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Spring Planting

Reap nutritious bounty from your garden this year by getting a head start on spring planting. It’s easy!

When to Start?

Check the seed packets to learn how many weeks before the last frost date you should plant. You can find out where your region's frost date is by visiting

Planting 123s

1. Use clean seed trays or pots with good drainage. Fill with fresh, commercial potting mix to within 1/4-inch (5 mm) of the rim. Moisten soil at least 1 hour before planting.

2. Sow seeds, moisten gently and place in either a light or dark area, as directed on the packet, until germinated. Once germinated, place seedlings in good natural light; supplement with florescent bulbs if needed.

3. Keep seedlings moist, but do not overwater. Once seedlings establish true leaves, fertilize once a week. One week before planting, harden the plants by moving outdoors to a shady place for extended lengths of time.

What to Plant?

Annual herbs and vegetables are the easiest to grow. Find seeds at garden centers or shop online at recognized seed companies. Or, for a sense of heritage, check out Seeds of Diversity for companies that sell heirloom seeds.

Try one or all three of these tasty plants, perfect for novice gardeners:

Growing Tips
Serving Suggestions
Tomatoes like lots of room to grow so transplant into individual pots once established. Hollow out cherry tomatoes and stuff with Summer Fresh Four Cheese and Crab Dip for a bite-sized, fresh appetizer.
Sweet Peppers
Soak seeds in a weak solution of water and chamomile tea to speed up germination. Pile strips of grilled peppers onto toasted baguette slices spread with Summer Fresh Roasted Eggplant Hummus and sprinkle with feta or goat cheese.
Cucumbers have sensitive roots so plant seeds in biodegradable peat pots that can be planted directly into the ground. Toss diced cucumber with Summer Fresh Bruschetta and hot sauce for a fresh, ‘gazpacho’ topper for grilled chicken or fish.

Amy Snider-Whitson
President, The Test Kitchen Incorporated

Amy Snider-Whitson has developed nutrition programs and guided food marketers to use health and diet messages responsibly and meaningfully.

She employs a battery of nutrition databases and has contacts at the CFIA, USDA, FDA and ADA with whom she frequently consults to help make responsible claims that can help consumers to lead healthier lives.

Contact Amy at

Click to read Amy's Full Bio

Past Articles

• Nutritious Harvest Vegetables

• Smart After School Snacks

• Summer Salad Days

• Weeknight Grill Buddies

• Seven Layer Heaven

• I Love Mom

• Spring Planting

• Nutrition Myths

• Family Day Fun

• Cupboard Clean-Up: Snack Attack

• Holiday Party Survival Guide

• Entertaining Special Diets

• Thanksgiving Shakedown

• Dinner Made Easy

• Glycemic Index Primer

• Summertime Switch Up

• Just For Men

• Mommy Love

• Spring Bounty

• Getting Kids to Eat Healthy Food

• Food for the Heart

• Countdown to improve your health

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