One of the simplest systems is to jot a schedule down on a calendar, preferably one that you use every day so you'll see reminders regularly. First, list the crops you want to grow on a sheet of paper or in a garden notebook. Next, determine your average last spring frost date, by calling your local Cooperative Extension Service office or checking the Internet. Start your planting schedule with the first crop on your list.Check the seed packet(s) for sowing and transplanting recommendations. Let's use tomatoes as an example. The seeds need to be started indoors 6 to 8 weeks before the last spring frost date and transplanted out once the weather warms up. To determine when to sow seeds, count back 6 to 8 weeks from your frost date, then jot a note, such as "sow tomatoes," on your calendar. Make a similar note for the recommended transplant date, 2 weeks after the last frost date. Repeat the process for each crop you are planning to grow.If you end up with too many crops to sow or transplant on a particular date, simply move some of them to another date that works for you. The end result is an organized plan of attack for your spring gardening activities.Reprinted from The Veggie Gardener's Answer Book Copyright 2008 by Barbara W. Ellis, with permission from Storey Publishing. Photo credit: Reitze Oenema
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