Share Your Spring Garden Ideas

Posted on Mar 29 2011 - 2:32am by Mike Lieberman

A lot of my posts contain the words “I” and “me” a lot. If you’ve been following along, you know that I started my garden from scratch, did some succession planting and thinned out the seedlings. My thoughts on that right now are, “who cares?”

Most of you have been buried in more snow than you can imagine this past winter and are finally starting to see some regular sunlight. It’s almost April and planting season is certainly near .

Since the purpose of this site is to get you to grow your own food, I wanna hear from you. Leave your comments below and let everyone know what your spring garden plans are. Is it your first time? What will you be growing?


54 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Jess Kornfeld March 29, 2011 at 11:21 am -

    I just discovered your blog yesterday and I’m happy I can actually comment on a post so soon, haha.

    This year will be my second… *attempt*… at gardening. I’ll be doing container gardening, as I’m an apartment-dweller in the city of Cincinnati. I tried gardening last year after taking a series of free gardening classes put on by a co-op near me. My attempt was pretty noble (cucumbers, eggplants, tomatoes, and jalapeño peppers along with basic herbs) but only yielded basil, a few heirloom tomatoes and one odd-looking cucumber.


    This year I’m starting smaller and concentrating my efforts on just a few things. I took another single gardening class put on by a local green-living store that a friend of mine has. This was FAR better than the previous year’s classes because it was much more hands-on. I won a door prize of an already potted strawberry transplant, and we were all given a leafy green transplant (I got red russian kale) a strawberry transplant, a bag of soil, and two packets of seeds (breakfast radish and some kind of lettuce). I’m scouring around for some free/cheap flower pots and beds on craigslist or in my community so I can plant the seeds and give the kale some more room than it has in the pot it’s currently in.

    Also, I’m hoping to start composting in my apartment (well, on the balcony!) so I’m hunting around for free used (but clean) 5 gallon buckets in my community so I can have a small composting operation!

    I’m so glad I found your blog! I can’t wait to read more!

  2. Harish Garg March 29, 2011 at 12:41 pm -

    I am in Bangalore, India. My wife and myself bought some pots couple of months and got the lady from the nursery planted coriander, carrots and beats – they all germinated but eventually after a month with no growth. Seems like the lady just threw fistfulls of seeds in the pots. My wife almost gave up after seeing all the plants die. Now, again last week, I gave it another go and have planted coriander, and 2 kinds of beans(lablab and cluster). This time I planted only around 7-8 seeds per pots. it’s been 2-3 days since seeding, so fingers crossed:-).

    Next weekend, I am thinking of making a visit to the nursery again and getting some more seeds for spring vegetables here in south india, like Chillies, tomatos, etc.

  3. Mike Lieberman March 29, 2011 at 2:02 pm -

    Awesome Jess. Keep me updated.

  4. Mike Lieberman March 29, 2011 at 2:03 pm -

    Don’t give up. Learn and keep on improving. Keep me updated.

  5. Ldmmnusa March 29, 2011 at 2:36 pm -

    I have a suburban garden and will be experimenting with planting into hay bales. I have raised beds that I will be planting as well. The adventure will be trying to keep the critters out of the vegetable garden, without resorting to chemicals.

  6. The Sage Butterfly March 29, 2011 at 2:44 pm -

    We have a tiered garden on a hill. Currently, we have several varieties of lettuce, chard, spinach, broccoli, Napa cabbage, and kale. I started some tomatoe plants, but I have not set them in the garden yet. We had snow on Sunday, so I have had to protect some of the lettuces from the freezing temperatures.

  7. Mike Lieberman March 29, 2011 at 4:15 pm -

    I’ve been hearing more and more about planting into hay bales. Definitely keep me updated on that.

  8. Mike Lieberman March 29, 2011 at 4:16 pm -

    Cool. That snow seemed to take people off guard. The joys and wonders of nature.

  9. kewlbrew March 29, 2011 at 5:36 pm -

    Yo from Texas. I have some peppers, carrots, cucumbers and tomatoes going in half whiskey barrels. Everything is doing fine except the tomatoes (may be a bit early). Im also trying out a potato condo (google it) for giggles

  10. Mike Lieberman March 29, 2011 at 6:00 pm -

    You are like the third person to mention that potato condo this week. Keep me updated on it. Definitely intrigued.

