Best spring vegetables.

As winter loosens it’s hold and we start seeing signs of life emerging around us, every gardener seems to be caught up in excitement. It’s time to welcome a new season of planting!

But did you know you don’t have to wait for summer to start a garden? There are crops that thrive in the cooler temperatures of spring that you can grow.

As cold temperatures linger, these hardy selections can not only endure but flourish. It can help stave off the desire to just go ahead and plant your tomatoes way too early.

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Why Should You Plant a Spring Garden

  • Enjoy an Extended Growing Season: Planting in spring allows you to lengthen your harvesting calendar, providing you with fresh veggies earlier. It’s a delight to spend time in the garden after a winter cooped up inside.
  • Simpler Garden Maintenance: Surprisingly, gardens started in spring can require less effort. Cooler spring weather leads to reduced watering needs, and you’ll encounter fewer pests and plant diseases.
  • Grow a Greater Variety: Many vegetables, such as peas, broccoli, and carrots, don’t thrive in the warmer temperatures of summer, making spring the time to grow these crops.
  • Fulfilling Hobby: Cultivating your own garden is an inherently satisfying activity. There’s joy in observing your plants flourish and then harvesting the fruits of your labor.

Ideal Springtime Vegetable Selections

Onions and Garlic

For a flavorful addition to your meals, plant onions and shallots in your spring garden. These bulbs are not just simple to cultivate but also have a long shelf-life when cured and stored correctly, depending on the variety. 

While garlic is best planted in the fall, if you missed it, you can plant it in the spring. The bulbs will just be smaller than a fall-planted crop.

A spinach plant with green leaves growing in the ground.

Greens

Spring is also an excellent time to sow a variety of greens such as kale, chard, lettuce, and spinach. These vegetables are not just hardy enough to withstand cooler weather but are also nutrient-dense. They can brighten up your dishes, ranging from refreshing salads to hearty soups.

Root Crops

Carrots, beets, radishes, and turnips thrive in the spring as well. These root vegetables are straightforward to grow and brimming with both taste and essential nutrients.

Cabbage Family

The cabbage family—also known as brassicas—including broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage. They’re a staple choice for spring planting. These vegetables are robust against the cold and are nutritional powerhouses. They lend themselves to a variety of dishes, such as soups, stews, and casseroles, and are worth planting early due to their longer maturation period.

A hand holding a pod of green peas.

Legumes

Don’t forget to include peas in your garden! They are perfect for the cooler start of spring and can be sown directly into the soil as soon as it’s workable. Young pea shoots are not only tasty but also add a delightful crunch to your dishes.

You will not believe the difference between fresh picked peas and the canned or frozen kind from the grocery store!

Potatoes

Lastly, potatoes are a great choice for spring. They can be planted early on into the ground and will provide a substantial harvest of tubers later in the season, which can be used in so many recipes—from boiling and mashing to roasting and frying.

Optimal Timing for Planting Your Spring Vegetable Harvest

As avid gardeners prepare for the spring season, it’s crucial to pinpoint the ideal time to begin planting. Being aware of your local average last frost date is vital so your cool-weather loving crops have time to mature before hotter weather sets in.

Counting Backward

To plan effectively, start looking at the back of your seed packets a couple of months before your last average frost date. They usually have information on when to plant based on this date. Or if I’m bulk planning, I like to use a sliding garden planner like this one to help me know what veggies to plant when.

Shielding Young Seedlings from Freezing

Spring weather can be unpredictable. So it’s good to know how to protect your young plants from a freeze. Here are some strategies to help you keep your seedlings thriving:

  1. Covering: Use row covers, cloches, or frost blankets to shield the seedlings from freezing temperatures. These covers can provide insulation and protection from frost.
  2. Mulching: Apply a layer of mulch around the seedlings to help retain soil warmth and protect the roots from freezing.
  3. Watering: Water the seedlings before an expected freeze. Moist soil retains heat better than dry soil, providing some protection to the plants.
  4. Location: Plant seedlings in areas of the garden that are less prone to frost, such as near the south side of a building or in a location with good air drainage.
  5. Temporary Structures: Consider using temporary structures such as cold frames or hoop houses to provide additional protection from freezing temperatures.

By using these measures, you can help safeguard your spring seedlings from potential damage caused by late frosts or freezes as they establish themselves in the garden.

Common Questions About Springtime Vegetable Gardening

What Vegetables Should You Plant in Early Spring?

If you’re looking to get a head start on your gardening as the weather warms, consider planting some of these vegetables that are well-suited for early spring:

  • Radishes
  • Lettuce
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Peas

These veggies handle the cooler temperatures of early spring and can lead to a successful early harvest.

Top Vegetable Picks for Spring Consumption

During spring, the following vegetables are at their peak and ideal for consumption due to their fresh taste and nutritional value:

  • Asparagus
  • Artichokes
  • Spring onions
  • Fresh peas

Eating these vegetables in the spring ensures you’ll enjoy them when they’re most flavorful and abundant.

Early Harvest Vegetables for Spring

For those eager to enjoy the fruits of their labor as soon as possible, these vegetables can typically be harvested early in the spring:

  • Arugula
  • Radishes
  • Peas
  • Spinach

These varieties tend to grow quickly and can be ready to enjoy within weeks of planting.

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