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How to Start a Vegetable Garden in the Spring

Growing a vegetable garden is not only a rewarding experience, but a healthy one, too. Learn how to start a vegetable garden this spring and get a head start on the best cool-weather produce.

According to the University of Tennessee, spring vegetables grow best before the heat of the summer sun warms the air and soil. Cabbages, radishes, lettuce, carrots, cauliflower, kale, onions and peas are some vegetables that need to be planted early in the growing season.

vergetable garden

By learning how to start a vegetable garden, you can enjoy ample fresh air and exercise throughout the spring. Plus, you'll get to enjoy the delicious vegetables that grow out of your hard work.

Moist Spots

When planning a spring garden, think about the location of your garden. Look for a site with fertile, well-drained soil that isn't too close to trees or large shrubs. That way, your garden vegetables don't have to compete with tree roots for moisture. Spring vegetables tend to have very shallow root systems and are susceptible to drought.

Share the Love

If you're also planting warm-weather crops in your garden, divide the space accordingly. Plant your cool-weather vegetables on one side and reserve the remaining space for subsequent plantings. After you harvest the early vegetables, use the space for autumn planting and enjoy the fruits of your labor well into the season.

When to Plant

Decide what types of vegetables you want to plant in your spring garden and consider the best time to plant them. For West Tennessee, use the dates earlier into the interval between the season's beginning and end. Middle and East Tennessee gardeners should plant at later dates, as charted by Tennessee State University.

Root Vegetables

For the most part, you can plant root vegetables very early in the season. Beets generally grow well between March 1 and 10. Carrots, onions, potatoes and turnips can be planted anytime in March. All varieties take between 40 and 90 days to grow in fully, and need around six hours of direct sunlight per day.

Leafy Green Vegetables

Leafy plants like lettuce, spinach and mustard greens require less direct sunlight, so they can tolerate a shadier spot. This means you can also plant them earlier than other vegetables. Spinach and cabbage can be planted as early as February. Head and leaf lettuce should also be planted early in the season, but the exact timing will depend on your location in Tennessee. Leafy greens need about two months to grow.

Flowering Vegetables

Plant broccoli and cauliflower anytime in March. It takes about two months for either to mature for harvest.

By learning how to start a vegetable garden, you can enjoy ample fresh air and exercise throughout the spring. Plus, you'll get to enjoy the delicious vegetables that grow out of your hard work.

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