What we Recommend
You should buy your seeds in December if you can for the following year’s growing season. Always look for non-GMO seeds and organic options. We purchase seeds from High Mowing Seeds https://www.highmowingseeds.com/ or Johnny’s Seeds https://www.johnnyseeds.com/
We get our onion plants from https://dixondalefarms.com/product-category/onion-plants/long-day-onion-plants/. We need long day onion plants for our region. In the past, we have purchased potatoes from https://www.mainepotatolady.com/ordering.asp. This is great if you order a lot of potato seeds. Or you can get a group order together to get volume discounts. We would always drive up there to get them to save on shipping. It was always a nice drive up there. Another option is to purchase from your local garden centers for smaller scale gardens but even though you can buy small packets from the businesses listed above. Check your expiration dates. Don’t want anything that expired 5 years ago. You can also go to your local coop, buy organic potatoes, let them sprout and use those for planting. Something to think about is you can have successive plantings, meaning, for example radishes, you can plant a small area, eat them fresh and before you run out seed another small area, etc.
When to plant? In our area, when we plant in the field we would seed cold hardy things like lettuces, radishes, turnips, beets, carrots, onion plants, potatoes, the first or second week in May. Summer loving plants such as tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, squashes, we put in the ground usually around Memorial Day weekend. You would also plant your bean seeds at this time as well.
We recommend that you get your soil tested yearly so you can add amendments as needed per the results. We like these two companies because they give you a more in depth reading and more nutrients that are available or lacking in your soil. Make sure you get the trace mineral test. We recommend these two labs:
International Ag labs: https://aglabs.com/ under the services tab. We prefer this company because they will tell you what to use.
Logan Labs: https://www.loganlabs.com/ (Standard soil analysis)
We use North Country Organics https://norganics.com/. You can read about them and their products on their website. Agway carries them and if they are out they will special order for you. Other places carry them as well. Just take a look at their website.
Compost (not a fertilizer) is probably the most important thing to think about. Your compost is your carbon to hold your nutrients and mineral in place. Also helps hold moisture. We get tri-axle loads of compost delivered each year. We get the beautifully screened compost from Gelinas Excavation in Concord http://gelinasexcavation.com/. There is a delivery fee. You may want to pal up with folks in your neighborhood to get a delivery and divide it up. You can also check your local landscapers.
Stone dust/rock dust is just crushed up rocks (contains up to 90 different minerals) – such as from the quarries in Barre, Vermont. When we first moved here, we got a tri-axle load delivered from Connecticut. We still have some. It is so fine, it floats in water. You would use this once at the very beginning on new ground. Not sure of a local source.
We also use Azymite and boron. Don’t go to your feedstore go to Walmart (I know) go to 20 Mule Team Borax. The 4 lb. box will last a long time. We mix with water, 1 tsp. with 1 gallon of water is good for 1,000 square feet.
Foliar feeding is another one of our ways in getting the nutrients that the plants needs faster than amending the soil.
The best way to utilize all of these will be based on your soil test. Don’t just start adding stuff not knowing.
In the fall you should cover crop your garden when you put it to bed. We can go over this at the April or May meeting.
Highly, highly recommend Dr. Elaine Ingham books on soil health. She is the expert! You can also find her on You-Tube.