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Start Planning Your Spring Vegetable Garden

What to Plant and When in Early Spring

Happy older couple planting vegetables in their garden

Ah, the sweet promise of spring is on the horizon, setting the anticipation to begin preparing and planting vegetables for spring. But the age-old question still lingers: when is the best time to begin planting and what type of vegetables to plant? Well springtime is a balancing act because of many factors such as your local climate, soil condition, and unique needs of what you're planting. Generally speaking, it's wise to wait until April as the last frost has usually passed and soil temperatures are warming up.

While you plan for those conditions to open up, vegetables can be divided into two groups: cole crop plants and bulbs, and cool season root vegetables.

Cole Crop Plants and Bulbs

Let's talk about the first group: cole crop plants and bulbs, the cool-season champions ready to kickstart your garden either outdoors or indoors. Cole crops, members of the brassica or mustard family, are all about thriving in cooler temperatures. Think leafy greens, broccoli, brussels sprouts, and more—these beauties are tailor-made for early spring and fall gardens. So if you're eager to get your hands dirty and start planting, these cool kids are your go-to for a bountiful harvest.

Cole crops can be planted as early as Valentine's Day (just be sure the snow has bid its adieu before you get started—no planting in the snow, please!). These hardy veggies are resilient, but there's a little strategy involved. Some seed varieties fare best when planted directly into the soil outside early in the season, while others prefer the cozy comforts of indoor starting before making their grand debut in your garden. So, whether you're itching to get your hands dirty outdoors or eager to nurture them indoors until they're ready for the great outdoors, there's a perfect approach for every cole crop enthusiast.

Cool Season Root Vegetables

Now, let's talk about the second group of cool-season superheroes: your root veggies. These beauties should be planted in your garden from seed around 2–3 weeks after you've planted your cole crops. Typically, this falls a couple of weeks into March or when daytime temperatures are consistently between 40 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit—a sweet spot for their growth. Among this esteemed group of cool-season root vegetables are beets, carrots, potatoes, swiss chard, parsnips, and turnips. Plant these seeds early enough so they can mature for harvest before the temperatures soar too high for their liking, whether it's early spring or a tad later in the season. With a bit of strategic planning, you'll be reaping the rewards of these root veggies in no time.

Here is a short list of vegetables that you can start preparing to plant early spring:

1. Broccoli, Cabbage, and Cauliflower

These cool-season vegetables are best planted in early to mid-spring to ensure the highest quality before high temperatures occur.

2. Onions

Onions are a versatile vegetable, and the timing of planting can affect the size of the onion. To get a head start on your summer harvest, it’s best to plant onion sets in the springtime.

3. Potatoes

Spring provides potatoes with the proper weather and warm soil temperatures they need to successfully grow. Potatoes are known for having a fast growth rate of 60-80 days, which will guarantee an early summer harvest.

4. Beets

Beets can survive in cooler temperatures, making spring a great time to start planting. Begin planting your beet seeds two or three weeks before the last frost date in spring.

5. Lettuce

Low maintenance and easy to grow, lettuce is a cool-season vegetable that thrives in the springtime.

6. Carrots

Carrots can endure cooler temperatures. For the best possible outcome, make sure the soil temperature is at least 50 degrees Fahrenheit to begin the planting process.

If you have any questions about opening your garden early, make sure to contact our team here at Selmi’s! Happy planting!


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