The Walden Effect: Homesteading Year 5. Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Homestead Blog

Innovations:

Homesteading Tags

Recent Comments



Blog Archive

User Pages

Login

About Us

Submission guidelines

Store


Vegetables for early spring

Basket of carrots

Even under quick hoops, you won't want to plant frost-sensitive vegetables like tomatoes and cucumbers anytime soon.  However, there is still a wide selection of crops to choose from for your spring garden.  I've highlighted the easiest ones in the chart below.








Vegetable
Start from:
Notes
Beets
Seeds
Beet seeds can sometimes be difficult to germinate.  As with other root crops, beets need loose, loamy soil.
Broccoli
Transplants
The more advanced gardener can start her own seedlings either inside or in a quick hoop.  Otherwise, buy sets from the local feed store when night temperatures have risen into the high 20s to low 30s Fahrenheit.
Brussels sprouts
Transplants The more advanced gardener can start her own seedlings either inside or in a quick hoop.  Otherwise, buy sets from the local feed store when night temperatures have risen into the high 20s to low 30s Fahrenheit.
Cabbage
Transplants The more advanced gardener can start her own seedlings either inside or in a quick hoop.  Otherwise, buy sets from the local feed store when night temperatures have risen into the high 20s to low 30s Fahrenheit.
Carrots
Seeds
Well-drained, loamy soil is mandatory.  Carrots are slow-growers, so weed carefully to give the seedlings breathing room.
Cauliflower
Transplants The more advanced gardener can start her own seedlings either inside or in a quick hoop.  Otherwise, buy sets from the local feed store when night temperatures have risen into the high 20s to low 30s Fahrenheit.
Collards
Seeds
Spring greens are some of the easiest vegetables to grow.  In addition to collards, spinach, and Swiss chard, consider trying some Asian greens for variety.
Leeks
Seeds
Leeks take a long time to grow, so I generally prefer the perennial Egyptian onions instead.  As with other root crops, leeks need loose, loamy soil.
Lettuce
Seeds
Leaf lettuce is my earliest harvest of the year because I always plant it under quick hoops.  You can cut leaves within a month of planting, but be sure to seed a second bed as soon as you start eating the first --- lettuce becomes bitter within a few weeks of first harvest.
Onions
Seeds, sets, or transplants.
Getting your onions to germinate out in the cold can be a bit tricky, so you may choose to start them inside or under quick hoops to ensure they have time to grow before summer heat stunts them.  Select a variety appropriate for your day length (short day in the south and long day in the north.)  Many gardeners simplify planting by buying sets (tiny bulbs) from the local feed store, but onions grown from sets usually don't store well.
Parsley
Seeds
Parsley is grown very similarly to carrots, but you pick the leaves a few at a time for the next year rather than digging up the root.
Peas
Seeds
Soak your seeds overnight before planting to ensure they sprout quickly.  Erect a trellis for them to grow on.
Potatoes
Cut up pieces of potato, each with two eyes
Hill up your potatoes by adding soil or dirt extending a few inches up the growing stem once the plant is about eight inches tall.  This prevents the new tubers from being exposed to sunlight and turning green.  If you're planting early into cold soil, consider cutting your seed potatoes a few weeks in advance and laying them out in a bright spot so they'll presprout.
Radish
Seeds
Some gardeners plant radish seeds in their carrot rows.  The radishes come up quickly and mature before they compete with the slower-growing carrots.
Spinach
Seeds
I find that spinach plants usually bolt in the spring, so I generally focus on other varieties of leafy greens.
Swiss chard
Seeds
Swiss chard seeds can sometimes be difficult to germinate, but otherwise Swiss chard is perhaps the easiest green to grow and will keep producing all summer.
Turnips
Seeds
Like other root crops, turnips prefer loamy, well-drained soil.
Weekend Homesteader paperbackThe raw beginner should start out with collards, lettuce, peas, potatoes, radishes, and Swiss chard.  Second year gardeners might add broccoli, carrots, and parsley.  But ignore my advice if you love beets and hate lettuce --- plant what you like to eat!

This week's lunchtime series is excerpted from Weekend Homesteader: March.  I saved some of my favorite projects for last, so I hope you'll splurge 99 cents to read about growing edible mushrooms, composting, and attracting native pollinators.  And, of course, the ebook has the full spring planting chapter in case you just can't wait to read each installment at noon this week.


This post is part of our Spring Planting lunchtime series.  Read all of the entries:





Want to be notified when new comments are posted on this page? Click on the RSS button after you add a comment to subscribe to the comment feed, or simply check the box beside "email replies to me" while writing your comment.


As is above; I love ur website !!! it's so eqasy to follow; Yeah !!! i'M AN OLD MAN, WHO AM SLOW AND SHAKY ... THANK YU !!!
Comment by DENNIS BARES Wed Sep 19 21:26:36 2012
Dennis --- Thanks for your kind words. I'm glad you're enjoying our site. :-)
Comment by anna Thu Sep 20 15:02:21 2012