Right about now it might feel like spring is never going to arrive. Don’t despair! Every year, the Earth unfailingly makes its journey around the sun to, eventually, bring our corner of the world, the longer, warmer days we’re dreaming of. In the meantime though, half the fun of spring is planning for it! And there’s no better way to plan for spring than to dream into what you’ll plant in your vegetable garden!
Early spring crops might be the sweetest by virtue of how keenly we’ve anticipated their arrival. Or, maybe we love them so much because they offer us the first chance to get our hands dirty! These spring favorites can all be sown directly into cold soil and will let you get the jump on gardening season!
LETTUCE is one of the easiest-to-grow spring veggies. Sure, you can buy starter plants, but it’s much more cost effective and satisfying to start your own lettuce from seed. There are a mind-boggling number of lettuce varieties to choose from, so have some fun and plant a collection of them. Direct sow seeds as early as 8 weeks before the last frost date. For a continual crop of lettuce, re-plant every two to four weeks until the true summer heat arrives. Once it gets hot, lettuce tends to bolt, so enjoy it early and then plant it again in the fall when temperatures drop.
KALE is a great early spring vegetable to plant. It does well in cooler temperatures and can be planted as soon as the soil is about 40 degrees. The best part? It only needs to grow for a month before you can start harvesting it.
PEAS Whether you choose to plant shell peas, sugar snap peas or snow peas they’re all best planted the moment the soil can be worked in the spring. Direct-sow them 4-6 weeks before the last frost date. (Our last frost date is right around Mother’s Day.)
RADISH grown in your own garden will outshine anything you could buy at a conventional grocery store. Spicy and crisp, these spring jewels love cool soil and are ready to eat within 3 to 5 weeks of planting.
CARROTS can be a little finicky, but will reward your care with a sweet spring crunch little else can measure up to. Sow carrots in well-worked soil 2 weeks before the last frost date. In the Berkshires, you can plant them every two or three weeks until mid-summer.
Watercolors by Laurie May Coyle, Member of the Board of Directors.