  11. Yolanda Vanveen March 29, 2011 at 7:10 pm -

    First I have to finish up cleaning up the leaves still from last fall, then put down a layer of compost. Can’t wait to plant seeds for vegetables and lots of flowers! I have learned to not bother until we reach even sixty degrees for a day..please…soon! Great post! Love to read what others are doing in their garden!

  12. Mike Lieberman March 29, 2011 at 7:54 pm -

    Nice. Hope to one day have some land to lay compost down on. Until then I will do it vicariously through you. Keep me updated.

  13. Crios March 29, 2011 at 8:33 pm -

    I’m planting in buckets my first year, its an experiment. Im in CA so I’ve had started for a month now. 🙂

  14. Mike Lieberman March 29, 2011 at 8:55 pm -

    Nice. Gotta love that about Cali huh?

  15. m00n March 29, 2011 at 9:38 pm -

    i hear straw bales dont have the weed seeds like hay bales

  16. Katherinekelley March 30, 2011 at 12:04 am -

    Last year I got the hair brained idea to move my garden from a spot with OK light, but great soil to a place with better light, but awful soil. I also didn’t take the time to amend it correctly, so things didn’t go so well. This year I beefed up the area by making it a lasagna garden so I was able to skip the nasty tilling part, but this is the first time I’ve tried the lasagna thing. So far so good. Right now it is around 100 square feet or so, and next year I’ll expand it more, but I ran out of compost this year.
    In a couple weeks I’ll put in my seedlings, but I’m not convinced the warm weather is here to stay and when I took ground temp readings last week they were only around 50. I have started tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and tomatillos indoors. My bathroom looks like a bizarre science experiment because my two cats have a special affection for “fresh greens”.
    I already have sugar snaps, lettuce and potatoes going in the ground now and I did have some volunteer corn and tomatoes come back from last year. I have built some boxes for my potatoes so I can unscrew the bottom boards and harvest early if I want to go that route.
    Next week is my anniversary and I came home to an early gift. My fella planted two fig trees in the back yard so I can’t wait to see how they do. Our blueberries and strawberries are already flowering so this year looks better than last. Fingers are crossed!

  17. Michelle March 30, 2011 at 12:17 am -

    Watch the side of the road as you are driving. I have found several large landscaping pots (must have held trees) that apparently had fallen off a trailer. I have also been known to stop and ask landscapers for their empty pots. These do have drainage holes, so if you keep it on the balcony, you may need to pay attention to what is raining down on your neighbor….

  18. baltimoregardener March 30, 2011 at 12:37 am -

    This is my first time ever trying this. I have a balcony that gets a lot of sun in the summer. I’m gonna try growing some basil, tomatoes, peppers, zuchinni and peas. I am a complete novice and am learning a lot from your site.

  19. Mike Lieberman March 30, 2011 at 1:24 am -

    That is all kinds of awesome. Happy Anniversary and yes I will gladly take some figs. Thanks for offering 😉

  20. Mike Lieberman March 30, 2011 at 1:24 am -

    Sweet. The best piece of advice is to keep going and not give up. Keep me updated.

  21. Brianna March 30, 2011 at 1:45 am -

    We moved to a new house last year right in the middle of planting season so I didn’t have a garden, but at least got the benefit of a great organic CSA nearby.

    While I have dabbled for years I finally decided to get ‘real’ with my garden and learn what I was doing. I attended the Organic Growers School Annual Conference in Asheville, NC. We just dug up the front yard sod and I am in the process of double digging 250 sq ft and amending with compost.

    I have about 130 seedlings started indoors, but the cats may have taken out about 20 before I moved them. We’ll see what makes it.

    Umm… Digging… More Digging… We sectioned off a bit of our main blog just to devote to my homesteading pursuits.

    Oh and trying to go completely heirloom seeds.

    I started with containers and small plots. I still have a love of the ease of container gardening. Love your ideas to add even more to our small urban edible front yard.

  22. Jes March 30, 2011 at 2:00 am -

    I am dying to transplant some of my seedlings outside. The weather turns nice this weekend here in KS!

