A majority of our planting doesn’t take place until after the threat of frost has passed. But there are a number of cold-hardy crops that we can plant early to get a jump on the growing season.
Some can even be planted as early as six weeks before the last frost date!
Peas & Wheat
Crops like garden peas and spring wheat can be planted as soon as the soil can be worked in the spring.
Try soaking your pea seeds overnight before planting to speed up germination.
Radishes & Beets
Radishes and beets can be planted four to six weeks before your last frost date. Spring radishes are a fast-growing crop that can produce a tasty harvest in as little as 21 days.
Be sure to leave plenty of space between your beet plants so that bulbous roots have room to properly form.
Of course, beets produce more than just a tasty root. You can also harvest the delicious leaves and enjoy them as you would Swiss chard.
If fact, chard and beets are the same species. And they are grown in practically the same ways.
Spinach is another spring crop that can be planted very early in the season. In fact, spinach will bolt and go to seed when weather gets too warm.
Be sure to plant your seeds early. Leave at least six weeks of growing time before the heat of summer causes them to flower.
Carrots are an easy-to-grow, cold-hardy vegetable. But the seeds need to keep moist until they have time to germinate, which could take up to two weeks after planting.
Grow radishes in your carrot row to mark the area. You’ll also get a bonus harvest of radishes right as your tiny carrot sprouts get started!
Kale is certainly a cool weather veggie. It can be planted in the garden as early as four weeks before the last frost date in your area.
Sprinkle the seeds on the surface of the soil and lightly cover. Or, plant them indoors when your start your pepper plants under lights (around six to eight weeks before last frost).
Transplant the young kale seedlings into the garden to get an early harvest of these nutrient-dense leaves.
Don’t forget to plant lettuce in the spring either! Similar to spinach, lettuce thrives in cool temperature. But it will bolt under the summer sun.
Start your lettuce seeds in the garden approximately two weeks before your last frost date. Surface plant the seeds, and keep the soil moist until seedlings are established.
Including cold-hardy crops like these in your garden plans will not only give you a head start on your growing season but will also provide you and your family bountiful harvests of tasty veggies to enjoy throughout the spring.