April is here and the weather is right for planting cool season crops. You have had your soil tested and added organic matter to enrich the soil. A couple weeks prior to planting is good time for applying most organic fertilizers as it gives the nutrition time to spread throughout the surrounding soil. Unlike synthetic fertilizers, organic fertilizers don’t create high levels of salts, such as nitrates, which disturb or even kill beneficial soil organisms. Organic fertilizers release nutrients slowly and naturally and there are many choices available at local nurseries. Ask for advice.
If you’re going to be direct seeding your beds, you are not going to want to mulch yet so young plants can germinate. However, if you will be using starts/transplants, mulch once you’ve done your soil preparation. A thick layer of mulch (shredded leaves or straw, e.g.) can protect your prepared soil against weed seeds and other problems.
With our crazy Colorado up and down temperatures, planting frost-tolerate spring vegetables is the way to go. Historically, we have experienced frost up until mid-May so holding off on any warm season vegetables like tomatoes or peppers is smart. Peas, broccoli, kale, arugula, cabbage, spinach, carrots, radishes, scallions, cilantro, and lettuce are examples of frost-tolerate vegetables that can be planted now. Colorado State University Extension has an excellent planting guide that will explain in more detail how and when to plant vegetable crops.
You can find this guide, CMG GardenNotes #720 Vegetable Planting Guide.
Next month we will look at preparing for planting popular vegetables like tomatoes and planting companion crops.