1. When to start - In early August, but as late as early to mid-September
2. Seeds - Organize, order, if necessary, and read recommendations and number of
days until harvest for your seeds. Plan out your plantings.
3. Soil Preparation –
· Add compost, composted manure, rock powders, or whatever is needed to increase
fertility and organic matter. (Soil tests are available at your County Extension
Office, if you are interested. Eliot Coleman adds alfalfa meal, which I haven’t
located locally, yet.)
· Incorporate soil amendments, loosen and aerate the top several inches of soil with
a broadfork, spade, hoe, and/or rototiller.
· Do not work so deeply that you disturb the soil structure.
· Build up a raised bed, if desired.
· Smooth the top of the bed with a rake. You don’t want the soil fragments on the
surface too much larger than the seeds you’ll be covering up.
4. Cool the soil –
Thoroughly water the bed.
Cover the bed with cardboard and thick mulch, wet newspaper, or anything that will
insulate the soil from the heat.
Check it every so often to keep it moist and to see if it has cooled.
5. Plant your seeds according to the directions on the package.
6. Lightly mulch seedbed to help conserve moisture, although some seeds prefer darkness
to germinate, and some seeds prefer light. (I cover carrots back up with the cardboard
and mulch until they germinate, for instance, and I don’t mulch lettuce at all.)
7. Water regularly but don’t over-water. Keeping the seedbed moist is critical when
the weather is hot.
8. Provide shade, an insect barrier, and later on, protection from the cold, using
floating row covers and plastic. (See handout on Low Tunnels.)
9. Thin plants according to package directions, and keep the bed well weeded. BACK