what to plant in your spring garden

Ep. 8 – 20 Hardy Vegetables to Plant in Your Spring Garden

If you’re wondering what to plant in your spring garden plan, you are in luck! This post shares 20 Hardy plants that can be planted this spring to get a jump start on your garden season!

It’s hard to believe January is over and the spring garden is getting ready to jump into full swing! I for one have been both excited and a little hesitant to get going, because this is the first season I really feel like I am getting the timing right! I know exactly what I want to plant as well as when to plant those crops in a way that will allow me to both maximize my harvests AND extend my season! In this episode we are going to talk about the crops you can plant in your Early Spring Garden to get the most out of your garden space!

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What is a Spring Garden?

Hey ya’ll and welcome to episode 8 of Garden Things with friends! Today, I want to share a list of crops that you can grow in your spring garden, but before we jump right into that list, I want to talk about the concept of the Spring Garden.

Now when most of us think of garden crops, we think of peppers, cucumbers and tomatoes which are started in the spring, but don’t actually take off until later in spring and into the summer! A Spring Garden, on the other hand includes the crops that we will be talking about later in the episode and allows you to get a jumpstart on your garden season! 

This way of seasonal gardening feeds into the concept of the 3 season Garden, which is a way to extend your garden harvest from 10 weeks before your frost date to well after your frost date with succession planting!

Succession planting is the act of planting multiple rounds of the same crop throughout the season or planting crops that thrive in different environments one after the other to extend your harvest.

Choosing the Right Crops

When planning your spring garden, it is important to consider various factors such as climate, soil type, and sunlight. These elements will play a crucial role in determining which crops will thrive in your garden, but for the spring Garden, this is particularly important. 

In a spring garden we are choosing crops that will be able to withstand the potential for frost and freeze. Spring garden are often planted in the late winter before your estimated last frost date! Many of the crops on our list of plants that can be planted in our Spring Garden are going to be Frost Hardy at least! These will be plants that typically are unbothered by the cold of late winter and Early Spring.

Frost Hardy plant is one that can withstand light frosts, typically 28-32 degrees Fahrenheit, without being damaged. This makes these cool-season vegetables ideal for planting in the early spring to get a head start on your season when the temperatures are still fluctuating and there is potential for frost or freezes. 

This differs from the plants of Late Spring (Our summer Garden plants) which typically are frost tender, are planted after danger of frost and thrive in the summer heat. 

Another thing to consider when choosing crops is relative time to harvest. If you are planning to succession plant summer crops, you will want to be mindful of when you will need the space for your summer plants. 

What to plant in Your Spring Garden

Alright! Now that we have a better understanding of how to choose the right crops for our Spring Garden, let’s take a look into some popular options for spring vegetables. In order to keep this episode bite sized as far as information goes, I am going to divide these crops into five categories: Roots, Greens, Brassicas, Herbs, Others.

Root Vegetables 

Root veggies are some of the hardiest crops and can withstand the cold snaps that are common in the early season quite well. Some popular options for a spring planting root crops include:

Carrots: 

Carrots are versatile vegetables that come in various colors and are known for their sweet, crunchy texture. They are rich in vitamins and antioxidants. To ensure optimal growth, plant carrots in loose, well-draining soil. Keep the soil consistently moist for even germination and thin seedlings to prevent overcrowding. Companion planting with onions can also help deter pests.

Beets:

Beets are a nutritious veggie, with earthy and sweet flavors. They come in a range of vibrant colors, from deep red to golden. Both the roots and greens are edible, providing a dual harvest. Growing beets requires well-drained soil, consistent moisture, and thinning of seedlings for proper bulb development. Direct sow and harvest the roots when young for a tender texture, and don’t forget to enjoy the greens in salads or saut√©ed dishes.

Turnips:

Turnips are root vegetables with a mild, slightly peppery flavor. They can be enjoyed in various ways, as both the roots and greens are edible. Rich in vitamins A and C, turnips thrive in cool weather and well-drained soil. Regular watering is important to prevent bitterness in the roots. Harvest when the roots are tender and make use of the nutritious greens in salads or as a side dish.

