Tony O’Neill, gardener and author of the popular “Composting Masterclass” and “Your First Vegetable Garden,” combines lifelong passion and expert knowledge to simplify the art of gardening. His mission? Helping you cultivate a thriving garden. More on Tony O’Neill
Is there anything better to eat than fresh-grown spring vegetables from your garden in the summer? They’re tasty and nutritious and certainly, fill the hungry gap.
Planting your seeds or young plants properly is the key to getting them from your spring garden to your summer kitchen. Start them as early as possible, depending on where you live. If you live in a cold climate, consider starting them inside your home in an indoor garden.
Ensure your soil is well prepared, ready to foster the rapid early growth these veggies demand.
What must you know to get your plants on the right foot? Read on to learn when to plant and how to tend 15 of our most loved spring vegetables.
Carrots have that lovely orange color everyone loves. Lots of carotene makes the color glow. But you may be surprised that some varieties come in yellow or purple. Try planting these. Kids think purple carrots are fantastic.
Sow carrot seeds directly in loose soil at least 12 inches deep in the garden soon after the last frost. Sprinkle in 30 seeds per foot. Measure your soil with a thermometer. The optimum temperature for germinating carrots is 70 degrees F.
Remember, carrots need water. Keep your upper soil moist for at least two weeks after planting. Just after they leaf, prune out overcrowded plants, and give surviving plants 2 inches of clearance.
Is there anything more luscious than fresh-picked, bright red tomatoes? I can’t think of anything. All right, tomatoes are fruit, but we don’t treat them that way in our cooking and salads, do we?
Plant them as soon as possible after the last frost of the spring.
Whether you grow young tomato plants in the garden or a large pot on the deck or patio, ensure you are prepared to stake them with a solid piece of wood and lots of twines. When the plants get large, they will sag under their weight.
Make sure you give your plants lots of sunlight. Tomato plants don’t do well in the shade.
Tomato plants grow fast and large, especially as tomatoes begin showing. Make sure you water your plants every day. You may have to start watering twice a day when tomatoes get larger.
Suppose you want to know how to grow tomatoes at home. I wrote an article about growing tomatoes. You can read it here.
Radish seeds can be planted in the spring, but growth should be stopped during the summer when temperatures are too high. (Radishes may bolt if temperatures are too hot, rendering them unusable.)
Radishes are a versatile root crop that may be planted numerous times throughout the growing season. Radishes can be picked three weeks after planting.
Radishes, on the other hand, are one of the most simple vegetables to grow.
Lettuce is an excellent weather plant, so it’s best planted in the early spring, as soon as the soil can be worked after the last frost. Stagger your plantings if you want lots of fresh lettuce over the summer. Stop planting one month before hot summer days begin.
Lettuce does best in sunny gardens with loose soil and good drainage.
Lettuce heads are large and need lots of room to spread out. Use only ten seeds per foot. Keep rows at least 12 to 18 inches apart.
Water lightly every day. Lettuce needs water, but the soil should not be allowed to get soggy.
Harvesting is easy. You can remove the entire head or pick a few leaves at a time for an incredibly fresh salad.
Surprise! Leafy spinach is related to beets. As Popeye would tell you, spinach is extremely healthy and tasty.
Plant this cool-weather vegetable as early as possible in the spring. Make sure each plant is 12 inches apart in fertile, well-drained soil. Mix in organics or compost with the soil for high nutritional value. Feed your spinach regularly with water-soluble plant food.
Like lettuce, spinach can be harvested by picking the outermost leaves out a few at a time.
Cabbage thrives in a damp, cool environment and can endure a lot of frosts. Cabbage is grown as a spring or fall crop in temperate areas, but it is primarily grown in warmer climates during the winter and early spring.
Cabbage grows well in moisture-retentive soils and may be cultivated in various soil types. Irrigation may be required in lighter, sandier soils.
Winter cabbage should not be grown in heavy soils since machinery access will be required throughout the winter. Caution is advised in light of fenland soils, where direct drilling can be hampered by soil loss due to wind erosion.
Beets can withstand frost and near-freezing conditions and are an excellent choice for northern gardeners. This makes them a perfect fall crop.
Begin planting beets as soon as the soil becomes workable in early spring. Plant every 2 to 3 weeks till the middle of the summer.
Beetroots can be picked when they are the size of a golf ball to a tennis ball; more extensive roots may be stiff and woody. Furthermore, beet greens have a unique flavor and contain even more nutrients than roots.
Kohlrabi is a hardy biennial that is grown annually in the United States. Kohlrabi looks like a turnip growing on a cabbage root because of its enlarged globe-shaped stalk. Stems can be white, purple, or green, and a rosette of long-stemmed blue-green leaves grows at the top. Kohlrabi is sweeter and gentler than cabbage and turnip.
