Whether you grow your own vegetable garden every year, or you’re a first-timer thinking about patio pots, now is the time to get your hands dirty and start on that early spring garden. However, depending on where you live, it can be a little tricky to know exactly when “early spring” is —some nights the weather still dips below freezing, and frost and snow seem to come and go. We suggest taking a look at the trusty Farmer’s Almanac for the best personalized planting calendar.
No matter where you live, once that nicer weather hits, here are five fruits and vegetables you can get to planting, harvesting, and eating.
Arugula, kale, spring mix, romaine. If it’s a green leaf you can eat, plant the seeds now. In just one to two months you’ll have a full bowl of salad to eat. The biggest difference you’ll notice compared to store-bought lettuces is in the amount of flavour each green can have. Cover the seeds lightly so they can easily shoot through the soil. Planting in pots? Any lettuce without a head (i.e. kale) will do well.
Use your freshly picked arugula in this warm mushroom salad.
Have you ever bitten into a radish pulled straight from the dirt? The small and vibrant veggie knocks a spicy and peppery punch. They are also touted as an easy option for novice gardeners. Start by sowing seeds in the cool weather, about 1/2 to 1 inch deep, every 10 days, and in about four weeks, you’ll be harvesting. Raised garden beds are the ideal spot for radishes to grow because they have deep roots and prefer soil that’s rich in organic matter over a hard clay-like environment.
Radishes add the perfect crunch to this Danish-style smoked salmon sandwich.
Without even trying, you can have a rhubarb garden, just ask my mother, who doesn’t ever intentionally tend to her rhubarb patch, but ends up with more of the pink tart fruit than she can keep up with. Opt for a sunny area and get to planting already established crowns as soon as the ground in your area thaws. Space them out three to four feet apart, keep the soil moist, and almost overnight you’ll see the stalks grow.
What goes better with a steak right off the grill than some potatoes? The crispy vs. mashed debate might cause a divide in your family, but we know everyone will come together and declare spuds straight from your garden as the best type—no matter how they are cooked. Plant seed potatoes to guarantee you’ll get a crop. Harvest time is the most important when it comes to this no-fuss crop. In early June you’ll have new potatoes (small and waxy, best for roasting) and by mid-summer, they’ll be fully grown and ready for baking.
Don’t want to cook with your potatoes? Try these five alternative and creative uses for spuds.
Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts all have very similar growing patterns, and, if you have patience, are easy veggies to grow in just about any garden. Start early in the season because these cruciferous options are best as cold crops—they grow best in warm days with cool nights. Make sure to plant seedlings right around your last frost date and you’ll have a bounty to collect in about 50 to 100 days.
We love roasting cruciferous vegetables, like this sweet chile cauliflower.