Every spring I used to look forward to the day when it was time to plant our hot bed, a simple little construction that looked like a giant toolbox. The cover consisted of six windows, three on each side. After the ground was spaded it was time to plant the seeds of things that needed a longer growing time than what could be expected if we were to plant directly into the garden. Tomatoes, cabbage, peppers, kohlrabi, broccoli, and cauliflower. Often we would also sow a little lettuce and parsley simply to have an earlier spring time treat. This little hotbed was quite different from the garden, we allowed no space between anything, the windows were closed to keep heat inside and we had to water daily.
By late May and the last threat of a killing frost was gone it would be time to transplant the things from the hotbed into the garden. A lot of Amish transplanted their things earlier and covered the plants with plastic jugs that had the bottoms cut out to protect them from getting too cold. We never did that, thinking we have enough to keep us busy without that extra chore of babying the plants along.
We never had any problem with deer getting into our garden, though starlings and robins were quite another story. We discovered long strips of cloth that resembled snakes finally got rid of the problem we had with the starlings coming to snip off baby bean plants. Little rocks painted red and scattered among the strawberries before the actual berries ripened tended to discourage the robins from coming to snack on the strawberries once they began ripening.
Laundry water used to be saved and poured over cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower to keep it from getting wormy.
Ashes from the wood stove helped the squash and cucumbers from getting blight.
A tablespoon of Epsom salt placed at the bottom of the hole and then a little dirt to cover it when we transplanted tomatoes helped them grow bigger and healthier, we tried adding a quarter cup of sugar to each tomato plant one year after having been recommended to do so to get sweeter tomatoes, but it didn't seem to work. In fact we didn't think they did as well that year and never tried it again.