As the winter snow and ice begins to thaw and the days become consistently longer and warmer, it’s time to start thinking about Spring planting. There are many garden staples that can be safely planted in Missouri from mid-March through April. Below is a list of some of the most common vegetables to start in early spring:
- Brussel Sprouts
- Swiss Chard
The first step in planning any garden is marking your desired garden location with white flags or paint, and requesting a locate through mo1call.com or 811 to have your underground utilities marked. Not only does this ensure that you and those around you are safe while digging, it is also required by law. Simply visit mo1call.com, click on “Homeowner”, then click on “Place a locate request” and follow the simple prompts. Due to soil erosion and other factors, some buried utilities may be just under the surface. Striking one of these lines is incredibly dangerous and costly. Missouri One Call System is on a mission to keep Missourians safe while digging, and it starts with you!
Once your locate request has been received, Missouri One Call System will reach out to each utility on your behalf. The independent utility companies will send their crews to your home to mark their lines with the appropriate colored flags or paint or mark your dig site as “clear”. This process can take up to 3 working days to be completed, so plan ahead if you’re wanting to start a weekend project. After the 3 working days, you can log into mo1call.com and confirm that all the utilities have responded to your request. Once all utilities have responded and your desired garden plot is clear of any colored flags or marks, you may begin preparing your soil for planting. It is important to note that your property may have private lines that are underground and may not be marked. Knowing where any private lines are buried is an important step toward safe digging. Private locators can mark these lines for you.
The soil in Missouri varies greatly, so once you start digging, it’s a good idea to assess the type of soil you have in your yard. There are various ways to decipher the amount of clay, sand and silt in your soil’s composition. It’s not uncommon to need to add some fresh organic matter into your soil. If you compost your food waste, this can be a great, nutrient dense addition to your garden plot. You can also purchase soil from a variety of local establishments. The ideal ratio of your soil make-up for planting is 40 percent sand, 40 percent silt, and 20 percent clay. You’ll hear this mixture referred to as “loam”. It takes the best qualities from each soil particle type. This composition also has good water drainage and allows air to infiltrate the soil like sand, but it also holds moisture well and is fertile like silt and clay.
If you are new to gardening, it can seem very overwhelming and daunting. Rest assured, it’s not as difficult as it may seem. If you can ensure that your garden location has lots of sunlight and nutrient rich soil, soon enough, you’ll have produce right outside your door! If you need a little more guidance on getting started, we have put together a small garden layout, full of beginner friendly vegetation. Feel free to keep this as reference and alter in any way you see necessary. We hope this growing season provides you with a bountiful harvest!