Radishes:

Radishes are crisp, peppery, and come in different shapes and colors. They mature quickly, making them ideal for a short growing season and early spring gardening. An added bonus is because these crops mature so quickly, they are a great confidence booster for first time gardeners. This root crop should be planted in well-draining soil, spaced properly, and harvested promptly for optimal results.

Onions:

Onions are a versatile kitchen staple, available in different types like red, yellow, and white, each with its distinct flavor. Packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, onions thrive in well-draining garden soil with lots of organic matter. A full sun location is also key for proper growth. Ensure consistent moisture during growth and harvest when the tops have fallen over, allowing them to cure before storage. Note

Potatoes:

Potatoes are a nutritious root vegetable that comes in various types! They are packed with carbohydrates, vitamin C, and potassium. When growing potatoes, ensure they are planted in well-drained soil and hill the plants as they grow for better tuber development. While Potatoes can bounce back from a late spring frost, using frost blankets during exceptionally cool spring nights can give the best results. Water consistently and protect the tubers from sunlight to prevent greening. Harvest when the tops die back for the best flavor and storage.

Leafy Greens

The next category of crops for your spring vegetable garden is leafy greens! The crops can even be planted in partial shade! They may very well be your first harvest of the season due to the speed with which they grow!

Swiss Chard:

Swiss chard is a vibrant leafy green with colorful stems, including red, yellow, and white. It has a mild, earthy flavor and is rich in vitamins A, C, and K. Both the leaves and stems are edible. Swiss chard is a low-maintenance green that can be grown in well-drained soil with plenty of sunlight. It is a cool-season crop but can also tolerate heat. Regularly harvesting outer leaves promotes continuous growth, and it is known for its resistance to pests.

Spinach:

Spinach, a nutrient-dense leafy green with dark, crinkled leaves, is rich in iron and vitamins A and C. Its mild, slightly sweet flavor makes it versatile for salads, smoothies, and cooked dishes. Thriving in cooler temperatures, spinach is ideal for early spring and fall planting. Harvest individual leaves or the entire plant for a continuous supply, and be mindful of bolting in warmer weather.

Arugula:

Arugula, also known as rocket, is a flavorful green with peppery and slightly bitter taste. It grows quickly and its lobed leaves and edible flowers add a unique kick to salads and dishes. Plant in well-drained soil, keep moisture consistent, and harvest frequently for new growth.

Lettuce:

Lettuce, in its various types such as butterhead, romaine, and leaf lettuce, offers a range of textures and flavors. This crisp and mild green is commonly used in salads and sandwiches. It is rich in vitamins A and K. Lettuce thrives in well-drained, fertile soil with good sunlight. Although it prefers cooler temperatures, it can be grown throughout the growing season with proper care. Harvesting can be done by picking outer leaves or cutting the entire head. Watch out for bolting in warmer weather, especially in certain varieties. Successive plantings ensure a continuous supply.

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Brassicas

This next group of veggies can truly handle the cold temperatures of late winter and early spring! Those crops are brassicas. These are some of the most nutrient-dense crops available, full of vitamins and minerals to support overall health. Whether you’re looking for an early spring treat or a hardy crop for winter gardening, here are our top brassica picks:

Cabbage:

Cabbage is a nutritious cool-season vegetable with dense, leafy heads. It comes in different varieties and has a mild, slightly peppery flavor. Rich in vitamins C and K, cabbage thrives in well-draining soil with full sunlight. Regular watering is beneficial, and the firm, solid heads can be harvested for winter dishes. With its long storage life, cabbage is a valuable addition to any kitchen.

Kale:

Kale is a nutrient-dense leafy green with a robust, slightly bitter flavor. It is rich in vitamins A, C, and K. This hardy vegetable thrives in cool weather and can withstand frost and cold soil. It can be used in various ways, such as salads, smoothies, and cooked dishes.

