It’s time for me to start planting early Spring vegetables. There are some vegetables need to grow in the cooler weather of Spring and can be planted as soon as the ground thaws here in the Northeast.
What are some of the early vegetables you can plant? All lettuces, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, green onions, snow peas, and sugar snaps to just name a few.
Grow With Me Gardening Series
This is part of the Grow With Me Gardening Series here at Cottage On Bunker Hill. I want to teach you ways of starting, maintaining, and enjoying gardening. I will share all the tips & tricks that I have learned over the years growing both vegetable and flower gardens here in the Northeast.
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What I Do To Prepare For Planting
The ground or raised beds need to be thawed before you can plant anything in the early Spring days. I live on the Zone 5b/6a line in New England. Some years the ground is thawed in March sometimes it’s in April…you never know when the winter will end when you live up here.
The most important thing you need to determine when you are planning a garden is what planting zone you live in. Check this USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map to find yours.
One other benefit of using raised beds in your vegetable garden is that the soil thaws and warms up more quickly than the ground.
I am using existing raised beds for my early vegetables this year. To prepare the raised beds for another growing season I add some fresh compost to the soil and my favorite organic fertilizer before I started planting. If you don’t have access to fresh compost you can buy bagged compost from your local nursery or at the garden center of one of the big stores.
What Are Some Early Spring Vegetables?
- Radishes – Radishes are one of the quickest-growing vegetables and can be ready to harvest in as little as three weeks.
- Lettuce – Lettuce is a cool-season crop that can be planted early in the spring. It is easy to grow and can be harvested when the leaves are young and tender.
- Spinach – Spinach is another cool-season crop that can be planted in early spring. It is high in nutrients and can be harvested when the leaves are young and tender.
- Peas – Peas are a popular spring vegetable that can be planted as soon as the soil can be worked. They grow quickly and can be harvested when the pods are full.
- Carrots – Carrots are root vegetables that can be planted early in the spring. They take a bit longer to mature than some of the other vegetables on this list but are worth the wait.
- Broccoli – Broccoli is a cold-tolerant vegetable that can be planted in early spring. It takes longer to mature than some of the other vegetables on this list, but it is worth it for the delicious, nutritious heads.
How I Plant Peas
Snow Peas and Sugar Snap Peas are my two favorite things to grow in the Spring. I also replant them in the late Summer for a Fall harvest.
They do not like hot weather so it’s important to get an early start on peas to get a good harvest.
Peas grow the best when they have some sort of support structure. You can use a trellis or netting.
Both snow peas and sugar snap peas are easily grown by direct sowing the seeds. Direct sowing is when you start a plant from seed directly in the garden, there’s no need to start from seed indoors or buy them already in flats at the nursery.
I built a new trellis for my snow peas and sugar snaps to trail up on. You can see how I built one here; it was pretty easy too!
I planted snow peas on one side and sugar snaps on the other side of the folding trellis. This still produces plenty of pods. You don’t need a ton of room to grow these…and they are so yummy to snap off and eat right in the garden.
The weather has been exceptionally cold around here this Spring so they are taking longer than usual to really get growing. Usually, it’s about 6-8 weeks until you have peas to harvest.
This is a wonderful vegetable to grow with your kids! They will love planting the seeds and watching them grow…plus they will love to be able to pick the pods off the stems and eat them!
another diy trellis idea
If you don’t have space for a folding trellis there are other options from folding wire pea fences to making your own with stakes and chicken wire.
This was an inexpensive DIY trellis I made for my sweet peas last year in one of my raised beds. All I did was take 3 pieces of 4 ft. precut wood and bang them into the ground. Then I stapled chicken wire across
Planting Broccoli and Cauliflower
Both of these early Spring vegetables are very easy to grow in the cooler weather. I buy my plants in flats from the nursery. Broccoli and Cauliflower plants are readily available at places like Lowe’s, Home Depot, & Walmart as well if you don’t have a local nursery or garden center.
To plant the broccoli and cauliflower you will first need to dig a hole deeper and twice as wide as the plants.
Sometimes the stems are growing a little wonky from being in the starter trays.
I make sure to put the plant in deep enough that only the straight stronger part of the stem will be above the dirt.
Remove any of the small bottom leaves pop the plant in the hole and backfill until it’s covered.
I left space between the plants to give them adequate space to grow. Another thing I will do is cover this bed with garden netting that is propped up on hoops to keep the yucky bugs away.
Once the hot weather of Summer arrives the broccoli and cauliflower plants will start to bolt.
Bolting is when a plant starts trying to go to seed and will produce a flower stalk…it happens to lettuces, herbs, and cabbages too. The broccoli and cauliflower will start to flower.
Once these plants start to bolt I will pull them all out and plant something else in this bed for the rest of the growing season.
After you plant anything you should give it a nice drink of water! Now what we do most of the time as gardeners…we wait for our plants to grow!
Broccoli is a fun plant to watch go from seedling to full-grown vegetable.
Other Easy Spring Vegetables To Grow
Other super easy vegetables to start in early Spring are spinach, lettuce, carrots, and radishes.
I buy flats of a variety of lettuces and spinach at my nursery.
Carrots are very easy to grow from seed. This short variety of carrots goes from seed to harvest in about 2 months.
Another fun idea is to plant your lettuce in a big planter outside of your kitchen so you can just clip off what you need for your dinner.
Some carrots take longer to grow. I plant them in straight rows in a raised bed.
They are no-fuss plants and you don’t need to do much except keep them watered to grow a healthy crop.
Radishes take under a month to go from seed to edible. I will plant a couple of rows of radish seeds in a raised bed planting the seeds about an inch apart. Once they sprout I will thin out the rows so the stronger plants have room to thrive.
Another tip is to keep planting a few radish seeds every week so you will always have a fresh supply on hand.
They are perfect for adding to a fresh salad for a little kick.
Have you ever wanted to learn about starting seeds? Read my Seed Starting Basics guide.
early Spring Vegetables to add to your garden
- All Lettuces
- Brussels Sprouts
- Green Onions
- Snow Peas
- Sugar Snaps
Here are a few final tips for gardening:
- Choose the right location: Most vegetables require full sun, so choose a location that receives at least six hours of sunlight per day. Make sure the soil is well-drained and fertile.
- Prepare the soil: Before planting, prepare the soil by removing any weeds and adding compost or other organic matter to improve soil fertility and structure.
- Water regularly: Water your plants regularly, especially during dry spells. Be careful not to overwater, as this can lead to root rot.
- Mulch: Adding a layer of mulch around your plants can help to retain moisture, suppress weeds, and regulate soil temperature.
- Protect from pests: Early spring vegetables can be vulnerable to pests such as slugs, snails, & insects. Use organic pest control methods such as handpicking or using a barrier to protect your plants like a row cover over. your plants.
- Harvest at the right time: Be sure to harvest your vegetables at the right time, when they are at their peak flavor and nutrition. Some vegetables, such as lettuce and spinach, can be harvested as soon as they are big enough to eat, while others, such as carrots and broccoli, will take longer to mature.
Happy Gardening, Friends!!
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