60 In Gardening/ Lifestyle

Transitioning The Garden From Winter To Spring

Spring Gardening Tasks

Welcome back to Tuesdays in the Garden!  Since the last post about Spring Gardening Tasks, we have experienced a bit of a setback here in New England. The set back you ask?  The dreaded "s" word that does not come out of my mouth easily around this time of year.  Yes, it snowed last night.  The flowers, animals and I are all in an equal state of confusion.  The rabbit that lives under the shed along with the neighborhood turkeys are all a no show today.  I don't blame them.  I'm really happy that I decided to add a hoop house to my raised garden bed.  Instead of having a state of induced panic rush over me at the sight of this unwanted white blanket, I can breathe a bit.  Inside my raised garden bed are both my winter planted and spring planted vegetables, growing and waiting to be picked.  Now, although this hoop house can't cover my whole yard, at least I know these healthy crops will not be toast.  I'm hoping that the temperatures raise soon, and the spring bulbs will bounce back from this.  


Transitioning The Garden | angiethefreckledrose.comI've learned no matter how much I want to get out in the yard and do certain things like plant here in zone 6a, it's better to wait.  Cleaning up around the yard is still necessary along with starting seeds indoors and prepping garden beds for the new season.  It's just best not to get ahead of myself and put new plants anywhere that isn't protected.  Some things like my window box do well no matter the temperature outside because they are insulated by the house.  Other than that, my flower beds still have to wait.  The average last frost date for my zone is somewhere between April 16th to April 30th.  I'm still not completely out of the danger zone.  In this post, I will be sharing with you the first steps I take when transitioning my garden from winter to spring.  Sometimes when you get caught in garden seasonal purgatory, it can be hard to figure out what to do.  There are a few key steps I take to set myself up for a happy gardening season!

The Winter Vegetable Garden

Transitioning The Garden | angiethefreckledrose.comI was downright determined last year to overwinter my edible crops.  I had a modest budget, but was convinced I could give it a try.  I built my very own hoop house with some inexpensive materials. You can read about it's humble beginnings here.  I received an abundance of advice from books, friends, and Pinterest and went straight to work.  I set zero expectations so I wouldn't be disappointed if it didn't work out. It cost around 80 dollars, not including the seeds I had already purchased in advance.  This project gave me a wealth of knowledge money couldn't buy (I'm serious!)  If you want to see a full list of what I decided to try growing, you can find it here.  Shown is a picture of my vegetable garden last December. 

Transitioning The Garden | angiethefreckledrose.comI noticed right away that things began to sprout during the fall.  The vegetables that seemed to take off during the winter were spinach and broccoli.  Everything else grew, but at a much slower rate.  I noticed my kale starting to sprout in late December, but then some heavy ice ended up crushing the tiny plants.  I also observed that the crops I planted close to the edge like Miner's lettuce and arugula didn't fair well.  The vegetables planted closer to the middle were protected from the cold.  I also ended up adding a few more stone blocks to hold down the tarp, as well as a PVC conduit pipe across the top of the hoop house for support during the heavy winter storms.  In the beginning of February, I noticed my peas immediately starting to take off.  Towards the middle of the month, I observed my Elephant garlic tips starting to show.  At the end of February,  I was excited to see more of my peas beginning to grow.  February is ridiculously early for a crop like that to be growing here in Massachusetts!

Transitioning The Garden | angiethefreckledrose.com

Elephant Garlic on February 18th

Transitioning The Garden | angiethefreckledrose.com

Left are Little Marvel peas on February 1st. Right are De Grace snow peas on February 20th

Transitioning The Garden

Visualizing A Garden Plan: Now is the perfect time to transfer those great ideas in your head onto paper. Once you do this, it really helps you visualize your vegetable garden.  In return, the ideas you have become more tangible.  Pick which spots would work best for different vegetables.  Take into consideration the dimensions of your full grown plants.  Plants that grows vertically don't need an unnecessary amount of width like pole beans.  On the other hand, vegetables like bush beans might need a little bit of a wider container.  When you take care of all these things in advance, it makes the gardening season go so much smoother.  Having all of this down on paper also really helps when venturing to your local garden center.  It's so much easier to maintain a budget on seeds and plants when you have your garden plan in hand. 