Kohlrabi:

Kohlrabi, a member of the cabbage family, has a bulbous stem and leaves. It offers a mild, sweet flavor and crisp texture, making it a unique addition to salads and slaws. Plant in well-draining soil with full sunlight, and harvest when the bulb is 2-3 inches in diameter for the best taste and texture.

Broccoli:

Broccoli is a cool-season vegetable with a compact green head of tightly packed florets. It has a mild sweet flavor and is rich in vitamins C and K. Plant it in well-draining soil with full sunlight, and water consistently. Harvest the central head when it’s the right size, and side shoots will keep producing smaller heads.

Cauliflower:

Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable known for its compact head of undeveloped flowers. It comes in different colors and has a mild, nutty flavor. Rich in vitamins C and K, cauliflower thrives in well-draining soil with full sunlight. It prefers cooler temperatures and consistent moisture. Blanching the head helps preserve its white color. Harvest when the head is fully developed but before it starts to separate.

Others Spring Garden Crops

Parsley:

Parsley is an herb with flat or curly leaves and a fresh, slightly peppery flavor. It is rich in vitamins A, C, and K and is commonly used as a garnish or in culinary dishes. Plant parsley in well-draining soil with partial to full sunlight. It’s a biennial plant often grown as an annual. Harvest leaves as needed, and regular pruning encourages bushier growth. Parsley is a cold-tolerant herb.

Leeks:

Leeks are allium vegetables with a mild, onion-like flavor. They have long, cylindrical stalks and are commonly used in soups and stews. Leeks are rich in vitamins A and K. Plant leeks in well-draining soil with full sunlight. Hill soil around the stems to encourage blanching and develop the white portion. Harvest when the stems are about 1-2 inches in diameter.

Celery:

Celery is a crunchy, green vegetable with long stalks and a mild, earthy flavor. It is rich in fiber and vitamins A, K, and C. Celery is commonly used in salads, soups, and as a snack. Plant celery in rich, soil with full sunlight. Keep the soil consistently moist. Blanching can be done by wrapping the stalks to reduce bitterness. Harvest outer stalks as needed, allowing the plant to continue producing.

Cilantro:

Cilantro, also called coriander, is an herb with citrusy, herbaceous leaves. It’s commonly used in Mexican and Asian cuisines. Plant cilantro in partially sunny soil, preferably in cooler temperatures to avoid bolting. Regularly harvest leaves and consider successive plantings for a continuous supply. The seeds, known as coriander, can also be harvested for cooking.

Peas:

Peas are cool-season legumes with sweet, crisp pods containing round peas. They come in various types, including snap peas and snow peas. Peas are rich in fiber, vitamins A and C.

Plant peas in well-draining soil with full sunlight. Provide support for climbing varieties. Harvest peas when the pods are well-filled but before they become tough. Peas are a great early spring crop.

Pansies:

Pansies are edible flowers with a delicate, slightly grassy flavor. They come in various colors and are often used to add a decorative touch to salads, desserts, and drinks. Plant pansies in well-draining soil with partial sunlight. They prefer cooler temperatures and can endure light frosts. Harvest the flowers as they bloom, ensuring they are free of pesticides.

Nasturtium:

Nasturtiums are versatile flowers that serve both as decorative additions and edible delights. With a peppery taste and vibrant colors, they are commonly used in salads, garnishes, and as natural pest repellents. These easy-to-grow plants thrive in well-draining soil and full sunlight, making them suitable for various soil conditions. Harvest their leaves and flowers as required for culinary purposes while enjoying their stunning blooms in your garden. Additionally, nasturtiums have the added benefit of attracting beneficial insects.

Conclusion

Okay! I hope you are as fired up as I am to get your spring garden started! I also hope this list of what to plant in your spring garden gets your mind working on how to create a garden that produces for you across multiple seasons!!!

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Happy Gardening and Remember It’s never the wrong time to Grow where you are!

WHAT TO PLANT IN YOUR SPRING GARDEN

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