  23. Mike Lieberman March 30, 2011 at 2:43 am -

    Nice. You sure are getting serious. That’s what’s up. I’d love to have a front yard to make edible one. Keep me updated.

  24. Mike Lieberman March 30, 2011 at 2:44 am -

    Sweet. Lemme know how things turn out.

  25. Cassie March 30, 2011 at 3:18 pm -

    I live in south TX and have been really inspired lately to grow some food. About a week ago I planted some herbs: basil, catnip, and rosemary. I found that my chives made it through the freeze we had a couple of months ago and has come back! We have great, almost year round, growing season.
    Hopefully, we can get some other good veggies planted soon!
    Here’s to sustainable living!

  26. Mike Lieberman March 30, 2011 at 5:32 pm -

    That’s what’s up. Keep me updated on the progress.

  27. Maren March 30, 2011 at 8:19 pm -

    I live in NYC and am about to move into a new apartment that has no outdoor space. Though tragic, the new space is pretty big and has a TON of light.
    I feel confident that I can plant things like shade-y herbs, but I haven’t found ANYTHING on people successfully growing veggies indoors.
    Any advice??

  28. Mike Lieberman March 31, 2011 at 1:44 am -

    I’m sure that you can either DIY something together or buy an indoor grow kit. Lemme know which you are interested in, and I can hook you up with some info.

    How much space do you have as well?

  29. Chris April 1, 2011 at 1:26 am -

    Wdup Mike,

    Started my seeds (first time Ive done this) and they are growing kick ass by the windows. I live in Vancouver BC so the sun has just started shining and the flowers are in bloom. I got broccoli, kale, beans and squash seedlings bursting out from the pots, they seem to be doing good. Ill have to thin them out in a bit.

    I got a bunch of pots and herb trays ready on the patio, I grew cucumbers and tomatoes last year, Ill do the same again this year. I also grew Rosemary, Mint and Sage as well as some Lavendar just for the hell of it. Ill keep the Rosemary going but probably will try some new herbs. Plus, I was thinking of growing some Catnip or Dill just to attract the ladybugs as the little aphid bastads tried to destroy my cucumbers!

    Also thinking about attracting bees, I heard that a little water dish keeps’em coming back?

    Anyways, great site! PEACE…

  30. Mike Lieberman April 1, 2011 at 1:57 am -

    Damned aphids wiped out my kale last year hard. Little bastids.

  31. Rootsandwingsco April 1, 2011 at 2:42 am -

    This is why I live in Phoenix! 😉 It makes up for July and August (really June-October stay over 100 too!). I made my own garden boxes last year and added some Huge barrels for lettuces and herbs. They did alright. This year I ammended the heck out of my soil adding steer manure, my own compost (oh yes I did!), etc. I also added a few new pots and barrels and a larger grow box. I have already harvested delicious strawberries (and about 20 more are on the way). The stick I planted last year (that was on clearance and looked dead) is producing blueberries! I also planted three other clearance sticks last year (all of this in mongo pots because I’m in a rental) and now have three citrus looking trees (no production for a good year or two more I’m sure, but they look super healthy), lemon, lime, and orange. I tried broccoli for the first time this year and it was super easy. I’m about ready to eat two nice heads of broccoli. I’ve never had much luck with my beans and peas but they are flourishing already. I’d say the bean vines are about 3 feet high already and are flowering all over the place! I planted about 7 different kinds of tomatoes. Some I planted a few of so I have about 10-15 of them! Can’t wait because I tried some heirloom purples, stripes, and yellows that I’ve never tried before. I have probably 30 tomatoes that are already about quarter size and gobs more flowers! Just today my spaghetti squash opened up it’s first flower and about 5 more flowers will open tomorrow! I also have zukes, cucumbers, yellow squash, cantaloupe, watermellon, cauliflower, radishes, a few types of carrots, lots of lettuces and greens, spinach, herbs (cilantro, basil, lavender, rosemary, thyme), lots of sunflowers, garlic, onions, potatoes, blackberries, green peppers, and tons of flowers to attract the disappearing bees! Not one thing has died so far and actually look so much better than last year’s garden did! My green pepper plants have stayed tiny though. They did that last year as well and I don’t know why. I need to look into that. I’m redoing my whole garden area. It used to be just utalitarian (just something to produce fresh, healthy, organic food for my family) but I am so happy when I’m out there that I decided to make it pretty too. I’ve added seating and some more fun things. This weekend I hope to set up my drip system. Sorry to go on so long but most people don’t want to hear all about my garden…and you made the mistake of asking! 😉


  32. Mike Lieberman April 1, 2011 at 3:09 am -

    Hahaha. Damned you got a lot going on. I’m coming over for dinner.