Transitioning The Garden | angiethefreckledrose.comClean Up Berry Plants & Patches: In my yard, I have a strawberry patch that is 5' x 6'. During the fall and winter, I leave debris like brush and fallen leaves covering my dormant fruits.  In the early spring, it is important to clean this up and make sure your plants have plenty of room to grow.  The earlier you start weeding around your berries, the easier it is.  I've found that weeds can quickly take over your healthy plants, and it's almost impossible to get rid of them all late in the season.  Add fresh, new compost and soil to the patch to maintain healthy, ripe fruit. Early to mid spring is also a great time to plant new blueberry and raspberry bushes.  When it comes to blackberries, it's time to prune the tips of your blackberry canes.  This will help the plants yield more fruit.  Make sure to dispose of dead or diseased looking canes. 

Get Your Game Face On: Like any task you may want to accomplish in life, it's better to come prepared.  Now is the time to take inventory of the garden tools in your shed.  If you are missing an important tool, adding it to your arsenal now is better than doing it mid season.  Also take note on how many bags of soil you need, how much compost the garden will require and the amount of mulch necessary to maintain a weed free space.  Nobody wants to be adding a large amount of this under the hot July sun.  It's much easier to put this all down before the first heat wave is in sight. 

Growing Spring Vegetables

It is so rewarding to have vegetables ready to be harvested in spring.  After that long, dreary winter, you have some edibles ready to be picked.  I've been periodically caring for and checking on my crops since December.  When the first day of spring finally arrived, I decided to see what would be ready for spring harvesting.  Here is a small list of what is growing strong:


Transitioning The Garden | angiethefreckledrose.com-Amsterdam Prickly Seeded spinach

-De Grace snow peas
-Little Marvel peas
-Golden chicory
-Purple Top White Globe turnips
-Zebrune shallot onion
-Yellow flat Dutch onion
-Elephant garlic
-Fordhook Giant swiss chard
-Komatsuma Tendergreen mustard greens
-Japanese Giant Red mustard greens
-Dwarf Siberian Kale

 

Transitioning The Garden | angiethefreckledrose.com

Komatsuma Tendergreen mustard sprouts on March 19th

Transitioning The Garden | angiethefreckledrose.com

Elephant Garlic on March 22nd

Transitioning The Garden | angiethefreckledrose.com

Little Marvel peas on March 28th

Tuesdays In The Garden

Now it's time to head over to some other great posts being featured this week.  Click either the picture or the links to check out some other helpful spring tips.  We are covering everything from transitioning seasons, tips & techniques, building healthy soil, must have garden apps and companion planting!

Transitioning The Garden | angiethefreckledrose.com
Transitioning The Garden | angiethefreckledrose.com
Transitioning The Garden | angiethefreckledrose.com
Transitioning The Garden | angiethefreckledrose.com

Now that I have finished this post, I must get back to my snow covered reality. Everything is on hold right now until New England finally realizes it's spring again.  I must practice my patience and continue to map out my final plans as well as focus on seed starting indoors.  Once that snow finally melts and the frost date has past, it's go time!  Do you have any tips when it comes to transitioning your garden from winter to spring?  Any edibles ready to be harvested or flowers about to bloom soon where you live?  I would be very happy to live vicariously through you while I wait for these freezing temperatures to pass.  Comment below or tweet me pictures @thefreckledrose on Twitter.  I will keep the faith that all my crops make it through this minor weather setback unscathed. 

In Case You Missed It-Spring Gardening Tasks

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I've learned no matter how much I want to get out in the yard and do certain things like plant here in zone 6a, it's better to wait.  Cleaning up around the yard is still necessary along with starting seeds indoors and prepping garden beds for the new season.  It's just best not to get ahead of myself and put new plants anywhere that isn't protected.

 

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60 Comments

  • Reply
    Chelsey Coffey
    April 5, 2016 at 9:03 am

    Hi Angie! I love your site, I’m visiting from Intentional Tuesday. Your blog is so beautiful and I love your passion for gardening. I hope it thaws there soon so you can get to planting! Have a blessed week.

