Get the garden and yourself ready, if you’re thinking to plant vegetables during COVID-19 pandemic.
Lately we’ve heard about a resurgence of victory gardens, a WWII effort that some estimate produced as much as 40% of Americans’ food supply through home gardens. As people spend more time at home and in their outdoor spaces to slow the spread of COVID-19, there’s interest in growing food in backyards. If you’re excited to plant vegetables to feed your family or to support local food banks, now is the time to get your plan in place.
Hopefully you took advantage of the cold winter days to decide what you want to plant and to order seeds and supplies. But if you are just getting started, don’t worry. Many garden centers, nurseries, and farm supply stores are still operating as essential businesses. Go online or give them a call to see what they’ve got in stock. Order ahead and pick up your garden supplies curbside or have them shipped to you.
To maximize space, plan succession crops so that late-season crops take over a space after early-season plants have stopped producing. If all that sounds confusing, you can consult a garden or landscape professional to choose the best location and the right plants for a successful edible garden. Thanks to technology, you can have a virtual meeting to maintain safe distancing while collaborating on a plan. CSU Extension, Denver Botanic Gardens, and other community organizations are offering virtual classes and online resources to help you learn more about gardening in Colorado’s unique conditions.
Some seeds you can start inside now; others need to wait to be sown outdoors. When you see friends across the country planting their outdoor gardens now, remember that Colorado’s average last frost date is around Mother’s Day. Be patient and don’t plant too early.
However, when the soil is warm enough to till and has southern exposure, you can plant early season veggies. That includes green onions, spinach, lettuce, radishes, carrots and peas. Once planted, they will sit quietly in the soil until the temp is warm enough to germinate. Some plants will germinate at 40 to 45 degrees, while others need more warmth. Snow and frost shouldn’t bother these cool season crops and snow will provide needed moisture. Monitor the soil and if it dries out, apply water.
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