Spring Gardening Ideas From Our Favorite Social Media Accounts

by Katherine Sacks

Published: 4/12/22, Last updated: 4/22/22

Are you ready to join the Great American Gardening Boom? It’s not too late. Whether you’re living in a warm climate where first crops are already being harvested, or up North where the last frost date has (probably? hopefully?) just passed, it’s not too late to join what Burpee seed company’s chairman recently called the “Gardening Age,” thanks to a projected third-year-in-a row of double-digit, record-breaking seed and plant sales for the company.

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More people are gardening than ever. According to some studies, roughly 18.3 million people began gardening in response to the pandemic. And people are sticking with it: a 2021 National Gardening Association study found that 30 percent of gardeners intend to increase their gardening activities post-pandemic and 59 percent intend to keep the level of activity the same. Some of these gardeners are using full-scale backyard gardens, others look to container gardens in small spaces to get a few plants set up. School gardens provide educational opportunities for children, while community gardens allow those without green space to plant. If you want to grow, you can find the space and resources you need.

Are you one of those gardeners, or do you want to be? There are some basic gardening tips that you’ll find in every guide (including our own Get Growing guide): gather your tools, choose the best plants for your space, and prepare new gardening beds with compost and fresh soil. With hashtags like #gardeningtips and #gardeningideas in top use, we often turn to some of our favorite gardeners on social media for some outside-the-box ideas gardening ideas and tips. Here are some of our favorite recent spring gardening ideas:

Look For Quick Sprouting Plants

One common mistake for first-time gardeners is not starting soon enough; some seeds need to be sprouted in grow trays or seed beds, then transferred into the ground when they reach a certain maturity. Other seeds are planted directly into the ground. Many seeds take weeks to sprout and then need weeks in the soil to grow into plants, then flower, and then finally grow into vegetables to eat. From seed to mature fruit, a tomato can take 80 days to grow, a pumpkin can take 100 days and a hot pepper can take 150 days.

But there are plenty of vegetables you can choose to grow this spring that will pop up in much less time, rewarding your hard work quickly. Kamal Bell of North Carolina’s @SankofaFarms, who shares home gardening advice along with behind-the-scenes information about his 12-acre regenerative farm, recently suggested curly kale, red chard and lettuce. These greens are cold-tolerant, which means they can be planted early, when it’s possible that the temperatures will still dip, and still survive into the warmer months. Other early spring crops include edible flowers such as sweet peas, poppies, and calendula, and greens like lettuce, parsley, and spinach.

Maximize Your Use of Seed Starting Beds

There are many ways to start seeds: in plastic trays, molded peat pots or DIY containers like egg shells or toilet paper rolls. Houston-based Timothy Hammond, who shares video tutorials and tips for vegetable gardening over at @bigcitygardener, recently shared this video of his approach for this year, embracing seed starting beds. Some gardeners set aside a small area of their garden for starting the seeds of tender young plants, which they later transplant to other areas. Hammond suggests using “minimal pots [and] more seed blocks and makeshift seedbeds.” Inspired by a friend who uses the “lazy people” approach, Hammond skips the individual cells and fancy trays, and he doesn’t take up garden space for sprouting. Instead he fills large containers with moist soil, then spreads his seeds in rows. When the seedlings get bigger, he will transplant them into pots or garden beds.

 

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A post shared by Timothy Hammond (@bigcitygardener)

Embrace the Heat and Wind

For many intrepid gardeners, some of the fun is trying out new things and troubleshooting when problems arise. The world of garden supplies is full of gadgets and tools, but luckily social media provides a community of testers with advice on which items work, and which are totally unnecessary. A lot of avid gardeners, including Sacramento-based Usha Ambrish (@too_many_interests), suggest using a heating mat and grow lights to help encourage seedling growth. “I am completely sold on the heat mat and the grow lights!!” she wrote last year. “This is the first time I am using them and the seeds sprouted fast and [are] growing well without becoming leggy. From my past experience, the #eggplants and #peppers take almost a month to sprout without this set up. Definitely makes life easy!!!”

Ambrish places bowls of water near the seedlings to add humidity, along with some apple cider vinegar to attract any possible fruit flies. One of her gardener friends shared another common tip on her post, suggesting the use of a low speed fan with the grow lights, which can help simulate the force of the wind and strengthen the roots.

 

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A post shared by Usha Ambrish (@too_many_interests)

Learn About Plant Friends AKA Companion Plants

Maine-based gardener Allison Vallin Kostovick of @finchandfolly recently shared that the Northeastern snow has melted and she’s in the middle of garden clean-up and planting prep, with plans to sow peas, radishes and early spring flowers. She also shared this fun video and tip about companion planting, “Things that go well together in the kitchen, grow well together in the garden. Like tomatoes + basil + onions + oregano + garlic.”

Companion planting, which can be used in home gardening much the same way it is used in commercial agriculture, is a method of intercropping two or more species for some benefit, such as pest control, increased yield or improved flavor. Spring vegetable companion planting may include nasturtium and cucumber or lettuce and chives. The Old Farmers Almanac and other guides provide comprehensive companion planting lists.

 

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A post shared by Allison — organic gardener (@finchandfolly)

Prune It Right

They say you can learn anything on the internet right? The great thing about #gardentok is that you can find videos and advice on any gardening skill or question. Kyle Hagerty @UrbanFarmstead uses lush photography and videography to give a behind-the-scenes look at his Sacramento urban farm, offering useful tips on a variety of produce and hands-on lessons on gardening techniques. In this video, he shares tips for properly pruning fruit trees, including how and where to cut the branches for the best thinning and fruit growth. Also check out his videos on propagating basil, tips for growing beans and more.

 

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A post shared by Kyle Hagerty | Urban Farmstead (@urbanfarmstead)

DIY Gardening Tools

There are some basic tools that you need to get started as a gardener: a trowel, watering can or hose, and gloves are all pretty much required for the tasks at hand. Other tools are nice to have, like equipment to provide shade and support for plants, scissors and shears, or various soil amendments to give your plants their best shot at thriving

Some savvy gardeners make the most of what they already have and DIY some of those tools, cutting old plastic bottles into soil scoops, plant markers, worm towers made from PVC pipe and more. A garden kneeler or knee pad can help protect knees and joints from prolonged periods of gardening work, but no need to buy something fancy. You’ll find plenty of ideas for DIY kneel pads on social media and YouTube, like @thedoortobackyard who repurposed a basmati rice bag to make her kneeler or Diana (@southerkrazed) who picked up a few craft supplies, including washi tape, to make her version. Following this tutorial from Spoonflower, you can upcycle scrap fabrics and use old, stale beans, seeds or grains from your pantry as the filling.

 

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A post shared by thedoortobackyard (@thedoortobackyard)

Top photo by geshas/ Adobe Stock.

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