    • Reply
      Thefreckledrose
      April 23, 2016 at 12:48 am

      Thank you so much Chelsey! Fortunately, the weather has become beautiful and I can finally start planting for the season πŸ™‚ So happy to be back outside!

  • Reply
    Jade Miller
    April 5, 2016 at 9:12 am

    Beautiful blog. I am very, very interested in gardening but unfortunately I’m terrible at it. I insist on continuing to try, but I believe the myth of the black thumb might be true. Currently I live in an apartment so anything I kill resides in a pot, pre-mortem. Anyhow, maybe I can fulfill my longing by looking at beautiful pictures of green growing things such as your blog. Well done. πŸ™‚

    • Reply
      Thefreckledrose
      April 23, 2016 at 12:56 am

      Thanks Jade! I felt that way to way back when. Had no idea what I was doing, and planted everything in the wrong spot. Did lots of research, kept trying and finally got the hang of it. VERY SLOWLY, I’m talking snails pace here! Don’t give up, the black thumb is just a myth designed to make us all feel hopeless. Trust me, if I can grow something, anyone can πŸ™‚ Growing in an apartment or small space is possible with the right containers & plants. Just might take some research, but you can totally do it! If you ever need any advice or just someone to talk plants, I’m always here to help!

  • Reply
    Heather
    April 5, 2016 at 9:23 am

    Great post, Angie. I got a little chuckle out of the “toast” reference towards the beginning–that’s what happens when you leave the hoop house/row covers on all day accidentally while you’re at work! (Been there, done that.) Anyway, good info and tips. I’m about to re-sow peas because I think I put mine in too early and they didn’t germinate this year. They must need a little warmer soil temp than radishes/kale/spinach because those all are coming up like gangbusters!

    • Reply
      Thefreckledrose
      April 23, 2016 at 11:48 am

      Thanks Heather! I’m trying to be really careful now that it’s gotten warmer not to leave it on all day. Don’t want to fry all my hard work! Yes, I’m actually re-sowing some peas this weekend as well. The weather has been super wonky! What kind of kale do you like to grow? I’m looking to plant some soon!

  • Reply
    Sarah Koontz
    April 5, 2016 at 10:15 am

    I’ve got my game face on! But we are in zone 4 so I don’t have much to share in the way of inspiration for you…as my garden is still pretty much dormant. But I did just publish my garden plan on my blog last week, one lady commented that it was ambitious…that’s an understatement! The garlic did pop their cute little heads above ground this weekend and….the strawberries are starting to green up. As always, your pictures make me drool….

    • Reply
      Thefreckledrose
      April 23, 2016 at 11:53 am

      I’m ready for the warm weather to stay put here in New England! Oh, that’s awesome I’ll definitely take a look. Better to be ambitious than to underestimate yourself and not give things a try right? Can’t wait to harvest garlic soon & ready for ripe berries πŸ™‚ Thank you Sarah!

  • Reply
    Ginger Dawn Harman
    April 5, 2016 at 10:36 am

    Oh My Gosh! I am so inspired to go outside and plant! This is fantastic. Yet, first I must finish a kitchen remodel. However, we had snow in West Virginia so I still have time to plant Kale, Spinach and such. Looking forward to future post!

    • Reply
      Thefreckledrose
      April 23, 2016 at 12:03 pm

      Thanks Ginger! That’s awesome you are remodeling your kitchen! I’m sure it’s a lot of work, but bet it will look fabulous when finished! Happy planting πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Michelle Marine
    April 5, 2016 at 10:45 am

    Great post, Angie! It’s always exciting to get going in the spring, but out here in zone 5b I’ve also learned the hard way that it’s a good idea to wait!! Annoying spring snow gets me almost every year.

    • Reply
      Thefreckledrose
      April 23, 2016 at 12:12 pm

      Thanks Michelle! Yes, same here! Thankfully the weather is smoothing out now πŸ™‚ Time to get growing!

