Get an Early Start on Your Planting

Here’s a quick trick to get an early start on planting:

Fill a length of old gutter with a mixture of potting soil and organic fertilizer. Plant seeds according to the package instructions. Place indoors by a south-facing window or under a grow light. A greenhouse or cold frame will also work so long as the optimum soil temperature for germination (21-32°C / 70-90°F) can be maintained. A soil thermometer can help you to determine your soil temperature. Water sparingly—the soil should be damp but not soaked.

This system works particularly well for beans, which germinate readily in warm soil but don’t like those cold dips in the weather that spring often brings.

Once the weather has warmed up, dig a shallow trench in a well-drained, raised garden bed and using a trowel, slide the plants into it.

Or, to get an early jump on your peas, plant them up while the ground is still too cold to plant, then slide the seedlings into your garden bed as soon as the soil is ready to be worked.