  33. Anna April 2, 2011 at 3:12 pm -
    These people grow indoors. It’s quite a set up though. I bet it could be done on a small scale though.

  34. Mike Lieberman April 2, 2011 at 5:36 pm -

    Interesting. Thanks for the share.

  35. Mike Lieberman April 3, 2011 at 8:25 pm -

    Sweet. That’s what’s up. Keep me updated.

  36. Eve April 4, 2011 at 10:10 am -

    I’m in Brooklyn and I have an 8 x 8 vegetable box that was created two years ago. I have grown potatoes, the usual herbs, tomatoes, lettuce, spinach and even corn. The squirrels really loved the organic corn. Two years in a row they attacked it and ate it all. I learned my lesson, I’m not growing corn this year.

    Right now I have tomatoes, eggplants and brussels sprouts seeds growing indoors waiting for the last frost, which was April 1st, but who knows with this weather. I’m trying to fix the veggy box and make it as a self watering system before I plant some seeds outdoors. But I’m getting antsy and want to just start planting some stuff…

    In addition, I just cleared up a corner of the yard to grow asparagus. Getting rid of old lead dirt and buying all new dirt.

    BTW – please tell your readers to not grow in their backyard dirt unless they get it tested (local universities do it). Mine came back with 10x the recommended lead. Everything that I grow has new dirt.

    I found you doing research for self watering containers.. my biggest thing is to recreate it with the stuff that I already have.. and make it pretty as well.

  37. Mike Lieberman April 4, 2011 at 1:57 pm -

    I’ve heard that cayenne pepper in the soil will help to detract the squirrels some.

    The lead thing is certainly an issue in urban (and all areas). Definitely something to be aware of.

    Sounds like you got lots going on, which is nice. Thanks for the tips and keep me updated on your progress.

  38. Anonymous April 4, 2011 at 7:01 pm -

    Whiskey barrels! Now there’s an idea. No plastic, I like it! I have also looked at a potato condo, that would be fun, but I get a ton of potatoes from my CSA anyway.

  39. Dan Polley April 4, 2011 at 7:42 pm -

    This is my second year with a garden. We’ll be planting lettuce from seeds, but everything else we plan to grow will be plant transplants purchased from our local farmers market.

    We’ll be doing lettuce and herbs in containers and the garden will have tomatoes, zucchini, cucumber, jalapenos, green peppers, among others.

    (Just found your blog today, by the way.)

  40. katy April 5, 2011 at 11:23 am -

    I’m going to try to plant my tomatoes again this year in containers. They were going great last year…grew really tall and strong, tons of blossoms and I ended up getting only 2 tomatoes from 2 plants….grrrr!!! I even used the blossom spray, since the bees seemed to be ignoring my plants….nothing….hmmm Ok, enough with my rant…hopefully I have better luck this year. But that’s my plan along with trying other plants in the self-watering containers.

  41. Twinkle69 April 8, 2011 at 5:48 pm -

    I live in Orlando fl, bought a tiny cottage a year ago with a tiny yard i want for growing….Don’t have any experience, but im reading up, googling and finding sites like this one of peeps that started just like me…. so i feel like family learning along with everyone else. I’m totally for growing our own.. I’m currently reading “The Antioxidant Miracle” Totally recommend it.. Ready set here i go…. cross your fingers

  42. Mike Lieberman April 8, 2011 at 8:10 pm -

    Cool. Thanks for the recommendation and keep me update!

  43. Mymanga2 April 20, 2011 at 2:33 am -

    I’m in an apt in Queens. Bought a grow box and on 4/1/2011 planted a window-box rom a tomato , 2 Gyspy peppers and 4 alpine strawberrries on on box. Hopefully I’m not over crowding them.
    My strawberries plants are growing very well. Just ordered two more self water containers and will plant some flowers, peppers, tomatoes and lettuce that im starting from seeds

    Playing with growin microgreens now. It sounds like a lot of fun

  44. Mike Lieberman April 20, 2011 at 4:24 am -

    Nice. Lemme know how thins progress.