  • Reply
    image-in-ing: weekly photo linky
    April 5, 2016 at 12:27 pm

    And what a glorious transition it is!
    Thank you for linking up at http://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2016/04/this-is-what-hope-looks-like.html

    • Reply
      Thefreckledrose
      April 23, 2016 at 12:13 pm

      It’s such a lovely time of year! (minus the late snow)

  • Reply
    Pam
    April 5, 2016 at 12:34 pm

    I’m so excited your hoop house worked out! I hadn’t heard of elephant garlic before, so I googled it and suddenly need to plant some! I need to get my veggie garden in gear this year – it was overtaken by bunnies and snakes the last two years πŸ™

    • Reply
      Thefreckledrose
      April 23, 2016 at 12:18 pm

      This is my first year growing it. So far, so good! I can’t wait to give it a try. So sorry, I know how annoying garden critters can be. I don’t have many snakes, but I have lots of moles, voles and groundhogs. Anything that burrows basically tries attacking my garden. Lots of chicken wire (even under my garden beds) has been the only solution.

  • Reply
    Shelly
    April 5, 2016 at 2:06 pm

    We’ve used a hoop house in the spring to get things off to a good start. But I never really get any room cleared out in the garden and ready to go to plant a fall garden. I’m going to talk to my hubby about setting up a new hoop house for this fall and give it a try.

    • Reply
      Thefreckledrose
      April 23, 2016 at 12:20 pm

      That’s great Shelly! It’s definitely worth it, helped out immensely and you learn so much setting it up. Like what works for you & your garden. Let me know how it goes πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Diane
    April 5, 2016 at 2:29 pm

    We occasionally have those long cold (sometimes snowy) springs. I know how frustrating and somewhat depressing they can be! We haven’t faced one for several years, thank goodness. I love your winter hoops! We did that winter before last. It worked pretty well except ours kept blowing away in the strong windy storms. I like your idea of weighing the plastic down. We may try that! We do use hoop houses for springtime transitioning of peppers to the outdoors. They are great for long bed cold framing like that!

    Hang in there! Your spring is on the way πŸ™‚

    • Reply
      Thefreckledrose
      April 23, 2016 at 12:26 pm

      It is definitely frustrating, but worth the wait. Yes, even with the heavy weights, it still tried to blow away a few times. Luckily, it never blew into the neighbors yard or the road. I’m going to add even more bricks next year. I never thought of using it to transition peppers, thats a great idea!

  • Reply
    candy
    April 5, 2016 at 5:41 pm

    Love spring and getting back outside and into the garden

  • Reply
    Pam
    April 5, 2016 at 7:41 pm

    What gifts you have! Gardening is not a gift my father passed on to me and it is one of the things I very much miss since he passed. I understand about the “s” word. We had it here in OH this past Saturday (blizzard like conditions). My daffodils managed it, but the freezing temps in the 20’s has brought their heads to a definite droop! Looks like we might have more of the white stuff before this week is out here in NE OH. So happy to get to meet you and enjoy your post today as your neighbor at the linkup at Intentional Tuesday.

    • Reply
      Thefreckledrose
      April 23, 2016 at 12:42 pm

      Thanks Pam! Glad that the weather is finally warming up. Happy your daffodils made it through. Hoping you are having a happy spring!

  • Reply
    malena penney
    April 5, 2016 at 7:48 pm

    I just love your blog so much….and your photos are just gorgeous! I’m doing the opposite here in NZ, very sadly taking out my dying Summer veges and planting Winter ones….

    • Reply
      Thefreckledrose
      April 23, 2016 at 12:46 pm

      Thank you Malena! What are you planting for winter crops?

  • Reply
    Maggie
    April 5, 2016 at 9:14 pm

    Here is Ohio it is almost time to start the garden. This is my first year planting one so I am very excited!

  • Reply
    Jami
    April 5, 2016 at 10:34 pm

    Oh, all the sweet spring growth in your garden is so inspiring!! Very useful tips, too πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Amanda
    April 5, 2016 at 11:19 pm

    Oh spring how I love thee…Thanks for all the tips πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Dave
    April 6, 2016 at 2:08 pm

    Great post! Your tips around transition the garden into Spring are really helpful. We’ve got a little strawberry going here and I’m motivated to get out there and clean it up a bit. Your Winter garden project sounds great.

