Any early gardening tips?

Spring is here! Around my neighborhood I’m already seeing foot-high leeks, kale, and chard popping out of garden boxes. Meanwhile, my vegetable patch remains covered in a layer of last fall’s leaves. If you have any tips for early gardening, I’m all ears. Is it worth throwing some seeds out in the mud this early in the year?

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  1. We started some seeds indoors for the first time this year, as a project with my 4-year-old who’s been reading about the life cycle of plants.

    I took an egg carton, cut the top off to use as a “saucer” (with a liner of foil) under the egg cups, poked holes in the bottom of the egg cups, filled them with soil from the garden bed, and had my son put pea seeds in. We kept the carton on a windowsill, watered it together every two days, and by the end of the week the seeds had sprouted.

    After two weeks I started sticking the carton outdoors during the day to harden off the plants, and last weekend I stuck them in the ground (by this point, the cardboard of the carton was so moist it was easy to rip apart and I planted the sprouts in their carton cups). Unlike me, the pea plants seem to be enjoying the rain and are doing great (we live just north of you, in Seattle).

    I’ve got carrot seeds in a second egg carton and am thinking of starting some lettuce and zucchini in the next one as soon as we’re done eating the eggs!

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