Ahhh, spring. What a beautiful time of year! With the dreary chill of winter almost over and warmer days to look forward to, it’s an ideal time to start thinking about growing vegetables in your garden.
Whether you’ve been gardening for years, or this is your very first attempt at planting something, choosing the right vegetables early in the season can have a big impact on how successful you are when summer arrives. But, which veggies will reap the biggest rewards?
Below you’ll find the seven best vegetables to plant in early spring — from easy-to-grow leafy greens to root veggies. Get ready for some green thumb goodness!
What Vegetables to Start Indoors
Starting your garden indoors can be a great way to get an early jump on the growing season. Sowing vegetables indoors for an early spring crop is an easy and rewarding experience that can yield delicious, homegrown produce in no time at all. Here are some hardy cool weather crops that you can sow indoors.
Planting onions eight to 10 weeks before your area’s average last frost date gives them enough time to germinate and become established before being transplanted outside.
You don’t need fancy equipment or supplies to start growing onions. All you need are some good-quality onion seeds, small pots of soil-less potting mix, and a sunny location in your home that receives at least six hours of direct sunlight each day. When it’s time to sow the seed, place them 1/4 inch deep into the potting mix and water lightly. Onions sprout within four to 10 days. Maintain soil temperature at 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal germination.
When transplanting the seedlings outside, choose a sunny spot in your garden that has well-draining soil. Onions don’t compete well with weeds, so try to plant them in an area that is free from weed growth. Space each onion about 6 inches apart for best results and provide a consistent supply of water.
If you’re looking to get a jump start on your spring vegetable garden, planting broccoli indoors six to eight weeks before the last frost date is a great way to get ahead of the season. Or, if the ground is workable, plant broccoli in the ground two to three weeks before the last frost date.
Broccoli can germinate in soil temperatures as low as 4o degrees Fahrenheit, but for best results plant it in warmer soil conditions. Water your seedlings well and give them at least six hours of sunshine per day.
When it’s time to transplant outdoors, choose a site that gets plenty of sun — up to 8 hours per day — and amend the soil with 2 to 4 inches of compost prior to planting. The ideal soil pH should be between 6.0 and 7.0 for optimal growth.
If you’re looking for a fresh, homegrown vegetable to enjoy this spring, why not try Brussels sprouts? They’re an easy crop to grow indoors and the flavor is unbeatable!
To start your indoor Brussels sprout garden, purchase some seeds and sow them in early April, or when the temperature is about 60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Plant them in small containers filled with potting mix and keep them moist until germination occurs.
When mid-May rolls around and the weather warms up outside, it’s time to transplant your sprouts into your outdoor garden. Place them in a spot that receives six to eight hours of sun each day, and where the soil is well-draining. Water regularly and deeply so they receive plenty of moisture.
What Vegetables to Direct Seed
Direct seeding is a simple and cost-effective way to get your garden started. But before you start, do some research on the plants that will thrive in your area during the early spring months. It’s always best to plant cold-hardy vegetables as these crops are hardy enough to survive colder temperatures and can withstand light frosts or even snow cover.
Direct seeding is a great way to get an early start on this cool season root veggie! For spring gardening, sow seeds four to six weeks prior to the final spring frost.
First, select a spot with well-draining soil that receives full sun. Before sowing your seeds, add organic matter such as compost, but avoid adding fertilizers high in nitrogen or fresh manure. This will encourage more leaves.
Once your soil is ready, sow your radish seed about 1/2 inch deep and cover them with additional soil. Water the seeds fully and at least 6 inches deep so they have a good start and consistent moisture throughout their germination period. Weed often and mulch around your plants to keep weeds at bay.
Kale is an amazing vegetable that thrives in cool weather, and it tastes best after being exposed to frost!
Direct seeding for kale should happen approximately two to four weeks before the last frost date in your area, as long as the soil temperature is at least 40 degrees Fahrenheit or above. If you have loamy soil with good drainage and moisture levels, you’re all set! Keep the soil moist throughout germination and growth and give your plants plenty of direct sunshine!
For best results, keep the soil temperature above 20 degrees Fahrenheit and below 80 degrees Fahrenheit to enjoy the deliciousness of freshly harvested kale come springtime!
If you’re looking for an early spring crop, spinach is a superb choice! When planting, choose a sunny spot and mix in some compost about a week before so that your soil is optimally ready for seeding. When the soil temperature hits 40 degrees Fahrenheit, sow seeds 1/2 of an inch deep and keep the soil moist.
Spinach requires six weeks of cool weather from seeding to harvest. It can also withstand cold temperatures down to 15 degrees Fahrenheit! So, if you have a frosty start to springtime, this hearty veggie will still do well in your garden.
Direct sowing your turnip seeds in the spring will give you a great start on fresh produce during the warmer summer months when they struggle to grow.
Sow your turnip seeds around two to three weeks before the average last spring frost date and provide them with plenty of sunlight. They grow best in temperatures between 40 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit, as well as fertilizer, high-quality mulch, and consistent watering.
It’s All About The Veggies
Planting these seven vegetables in early spring will give you a bountiful and healthy harvest to enjoy come late spring and summer. So, get your gardening gloves on and get ready to get dirty! Do you have other tips for novice gardeners? Share this article with a friend who’s thinking about starting their own garden and leave a comment below letting everyone know what veggies you plan on planting this season. Happy gardening!