to growing in your climate. As your seeds sprout and grow bigger, thin some out and your remaining ones will grow bigger.

Make this the year that your school Green Team starts or expands a gardening project! We have great resources for projects on our Green Schools website. Tilth Alliance also has resources for Pacific Northwest gardeners. We would love to hear stories and see photos of your garden projects so we can celebrate with you!

Starting the garden