To keep the ground cool while the seeds are germinating, shade it by placing a board over your rows, raising it off the ground with two flowerpots or bricks. Or use shade cloth or even sheer curtains to help keep the plants cool. When the seedlings emerge, remove the board, then mulch the ground with a half-inch of grass clippings or straw. Add more mulch once the seedlings are 1 to 2 inches tall.
It seems a shame to relegate food plants to second place in the garden. They aren’t as tidy as ornamentals, but they were bred to produce bountiful crops, but they can also look very good, and many of them can fit in well in a mixed border.
The best place to grow tomatoes will have full sun for six hours a day. Hotter southern locations might need a little afternoon shade to give the tomatoes a bit of relief so they can survive and thrive. A well-drained site with rich, loamy soil is ideal. If you don’t have a location with full sun for six hours a day, you might have to trim back some tree branches. If your soil isn’t ideal, start adding organic material like compost to it.
Summer means cantaloupes, honeydews, and watermelon. Plant them now to give ’em a good start.
Once the potato vines blossom, you can carefully dig into the side of the hill to start harvesting new potatoes. Take only what you need so the potato plant can go on producing.
The backbone of the garden is the one-foot square. You take four of these one-foot squares and put them together in a grid. Separating these squares are paths, about a foot or two wide, so you don’t walk on the soil inside the four-foot areas. (Soil compaction is bad news in the garden. I lay board walkways in the garden so I can keep from mashing the soil. A light, airy soil is very good for plants.)