Early Spring Gardening: What To Plant and When
By Ray Brosnan
Author bio: Ray Brosnan is the co-owner of Brosnan Property Solutions, a facility management and property maintenance company based in Ireland.
As spring sets in after a long winter, it might seem too chilly and the ground too damp to do any gardening. However, there are a few hardy crops that can perform relatively well in these early spring conditions in metal raised garden beds. It might even be best to plant your veggies during this period since the chilly environment isn’t conducive to pests and diseases, which allows your crops an excellent start.
The success of your early winter gardening often depends on understanding when and how to plant your crops. Right about now, you might be wondering, ‘when is the right time to plant, and which crops should I plant?’ Check out some crops you can plant before the lingering winter weather conditions subside.
Top 4 Crops for Early Spring Gardening
Radishes are well worth your time if you are looking for a perfect crop to grow for your early spring gardening. Most people prefer home-grown radishes over their store-bought counterparts since they are rich in flavour, and you can use them directly from the ground while they are still fresh. Radishes come in a wide variety of shapes and colours. With their crispy texture and spicy flavour, you can never regret planting the crop in your early spring garden.
Being a root vegetable, a radish can perform well even with lingering chilly and damp winter weather conditions. It can withstand temperatures as low as -3 degrees Celsius, making it the ideal crop for growing in late winter and early spring.
Hot Tip: Plant a row of radishes every two weeks for continuous production. Harvest the crop while it is still small (between three to five weeks) to prevent it from becoming too spicy.
Snow peas are another cold-weather vegetable common with many gardeners today. One of the greatest joys of growing this crop is there in the name: snow peas. As its name suggests, the vegetable can thrive in a cold, snowy environment, which gives you a great head start and extends your gardening season.
Growing snow peas is relatively easy, even for novice gardeners. All you have to do is to prepare your garden and sow the seeds directly. Proper timing is the key to the success of your snow peas. It is best to sow your seeds four or five weeks before the last expected spring frost, as soon as you can work on the soil.
Hot Tip: Apply a pea inoculant when planting to supplement the nitrogen in the soil (helps increase your yields).
Lettuce is the most common ingredient in salads. It is well known as an excellent source of vitamin A and folate (essential for healthy cells and growing babies). In other words, lettuce seldom disappoints.
The crop is also highly resistant to cold and wet weather, making it a perfect choice for early spring gardening.
It is relatively easy to plant the vegetable – you can purchase starter seedlings from your local nursery or opt for the cheaper option: starting your lettuce seedlings from seeds. Lettuce comes in thousands of varieties, each with a different leaf shape, colour texture and flavour. The most common and cold-tolerant varieties are butterhead and romaine. So, consider these two varieties if you are looking for a crop for early spring gardening.
Hot Tip: Plant lettuce in raised garden beds. Soils tend to drain better and warm up quickly in raised beds, which means you can plant earlier and lengthen your gardening season.
If you are a seasoned gardener, you must have planted kales at least once or twice in your garden. This crop is a common vegetable in early spring gardens. It is highly resistant to cold temperatures and you can start harvesting leaves between four to five weeks after planting.
Kales offer a wide range of nutrients, whether stir-fried or eaten raw in salads. The crop also comes in several varieties with different colours and textures. You can grow a few varieties and alternate harvesting to bring a unique touch of colour and texture to your dishes. It is relatively easy to grow and care for kale. You can plant the seeds directly in the ground or in containers. The most important thing is to ensure you cover the seeds with about a one-half-inch layer of soil and follow the ‘plant population’ instructions.
Hot Tip: Kales produce a sweeter taste when grown outside of the warmer months.
In a Nutshell
Planting early spring vegetables is a great way to see off the winter months and kick-start the gardening months in style. There are plenty of other crops you can choose for your late winter garden, but these are the top ones on the list.
If you are feeling a little occupied and can’t tend to your garden in time, you can always turn to facility management gardening services. These experts can help you prepare your garden and get it looking its best at affordable prices.