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Jump Starting the Season

Don't let cold soil and late spring frost delay the start to your garden season.

Prepare the soil as soon as it can be worked. Then cover it with clear plastic for several weeks. This warms the soil for planting and helps germinate many of the weed seeds.

Lightly cultivate, removing the young weed seedlings without bringing more weed seeds to the surface.

Now start planting. Once the garden is planted, cover it with a floating row cover such as Harvest Guard, ReeMay, or Fast Grass. These spun fabrics let air, light, and water through; while keeping the plants warm. Anchor the fabric with stones, boards, or other heavy items. Leave enough slack in the fabrics for the plants to grow.

With this gardening tip you can plant a month or more earlier than normal. This means you will be harvesting fresh vegetables long before your friends and neighbors.

A bit more information: Use floating row covers to protect your vegetables from damaging insects. Cover broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts to keep out cabbage worms. The fabric creates a barrier preventing the adult moth from laying their eggs on your plants. No eggs mean no hungry caterpillars to munch on your plants. This also works great at keeping maggot off onions and radishes.

Once the season gets going pack away the floating row covers until fall. Break them out later in the season to protect flowers and vegetables from the first fall frosts. These fall cold snaps are often followed by a week or more of mild temperatures. The row covers can help you extend the harvest and beauty of your gardens

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