Spring is finally here and everyone is anxious to get the yard cleaned up and the garden planted. So anxious we sometimes start too early. If you have a ground garden it is optimal to wait till the ground warms to about 50 degrees or warmer. With 80 degree highs it seems only right to start planting. Just remember a good rule of thumb is to follow what zone you are in. In southern Wisconsin we are zone 5 and are pretty safe to plant after Mother’s Day. Check to see what is the last possible day for frost to occur and then plant after that date. Planting in the spring means planting vegetables that love cooler temperatures. Five early spring veggies you can plant now are:
There are a variety of peas that you can plant in the spring and then again in the fall. Snow peas, sugar snap peas and shell peas are cold weather plants and are best grown by direct sowing into the garden once the soil can be worked. Once you harvest, wait to late summer and plant again for an early fall harvest. It is recommended to sow 6 weeks before the last frost and that is only if your ground and soil is not frozen.
Spinach loves cooler temperatures that stay below 75 degrees. Plant at least 12 to 15 seeds per foot of the row to ensure plenty of growth. Spinach loves well drained soil and nutrient rich soil. It can be planted in sunny or shaded locations.
Lettuce is one of the easiest vegetables to grow in the garden. There are many varieties of lettuce to choose from that can be sown directly into the garden or transplanted from a nursery purchase. I tend to plant lettuce in small pots just like if you were doing indoor seed planting and just let them grow on the deck. I then transplant to the Eco Garden System when the other lettuce is done. This way I have continuous lettuce through garden season. You can also direct sow when your spring lettuce is done but you will have to wait a week or two to see growth.
This is a fast growing vegetable that will have you jumping for joy when it pops up in just under a week from planting it. Not everyone’s favorite vegetable, but that may have to do with when you harvest it. It grows so fast people sometimes leave them in the garden beyond their time which can make them bitter. They should be harvested when the root is about 1 inch in diameter. Once you harvest, you can continue to plant seeds to have them all season long. Don’t forget to save the greens for a nice addition to any salad.
Broccoli loves cool temperatures. There are heat tolerant varieties that can also be planted after a spring harvest. If the broccoli head is smaller than you imagined, it is likely the day time temperatures were too warm. If the buds begin to show yellow flower petals, than cut the head as soon as possible because the flowering buds will affect the taste of the broccoli. Broccoli should be harvested when the buds are tightly closed. They love water and should grow in consistent moist soil to grow perfect tight heads. The Eco Garden Systems’ self- watering feature maintains the soil moisture which allows broccoli to thrive.
These are some of the most popular early spring plantings that can be sown directly or transplanted. Other cool vegetables include strawberries, kale, potatoes and onions. Planting your garden all at once will work but some seeds such as beans like to germinate in warmer soil between 60 and 80 degrees. If you are not using a self-watering system just remember to check daily and water if needed to maintain that moisture. It is vital to success when growing any of the vegetables mentioned here. So get out there and start your cool vegetables!