Ahh, spring, when a gardener’s thoughts turn to sowing the first seeds of the year: cool-season vegetables.
What are cool-season vegetables? They are plants perfect for springtime weather. They can withstand light frosts and nighttime temperatures above 40 degrees, but hot temperatures (above 80 degrees) will cause them to go to seed and taste bitter.
Plant cool-season crops two to four weeks before the last frost, around May 15 in the North and April 23 in the South. (Some superstitious-minded folks always plant on St. Patrick’s Day.)
You may plant radishes, lettuces, spinach, beets and any kind of peas and carrots from seed simply by reading the package directions. For broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and onions, just buy plants to pop in the ground. Other green veggies to try include parsnips, turnips, Swiss chard, kale and collards.
As the cool season ends, reuse your garden space by planting warm-season vegetables such as cucumbers, tomatoes and squash. When autumn arrives, it will provide the right temperatures to plant a fall crop of cool-season veggies in the same space.
Find more useful tips in our Spring Gardening Guide below. Also, see What’s in Season this Spring to plan your seasonal produce shopping list and When to Plant Vegetables to set your springtime gardening schedule.
Colletta Kosiba is an advanced master gardener and master naturalist. She writes a gardening column for My Indiana Home.