Spring Garden-to-Table Planting Guide
|No matter the size of your yard, plan now to fill your kitchen with fresh produce this year.|
Garden to Table
You don't need acres of land to bring garden-to-table freshness to your recipes. In fact, with our garden plans, you don't even need a yard. Try our supereasy, DIY options—perfect for small plots and petite porches—and you'll have delicious, hyperlocal produce at your fingertips all year long.
It doesn't matter whether you're a beginner or a green-thumbed veteran: These season-specific plans—tested in the Cooking Light Garden—will help you get started and introduce you to new varieties that will up your growing game. Flexible raised-bed and container-based plans will also fit your space and taste buds, making it easy for fresh food lovers from Boise to Brooklyn to grow a green patch.
Supply List: Containers
First, you need the right supplies. There's a variety of materials to suit your space and style; just ensure they have drainage holes and that you're not over-crowding plants.
Supply List: Soil
Supply List: Plant Food
Supply List: Water and Irrigation
Water is a key component to any thriving garden. Unless you relish hand-watering every few days, install a simple drip irrigation system to do the work for you. Delivering hydration at the base of plants near the roots conserves water and looks clean at the soil surface. Kits found at garden centers make it a snap to connect tubes to an outdoor spigot, while adding a timer makes it worry-free for forgetful folks.
Supply List: Sun
Supply List: Seeds & Plants
When to Plant
Weather almanacs and years of data help predict two important dates: the last freeze of spring and the first freeze in fall. Plants, like recipes, yield ideal results at varying temperatures. Most instructions will reference this (e.g., "start seeds six weeks before last spring frost" or "plant after danger of frost has passed"). We like the data at davesgarden.com. For example, according to the site, if you live in Austin, it's almost guaranteed that you won't get a frost after March 15, so it's safe to plant cold-sensitive plants after that date.
Garden Designs: Cole Crops
Choose plants based on your taste and space. Plant raised beds for a well-rounded harvest, or pick pots from 14 to 24 inches in diameter (large enough for the type of plant) for the patio.
Planting together keeps it all in the family, as these cole crops all love cool weather and frequently applied high-nitrogen fertilizer.
Potted: Cole Crops
Maximize space: Sow lettuce seeds around young transplants and harvest within 40 days, before broccoli or kale grows taller.
Garden Designs: Greens & Peas
For the freshest, most flavorful salads, grow your own greens.
Potted: Greens & Peas
By sowing many varieties of lettuces and arugula at 2-week intervals, you'll be eating better than the Easter bunny. Add a 6-foot twig or iron trellis for climbing peas.
Garden Designs: Herbs
Using a tree-form or standard bay laurel saves space and looks elegant.
Many of these herbs produce month after month, but you'll want to switch out annual favorites like cool-loving cilantro and parsley later on.
Garden Designs: Roots and Shoots
The beet family (Swiss chard, beets, spinach) grows well with other underground dwellers. Sow radish seeds between carrots. For style, use dwarf blueberry plants as evergreen corner shrubs and a colorful 18-inch container in the middle for chard.
Plant now for fresh fruit to nibble on this summer. The "Raspberry Shortcake" thornless raspberry is a good variety for containers, as is the "Sunshine Blue" blueberry. Dot strawberry plants at the border, and the fruit will cascade down.