As days grow longer and warmer we begin to see the first signs that spring has arrived. Most gardeners can’t wait to step outside and get their hands dirty. So what can I plant in early spring? Planting early in the season can be a risky endeavor but there are hardy vegetables that can tolerate hard frosts. See the color-coded NOAA Frost Map for the average date for frosts in your area. This will give you an idea of when to plant and how long your harvest season should last. All these veggies we reviewed taste best when they grow and mature in cooler weather. So here are five vegetables that thrive in cool weather and can be planted in your early spring garden.
- Radishes are one of the easiest spring vegetables to grow.
- For a spring planting, sow seeds 4–6 weeks before the average date of the last frost.
- Prepare your garden by removing any rocks before planting. Add compost
- Sow seeds directly ½ to 1 inch deep and 1 inch apart, Thin if necessary, crowded plants do not do well.
- Sow seeds outdoors, do not try to transplant a radish, it will not work!
- The cool, wet weather of spring is the perfect time to get lettuce started.
- Sow seeds directly outdoors as soon as the ground can be worked. Lettuce can be sown after the soil reaches 40°F
- If you want an earlier crop, you can start seeds indoors 4 to 6 weeks before your last spring frost date.
- The most fragile on our list, it may require some protection from frost.
- Broccoli seeds are best started indoors 7 to 9 weeks before the last spring frost. Transplants should have 4 or 5 well-developed leaves. Plant 12 inches apart.
- Direct sow outdoors 2 weeks before the last frost. Soil temperature needs to be 40F. Plant seeds ½ of 1 deep and 3 inches apart. Thin if necessary.
- Planting marigolds as companions with broccoli helps to deter cabbage moth and its damaging cabbageworm stage.
- Peas are one of the first crops to plant in early spring. They are not a summer crop.
- Sow seeds outdoors 4 to 6 weeks before your last spring frost date. Soil temperatures need to be 45°F. Plant seeds 1 inch deep and about 2 inches apart
- A blanket of snow will usually not hurt young pea plants, however, several days with temperatures below 20F could. Be prepared to plant again if the first peas don’t make it.
- Cabbage seeds are best started indoors 6 to 8 weeks before the last frost of spring. Transplant outdoors when they are about 4 inches tall and as early as 3 weeks before the last frost.
- Direct sow seed outdoors as soon as the soil can be worked in spring. Plant seeds 1 inch deep and 6 inches apart. Thin plants as necessary.
- Improve soil conditions by mixing in several inches of compost. Mulch to retain moisture and help regulate soil temperature.