  45. barri April 22, 2011 at 12:52 am -

    hey mike! new to gardening, found your page on FB couple of weeks ago, so informative, thanks so much for all the help! i’m uber excited and totally racked by garden OCD, so i’ll try to keep it short! ;p

    i started a small balcony container garden here in l.a.; like you, mine faces east and gets about the same amount of sun (4-6), hopefully my efforts will be rewarded.

    flowers – snapdragons, begonias, freesia, armeria, day lillies, a few succulents, and a lil horsetail rush (hoping to attract bees/butterflies with a lil flower bar, but nothing yet)

    veggies- 2 tomatoes-pink brandywine, yellow pear. 2 cucumbers- bush and lemon. green oak leaf lettuce, spinach. 2 peppers- thai hot, and jalapeno. lastly, i’m attempting sweet potatoes in a container! oh, and i have herb seedlings started in the house (but theyaren’t looking too hot).

  46. Mike Lieberman April 22, 2011 at 2:43 pm -

    Nice Barri. Don’t let any minor setbacks keep you down. Learn from them and keep goin. Most importantly have fun.

    Keep me updated.

  47. Lisa April 23, 2011 at 9:11 am -

    Hi, love the site, very helpful. Wondered if you know how long to wait for seeds to sprout before losing hope? A neighbor and I in Tucson, AZ planted carrots, radishes, snap peas, and green onion from seed about a week ago. The radishes are sprouting, my original reason for going online to find out when to thin them because they’re sprouting great….but nothing from the others. Do some seeds take longer to sprout? This is our first garden and neither of us really know what we’re doing. 🙂 thanks!

  48. Mike Lieberman April 23, 2011 at 4:14 pm -

    Word. Glad you finding it helpful. The amount of time that it takes seeds to sprout will depend on the seeds and other conditions as well (soil, temperatures, sunlight, etc). It will usually say on the packet.

    Also sometimes depending on the seeds, they just won’t sprout at all because they are crap seeds. You might’ve heard the phrase “germination rate”. That’s the percentage of seeds that you can expect to sprout.

    To be safe, I’d sat give it about a month. If you got nothing…plant some more.

    Keep me updated.

  49. Justfeedmebooks April 29, 2011 at 6:06 pm -

    I wanted to say thank you for your blog! You’re an inspiration. I’ve just begun my first garden and I’m thrilled. I have a patio tomatoe plant and a potatoe barrel so far. I’m thrilled to see what comes of it!

  50. Mike Lieberman May 1, 2011 at 4:42 pm -

    Nice. That’s what’s up. Keep me updated.

  51. Nakia May 16, 2011 at 12:36 am -

     Hi, I’m trying to do a garden for the first time on my own.  I live in Virginia Beach, VA.I started most of my garden from seedlings. I planted Roma  and beef stake tomatoes, cucumbers, yellow squash and zucchini, bell peppers, beets  swiss chard, chinese cabbage and dwarf choi sum. The plants that I got at my local nursery are giant marconi sweet peppers, black beauty eggplants, cherry tomatoes. I am also growing some zinnia and marigolds to help with the cross pollination of my plants. I am growing 99% of my garden in styrofoam coolers in my grandmother’s back yard.  And last but not least I am also growing herbs basil, parsley, rosemary and tyme.

  52. Mike Lieberman May 16, 2011 at 2:49 am -

    Sweet. That’s what’s up. Keep me updated on the progress. 

  53. M Jozie07 March 26, 2012 at 9:35 am -

     hi mike…i am a frustrated apt dweller dying to start my own garden…unfortunately i have zero balcony space and the minimal space at my entrance that i do have is shady most of the day…plus, this area is a so called “commons area” that my neighbors impead upon, and not to my liking. nothing i can do…so with all that said…i have heard about people in my position who rent out shared plots…in order to grow their gardnes…do this indeed exist in the Asheville Area, and if so…can u please help???

    thanks mike.


  54. Mike Lieberman March 26, 2012 at 1:19 pm -

    I’m not too familiar with the Asheville area. You’d have to look into that.

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