Oct 13

When to Plant – Early Spring

These Vegetables are planted mid-March to early April, or approximately 10-12 weeks before the last expected frost. These tolerate cold well and in some cases actually benefit from it. These are the seed packets that state ‘plant as soon as the ground can be worked’ or ‘early spring’.

Beets The Cabbage Family Peas Radishes Rutabagas Salad Greens Spinach Swiss Chard Turnips

Beets -If you don’t like beets, but have never eaten a homegrown one, reconsider. The green tops harvested early in the spring can be eaten raw in salads or steamed. The beets then can be eaten at every stage and at the end of the season they store better than many other root crops.

The Cabbage Family includes Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, and Cauliflower. The best time to plant is early or at the end of the summer as these veggies do not like the heat. Because they are all related you should avoid planting any members of the family in the same place in the following years. For this reason I prefer to ‘keep the family together’. Note that although Chinese Cabbage is related, it prefers to be grow in the summer months. Don’t plant near Strawberries.

Onions can be planted from seed, sets, or plants. I usually order some plants and pick up sets (small onions) from the local nursery.

Peas, including Snow and Snap Peas are usually the first seeds I plant because I often grow them in planters that warm up faster so the soil can be worked first. I prefer the snow peas, eating/freezing the whole pod. Shelling common garden peas can take a lot of time and we are not that into them.

Potatoes “Trash Can Potatoes”

Radishes come in many different flavors and sizes and can be grown early spring and at the end of summer into fall. I never understood why Horseradish was so name until I tasted a homegrown radish. They pack a lot of flavor punch!

Rutabagas can be grown this time of year or planted mid-July for a fall crop (100 days from seed to table). These are most often used in stews, but we do also like them mixed with mashed potatoes. This works well with turnips and parsnips too. Mmmm!

Salad Greens include all the lettuces. The beauty of Salad Greens is that they can be planted early spring and many through the summer and into the fall. They will tolerate light frosts. So get your salad on! Don’t forget to include include some beet tops.

Spinach can be planted early spring and again late summer. Too much heat will cause the plants to bolt, making the flavor bitter. New Zealand Spinach is not actually a spinach, but it is used the same way and slower to bolt. Likewise Red Malabar spinach, though it is not as good cooked.

Swiss Chard’s flavor is very similar to spinach, but swiss chard offers the added benefit of a season-long harvest. Leave a few plants in the ground and mulch them. If the winter isn’t too severe, you just might have some fresh chard early the following spring.

Turnips take a little longer to grow than radishes but can be planted throughout the season. They are very nutritious and most commonly used is stews.