    • Reply
      Thefreckledrose
      April 23, 2016 at 2:33 pm

      Thanks Dave! That’s great, I love growing strawberries as well. I really enjoy making strawberry shortcake with my fresh crops πŸ™‚ The winter garden was lots of fun this year, I really did learn so much!

  • Reply
    Bev
    April 6, 2016 at 6:44 pm

    I am trying my hand at gardening this year. last year all my plants died. This was definitely a very informative post.

    • Reply
      Thefreckledrose
      April 23, 2016 at 2:35 pm

      That’s great Bev! I’m sorry about your plants, I’ve lost so many in the past too. It can be heart breaking! Have fun gardening & wishing you luck with your plants πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    simple nature decor
    April 6, 2016 at 9:03 pm

    Thanks for sharing at Dream Create and inspire. your blog is very pretty, I love the name.
    Maria

  • Reply
    Rhonda Albom
    April 6, 2016 at 9:18 pm

    In our family it is my hubby who does most of the gardening. Actually all of it, I only enjoy the results.

    • Reply
      Thefreckledrose
      April 23, 2016 at 2:43 pm

      You are in quite the favorable position! Enjoy it Rhonda πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Karen
    April 7, 2016 at 11:24 am

    Very impressed with your harvest! I had never heard of elephant garlic. It looks great!

    • Reply
      Thefreckledrose
      April 23, 2016 at 2:46 pm

      Thanks Karen! I’m excited to give it a taste test soon!

  • Reply
    pam
    April 7, 2016 at 4:18 pm

    thanks for linking up to Garden Tuesday!

  • Reply
    Jess
    April 7, 2016 at 4:27 pm

    Great post Angie – I’ve been putting the garden off quite a bit recently so this is something I need to tell myself off for! Thanks for making me kick my butt into shape!

    • Reply
      Thefreckledrose
      April 25, 2016 at 11:57 pm

      Thanks Jess! I’m the same way, I avoid the less fun stuff as much as I can! It feels good to get it out of the way though πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Sue Purdy
    April 7, 2016 at 7:44 pm

    Great tips and tricks. I love the idea of having a winter vegetable garden.

    • Reply
      Thefreckledrose
      April 25, 2016 at 11:59 pm

      Thanks Sue! It’s been so much fun so far πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Tianna
    April 8, 2016 at 11:17 am

    so excited about spring! I’m loving growing my own plants/food πŸ™‚ thanks for this inspiration!

  • Reply
    Michelle Ramblingwoods
    April 9, 2016 at 2:26 pm

    Hi Angie…I always learn something…It is cold here in NY..

    • Reply
      Thefreckledrose
      April 26, 2016 at 12:02 am

      Thanks Michelle! It’s sadly still on and off cold here in New England as well! Waiting patiently for the warmer days!

  • Reply
    Donna@Gardens Eye View
    April 11, 2016 at 6:00 pm

    It has been a tough transition, and now this week it seems spring is back so it is out to the garden I go for planting and projects!

  • Reply
    Judith@Lavender Cottage
    April 11, 2016 at 8:45 pm

    I’m glad your hoop house was successful Angie and although you are a little ahead of my Ontario garden, there are spring bulbs shooting up and the temperature is finally warming. I need to get the debris cleaned out to let the perennials through. I don’t do any fall cleanup only in the spring.

    • Reply
      Thefreckledrose
      April 26, 2016 at 12:04 am

      Thank you Judith! So happy to hear it’s warming up in Ontario. Such a beautiful place, hope to visit one day πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Eileen
    April 12, 2016 at 6:36 am

    Hello, it is too early to plant here too. We could still have frost. I enjoyed your post and the great tips!
    Enjoy your day!

  • Reply
    Ruth Daly
    April 13, 2016 at 7:36 pm

    I’ve never had much luck growing things – our climate here is so harsh. But your photos are so inspiring, I’m tempted to give it another try.

    • Reply
      Thefreckledrose
      April 26, 2016 at 12:05 am

      It never hurts to try πŸ™‚ Sometimes I’m surprised how hard nature will fight to make it through even the toughest conditions. You just need to find some hardy plants and give it a go!

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