Planting Cool Season Crops

By February 28, 2019Blog Post

Planting Cool Season Crops

By Jodi Torpey

If you’ve had enough of winter, then it’s time to celebrate spring. Even if there’s a light dusting of snow on the ground, it’s time to start thinking about planting your cool season garden. Really.

March 17 typically signals the day to plant cool-season vegetable crops like carrots, lettuce, spinach, peas, radishes, broccoli, cabbage, onions and turnips. Getting outside to plant a spring garden, no matter its size, will banish winter-time blues and give you some fresh, good-for-you veggies.

These hardy vegetables can tolerate a light frost, and some can survive a hard freeze. Most of these cool weather crops can be planted anytime from 2 to 4 weeks before the average last spring frost.

You can either start by planting seeds or buying ready-to-plant cool season crops, like onion sets, that makes planting even easier.

Soil temperature plays a role in planting these early crops, so check to make sure the soil is diggable and is fairly dry. I’ve had good luck in the past planting a variety of leaf lettuces and spinach in my patio container garden.

This works well for me for several reasons: I can move containers into the sunniest spot on the patio, monitor the greens more closely, and toss a cover on the container garden if the weather turns especially cold. The containers are also right out the backdoor, making it easy to clip and bring inside.

An easy way to plant some cool-season greens is to use a garden fork to scratch the surface of the soil, sprinkle part of a package of seeds about 1/4-inch deep, lightly cover with soil and sprinkle with water. It will take about a week or so for the seeds to germinate.

If you have a spot along the sunny side of a fence, peas make for good planting there, especially if the bed is raised. There are lots of peas to choose from including shelling (or English) peas, sugar snap peas and snow peas. Choose several varieties or just the ones you prefer to use in your cooking.

To guarantee a long season of harvesting peas, plant early, midseason and late varieties. Some peas can be ready in just 50 days.

For best results, soak seeds overnight before planting to make for easier germination. Train peas to climb some kind of support, mulch and keep them moist. It’s especially important to water when the plants are in blossom and producing pods.

What would you like to add to your spring garden this month?

See more Cold Weather Crops Here


Author Nicks

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