How to Start Your Garden

Now that spring is almost here, it’s time to start your garden! Sadly, starting a garden is not quite as simple as throwing the seeds down. Depending on what geographical region you live in, and what vegetables you plan to grow, you’ll have to make a plan to start the seeds and determine when to plant them. Native Roots in Durango, Colorado is here to help!

Know your Zone!

Steve Albert from Harvest to Table put’s it best, “The time for sowing depends on where you live. What to plant depends upon the season and weather.” So, to have a successful garden, you must determine the best time to plant based off of your climate. Furthermore, to grow happy vegetables, you’ll have to pay attention to what time of the season to plant them. For example, squash grows best when planted later in the season when it’s warmer, whereas broccoli is a bit tougher and can handle being planted early in the season. In order to determine when to start your growing process, you’ll have to approximate which planting zone you are in. Zones are determined by first and last frosts of the year. Here in Durango, Colorado, we live in Zone 5 which means that our last freeze will be around May 15th, and our first freeze will be around October 15th. This acts as a guide to help you schedule your growing season, and will ensure that you get the most out of your garden.

But you don’t have to wait for the planting season to start growing vegetables. Once you’ve established your growing period based on where you live, you’ll need to sort your seeds according to which part of the season they need to be planted in. You can start your seeds indoors to get a jump-start on growing your garden.

When it comes to growing vegetables, there are two types of groups: cool and warm season vegetables crops.

Cool Season

What exactly are cool season crops? Cool season crops are plants that have adapted to cold climates, so they actually prefer cooler weather. If cool season crops are planted in warmer temperatures, they can potentially grow to be too woody or bitter to eat. Steve Albert explains, “Cool-season crops should be planted so that they mature when the weather is cool, either in spring or early summer or in autumn or winter.” This means that cool season crops will be ready to harvest when the weather is still cold outside, or about 40°F. These make great for a great early start to your garden because they can be planted early in the spring, or late in the summer for a fall harvest before winter comes. Consider planting them in the shade if you plan to start any cool season crops towards the end of summer. Get some of these started now to kick off your garden!

  • Cabbage

  • Carrots

  • Broccoli

  • Spinach

  • Onions

  • Radishes

  • Peas

  • Lettuce

Warm Season

Warm season crops are plants that have adapted to a climate that is warmer. Because of their dependence on hotter temperatures, they are very sensitive to frost and should only be planted after the last predicted frost has occurred in spring. If warm season vegetables are planted while temperatures are still below about 50°F, they will not grow well until the soil is warmer. Plant these after the last frost!

  • Tomatoes

  • Peppers

  • Eggplant

  • Watermelon

  • Squash

  • Beans

  • Sweet corn

Starting Seeds Indoors

You don’t have to wait to start your garden! Getting a start on sprouting your seeds is a great way to set your garden up for success. For a foolproof way to start your seeds indoors, check out the Old Farmers Almanac.

Have more questions?

Stop by Native Roots any time to talk gardening tips, get supplies, and meet the cat, Guido! To learn more about gardening tips and techniques, keep an eye out for upcoming gardening classes. All classes are free and open to the public. Stop by or visit the website to discover more!