Winter is a time of rest, with many of us leaving our gardens fallow or letting cover crops enrich the soil. We might have spent some time doing maintenance or focusing on planning for the growing season to come, but most of us were spending a lot of time indoors, keeping away from the cold. Once days start to warm and spring is in the air, something changes, and the urge to begin gardening grows!
Early spring planting is a great way to get a jump on gardening. Before your last frost date, it’s too early to start any crops that can’t handle a cold snap. Luckily, there are plenty of options and easy-to-grow plants that can handle a little bit of chill and get you in the swing of gardening again.
Cool Weather Crops
- Sugar Snap Peas - These tasty treats grow best in cooler weather under 85°, so getting them in the ground in spring is a great idea.
- Kale - This superfood is easy to grow and tastes even sweeter when it has been kissed by frost.
- Cabbages - Many types of cabbages can sunburn in hot weather, but they are crisp and delicious when grown in cool weather.
- Arugula - This spicy green is tasty and tender in spring and ready to harvest in just 6-8 weeks. Arugula does well in containers which you can bring indoors once it gets too hot.
- Oriental Poppy - Add some color to your spring garden. Oriental Poppy will bloom in spring to early summer and then go dormant after the weather gets hot. Look for them to reappear in the fall!
- Beets - Nutritious and colorful beets can add some fresh flavor in a relatively short time. If it’s still a little cold in your area, you can start them in a cold frame or indoors 5-6 weeks before the last frost.
- Radishes - Cool weather is the best for the most tender and flavorful radishes. They mature quickly, so plant them in succession to always have plenty of crunch and flavor in your spring salads.
- Lettuce - Speaking of salad, what about the ultimate green leafy vegetable? A salad fresh from the garden beats anything you can buy at the store in a bag.
- Broccoli - Cole crops of all varieties are good cool weather choices, and broccoli is definitely at the top of the list for flavor and nutrition.
- Kohlrabi - This tender vegetable can withstand light frost and prefers milder temps, so early spring is a perfect time to plant.