5 Vegetables to plant in spring to kickstart your garden
The early spring can make for a good time to jumpstart your spring garden, especially for plants that can withstand lingering shots of cold air.
Cold-hardy plants can handle a few frosts, and you can start the seeds either indoors or outdoors, depending on where you live. The United States Department of Agriculture Plant Hardiness Zone Map provides detailed information about which plants are most likely to thrive in your location.
These five salad standards can be planted directly in the ground during spring:
This supermarket staple comes in a variety of flavors and colors and is relatively easy to grow, but sow these seeds in while temperatures are lower because lettuce won’t germinate in soil that’s 80 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. Spring is a perfect time for lettuce production and the plants will be ready to pick in about two months.
A peppery addition to any plate, arugula grows quickly — in a few week’s time. However, arugula needs a lot of water to maintain that growth rate.
“Leafy greens… can be safely planted directly from seed, and it’s beneficial for them to be planted early in the season,” said Venelin Dimitrov, senior product manager of vegetables, herbs and fruits at W. Atlee Burpee Company. “It’s part of the natural cycle… the leaf rosette is triggered by cold weather.”
Dimitrov suggests using a cover on your garden at the beginning of the process to encourage the ground to warm up.
Whether they are red, orange, yellow or purple, these cooler season vegetables are packed with vitamins and an undeniable sweetness. Carrots are root vegetables, and with proper sun and water, they can be picked early as tender baby carrots or later on as crunchy mature ones.
Some nutritionists label the beet a super food for its connection to improved health in humans. They are relatively easy to grow, starting in late March or early April. According to the Utah State University Cooperative Extension, beets taste best when they have a few weeks of cool air. However, make sure to get to the garden to gather these veggies if the mercury rises above 65 F.
“If weather is constantly cooler, they will get bigger and bigger,” Dimitrov said. “If you are satisfied with the size, pick them as you go. But if it starts to warm up, harvest them — otherwise they will go to waste.”
Radishes move fast in the garden from seed to bulb so keep an eye on them after a few weeks. This category of produce is virtually pest-free, although watch out for maggots. This plant is a great choice for beginners because of the easy success with each harvest. Radishes are often eaten raw or used as garnish, but other recipes include salsas, slaws and sautés.