A dedicated gardener often watches the weather with great interest in the spring with hopes of planting a garden as early as possible. The earlier you plant seeds, the earlier you can harvest vegetables, making timing important when planting a garden. Get a jump on the growing season by planting early. You can enable early planting by warming the soil and protecting your plants from spring frosts. The result will be a tasty salad several weeks ahead of schedule.
Prepare the growing area by working the soil with the garden spade. Amend the soil with compost or peat moss and work this in well. Rake the soil to make it smooth and level.
Cut the row cover fabric with the scissors to cover your planting area to make it fit your growing area. Lay down the row cover fabric over the entire soil area. Secure the edges of the row cover with large rocks or bricks.
Cut slits in the row cover fabric to accommodate the rows of seeds or seedlings. Plan the row spacing according to the planting instructions for the varieties of seeds or seedlings you are planting.
Plant the seeds or seedlings along the slits you made in the row cover fabric. Follow the specific planting instructions to space each seed or seedling variety properly. Water the seeds or seedlings thoroughly immediately after planting them.
Cut the bottom 2 inches off the milk jugs with the scissors--you need one milk jug for each seed or seedling. Push the cut edge of the milk jug over the seeds or seedlings to insulate them from cold temperatures. Remove the lids from the jugs, but reserve them for frosty nights.
Water the plants through the tops of the milk jugs, when necessary.
Leave the milk jugs in place until daily temperatures begin to climb above 50 degrees F regularly. Watch the weather and if frost is likely, place the lids onto the milk jugs to keep the plants warmer (removing the lids again the following morning). Remove the row cover fabric at the same time that you remove the milk jugs.