Kohlrabi is a cool-season crop best planted in the spring or fall when the weather is cooler. It can also be produced as a winter crop in warmer climates like the southern United States. Early in the spring, sow kohlrabi seeds indoors, 6 to 8 weeks before your final spring frost date, for an early to mid-summer crop.
Historians date peas back to the late Bronze Age. Remains of peas have been discovered in ancient Egyptian tombs.
Peas are hearty vegetables, needing little attention after planting. Just water and weed and harvest. They can be eaten in the pod or shucked.
Sow peas seeds into the garden as soon as possible in the spring. They don’t take transplanting well. They favor cool weather and will survive light spring frosts. When the soil reaches 60 degrees F, peas will take about a week to sprout.
Cauliflower is a descendant of wild cabbage. It usually appears white, but varieties come in purple, yellow, and orange.
Cauliflower is considered an extremely healthy superfood. People on a low-carb diet have discovered ways to turn a head of cauliflower into an excellent substitute for mashed potatoes.
Loosen a well-balanced ph level soil to over a foot of depth, and work in compost or manure with the soil.
Plant as early as possible in the spring. Cauliflower needs temperatures in the low 60s F to thrive.
Broccoli is a variant of cauliflower. The rich green florets are tasty in stir fry, casseroles, soups, and salads.
Start your young broccoli plants for 6 to 8 weeks indoors before the last frost of the spring. Wait until after the last frost to transplant—plant in a garden with adequate sunlight.
Water regularly, but check the soil for soggy conditions. Broccoli doesn’t do well with too much water.
We don’t usually think of garlic as a vegetable. It seems more like a seasoning. But it is part of the amaryllis family. Each garlic clove serves as a seed for succeeding generations.
Garlic varieties vary from sharp to sweet in flavor. Choose whichever one pleases your palate.
Loosen garden soil to a depth of at least 8 inches. Plant cloves 3 to 4 inches deep. Water lightly when the soil is dry.
A spectacular abundance of varieties of this succulent, tasty plant is available. Choose white, yellow, and red. Whichever taste appeals to you. Some gardeners plant all three with good results.
Onions are hearty. They grow well in cold-season gardens—plant soon after the last frost. Add organics or fertilizer.
Onions readily multiply in the garden. Space them well apart, 6 inches in rows, 12 inches between rows. Water them whenever the topsoil grows dry. By midsummer, they’ll be ready for harvest.
You may think these tender spears are tricky to grow, but they are robust and often the first plants to emerge in spring. They are best grown in cool climates.
They are perennials, so after your first planting, they will return to favor your dinner table year after year. Some asparagus have lasted for 30 years.
Be patient. You’ll have to wait two years to eat them. Leave the plants alone to take root.
Grow asparagus from 1-year plants called crowns. Plant crowns or seeds in early spring or earlier indoors. After the last spring frost, transplant them to a temporary spot in your garden. Ensure it’s exposed to the sun and the area is well-weeded.
Learn to identify the berryless males and transplant them to their permanent spot in your garden in the fall.
These tasty stalks won’t cause a fight if you grow them early and often. Their sweetness allows you to treat them like fruit in your baking. Make delicious Rhubarb and strawberry pie or crisp out of fresh stalks.
Rhubarb is a perennial. Once you get a bed of Rhubarb going, they’ll provide you with their lovely tart taste for years to come.
I have a video about growing Rhubarb. You can watch it below.
Tips on growing spring vegetables in your garden
- Plant dormant crowns as early as you can in the garden or indoors. Don’t harvest them in your first year.
- Remove all flowering stalks. This will not stunt the plant’s growth but permit it to root more deeply for succeeding years.
- Prune back stalks every fall after the first hard frost.
Begin harvesting during the second year. Every five years after that, dig up the root ball and divide it on a cool, cloudy day in the spring. Break off rotting roots, split the roots, and plant the remaining healthy pieces in separate holes in the garden.
FAQs on 15 Amazing Spring Vegetables to Grow Like a Professional
What vegetables grow in 4 hours of sun?
Radishes, carrots, potatoes, and beets can all grow in 3-4 hours of direct sunlight, with light or dappled shade for the remainder of the day. Leafy greens like lettuce, arugula, kale, bok choy, and chard thrive with only a few hours of sunlight daily.
What month do you plant vegetables?
After your last frost, April is the optimum month to plant most vegetable seeds. It’s not too late to start growing tomatoes and peppers from seed. Check the last frost day.
Does lettuce have full sun?
Lettuce should be grown in whole light in wet soil. Cloches, plastic tunnels, or horticultural fleece may protect early and late sowings from the cold. You may also grow lettuce in containers and growth bags, but keep them well-watered.
Conclusion on 15 spring vegetables to grow
Even the most seasoned gardener may be enticed to cultivate as many vegetables as possible. While most crops can grow for as long as they are planted, growing outside of their season can waste time.
You’ll have a poor harvest or, even worse, lose time and energy. Growing spring vegetable garden plants at the right time can reward you with a harvest worth your time and work.
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