Itching to get in the garden? While it’s too soon for tomatoes and peppers, there are many vegetables that love chilly spring temperatures. Follow our planting guide to get ahead in the garden, and come summer, you’ll have an abundance of crops such as broccoli, onions and spinach.
Vegetable Garden Guide
Begin planting these vegetables in early spring, as soon as the soil can be worked.
- Planting & Spacing: Plant seeds 1/2” deep and approximately 1 1/2” apart.
- Harvesting: Spinach can reach heights of 12”, but it’s best to harvest earlier. Harvest full size spinach before it bolts (flowers) at the soil line, and clip small baby spinach leaves after 3-5 weeks. Snap off the outer leaves, or shear the entire plant 3-4” above the ground.
Tip: Perfect for vegetable seeds, making your own seed tape creates an evenly spaced, less messy and more affordable garden!
- Planting & Spacing: Plant seeds about 2 1/8” deep, and gently firm the soil around them. Keep soil moist to ensure even germination. Space green and red leaf lettuces 4-8” apart; Romaine 10-12” apart; Butterhead 8-10” apart. Space all rows 12-18” apart.
- Harvesting: Use the entire head or snap outer leaves of Butterhead lettuce when thinnings are large enough to eat. Harvest leaf lettuce the same way you would Butterhead, but at all stages of growth. Plant new lettuce every three weeks for a continuous supply.
Tip: When the central stem of a lettuce or spinach plant begins to elongate, it’s beginning to bolt, so pull and eat the entire plant.
- Planting & Spacing: If your garden has well-drained soil and full sun, you can grow onions from seed. Plant them in a 2” wide band, about 2 seeds to the inch; 1/2-1/4” deep with rows about 12” apart. Thin to 3-4” apart for larger onions and 4” apart for the sweet, mild varieties.
- Harvesting: Different varieties mature at different rates, anywhere from 90-120 days. When onions begin to develop skins and tops are falling over, pull and sun-cure at least a week before removing tops.*
*Tip: To sun-cure onions, let them sit in the sun for a day. After 24 hours, spread them out in a warm, well-ventilated area out of the sun. Cover with a light cotton sheet and hold it in place with stones along the edges. Turn the bulbs a couple of times so they dry evenly.
- Planting & Spacing: Plant seeds in well-drained soil, 1-1 1/2” apart in a 3” band approximately 30 seeds to a foot, 1/2-1” deep.
- Harvesting: Pick when peas enlarge in the pods. Most varieties are ready for harvest 40-60 days after planting.
Tip: Install a trellis or chicken wire for the vines to climb. Or, tie six 5” bamboo poles together at one end, then spread the untied ends apart and push into the ground to form a teepee. Plant pea seeds at the base of each pole and watch them climb!
- Planting & Spacing: Plant seeds 3/4-1” apart, 1/4-1/2” deep, in 16-24” wide rows in loose and sandy soil with good moisture-holding capacity. Water after planting and continue until seedlings emerge in 1-3 weeks. Cover carrot crowns with soil or mulch to prevent greening.
- Harvesting: Baby varieties can harvest in as little as 36 days, while larger varieties average 55 days. Pull one and check for a bright orange color before harvesting the full crop.
- Planting & Spacing: Broccoli (and cauliflower) can be grown from seed, but transplants are available at your local garden center in early spring, which eliminates the need for starting indoors in late February or March. Transfer seedlings to the garden on a cloudy day to protect them from transplant shock and sunburn, and keep soil evenly moist.
- Harvesting: 55-60 days after planting when buds are tight, begin with the large center head. In many varieties, small side shoots will surround the head, which can also be harvested and eaten prior to the flowers opening.
Tip: The heads of the broccoli are actually flower buds. Quality is best before yellow flowers begin to show in the buds.
- Planting & Spacing: Plant seedlings on a cloudy day, no deeper than the soil balls in which they are planted. Fertile soil and even moisture will produce the best yields.
- Harvesting: Harvest time averages around 80 days. Cut just below the smooth heads while they are still tight.
Tip: Cauliflower grows on short, cabbage-like plants that form large, flat central clusters of flower buds called curds.
- Planting & Spacing: Plant 2-3 varieties to prolong the harvest. Even soil moisture is the trick to growing large heads, along with regular fertilizing.
- Harvesting: Harvest time takes 65-95 days, depending on variety. Mature heads range from mini-cabbages that weigh 1 pound to Alaska-grown kraut varieties that weigh 60 pounds or more. Pull before hot weather, when the heads are full and solid.
Tip: Early varieties of cabbage will split if allowed to dry out then take up a lot of water from a spring storm. Sever some of the roots close to the stem to prevent rapid uptake of water.