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Vegetables for early spring

Posted on February 27, 2012 by Homesteading and Survivalism Store | 24 comments

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.

The 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!
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Comments

  • Ally

    This is great! And excellent timing for the post. If its not a problem, I think I will also re-post this on my blog at preparednesssupply.com

  • dave

    I like this post so much I’m going to post it in my blog www.selfhelpstudy.blogspot.com ..

  • elaine

    i want to find out where to buy a tomatoe tree like the one u had in pic.

  • Angela - My Personal Accent DIY Blog

    I love this article and the one on facebook about aloe vera benefits. I have been trying to contact the bloggers of this article and the other. Could you please contact me regarding a guest blog

  • Jamal

    Is there any way i can contact you through email?! I have ordered (#10399) some items which i need to be sent using different shipping parameters. Kindly advise.

  • sherry

    Glad to see the garden tips. There are more ideas at sherryvsthebackcountry.ca too. I love gardening and each year I try to add something to my experiments. It’s fun!

  • Charlotte

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  • VENICE PINK

    It would be amazing if you were to host a camp for teenagers. If you dont already have one going. If you do, please send info about how i can get involved and have my teenagers attend.Beautiful property. It made me smile.
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  • Orville
    for Excellent advice! Although, planting cut potatoes leaves them susceptible to bugs. I used to have difficulties with potatoes until I planted a whole one.
  • Glenda

    Would love to know what I would look for to be able to raise ‘curry leaves’ I do a lot of authentic Indian cooking and use these tremendously, however, I do not know the name of them to ask for them in my local feed/seed store.

    Also, when is it too late to plant potatoes? I love the red ones. I live within the Raleigh/Durham, NC area and have only enough room to grow things contained on the deck of my house.

    Right now I have a cherry tomato plant that is doing well so far. A watermelon plant that has already produced a tiny bite sized looking watermelon; scared to death for its future. A cantaloupe plant that looks healthy so far. A cucumber plant that I continuously removed the yellowing leaves from. Any ideas? All of these are in planters; the cherry tomato plant looks like it could be transplanted into something bigger but if it is looking healthy and has a lot of green ones on it, shouldn’t I just leave it be? It is staked. Thank you.

    Love this site!

 

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