It’s time to start gardening with Spring crops! As the daylight extends a little more each day, and the soil temperatures gently begin to rise, its time to ease into garden season with a full array of spring crops that can be grown easily from seed.
Great tasting fresh crops like sugar snap peas, lettuce, kale and radishes grow beautifully in the cooler temperatures of Spring. Even better, some can go from seed to table in as little as three weeks!
Although you can plant spring seed crops in raised rows, containers or a traditional garden set-up, we like using our small raised beds. For starters, the soil warms a bit quicker in raised beds. In addition, the crops are easier to maintain and keep weed free. (See: Creating Simple, Inexpensive Raised Beds)
Before taking a look below at some of our favorites, there are a few keys to be aware of for early season planting success.
For starters, this is the one time you will want to leave the soil where you plant uncovered. Although we are big fans of mulching everywhere, seedlings in early spring need to have the soil warmed by the sun to germinate.
Once our seedlings germinate, we apply compost mulch to help keep weeds out. It also provides a little extra dose of nutrients when we water or it rains. We also like spreading out plantings of each variety a few weeks at a time. This keeps crops from maturing all at the same time, and allows for constant harvests all growing season.
Finally, learn the art of thinning! Seed your rows with more than you need to ensure good germination. Then, as the plants sprout, thin them out to give them room to grow. Allowing to many seeds in the rows only hurts the overall crop. It might be painful to rip healthy seeds from the soil, but it makes for better harvest down the road!
Now lets take a look at some of those great spring crops to grow!
Spring Crops That Rock
Lettuce – Spring is the perfect time to have a bounty of lettuce crops in all shapes, sizes and flavors! With its quick germination, many varieties of lettuce can be harvested multiple times. Lettuce grows best in rich, loose and fertile soil. Sow seeds directly into the soil about 1/4″ deep an inch apart. Favorites: Parris Island and Black Seeded Simpson. Seed Link : Spring Seed Mix Pack
Sugar Snap Peas – Our absolute favorite when it comes to spring crops! Whenever these delicious treats start to mature, we are lucky to have any that make it into the house. They taste so good, we usually just eat them right off the vines!
Sugar snap peas can be sown early. In fact, as soon as the soil can be worked, they can go in the ground. Plant seeds every inch about 1/2″ to 3/4″ deep, and thin to about 2″ apart. Sugar snap peas need support to perform best. A small trellis or wire fence will keep them off the ground nicely. Seed Link : Heirloom Sugar Snap
Kale is one of the healthiest crops you can grow, and thrives in cooler temperatures. In fact, it actually grows and develops better flavor during the cooler seasons of Spring and Fall. Kale can be sown about 4 weeks before your area’s last frost date. Seed Link : Italian Kale
Radish – Every year, it seems we find a new variety of radish to try. You can find varieties that range from sweet spicy. And some can be grown and picked in as little as 28 days! Plant 1/4 inch deep in loose, fertile, well-drained soil. Thin after seeds sprout to allow space to mature. Seed Link – Cherry Radish
Spinach – Fresh, home-grown, tender spinach should be one of the 7 Wonders of the World! Like kale, spinach is a power crop loaded with nutrients. Spinach seeds can be sown directly into the soil 2 weeks before your last frost date. Plant seeds 1/4″ to 1/2″ deep every few inches. Thin to 3″ between plants. Seed Link : Savoy Spinach
Spring (Green) Onions – Spring onions grown from seed are a great multi-purpose garden crop. You can harvest them earlier in the year if you like the tender, small bulbs found on relish plates. Or, leave them in the ground till fall to harvest a mid-sized onion bulb perfect for soups and roasts. Sow seeds a few weeks before your last frost date 1/4″ apart. Thin seedlings to about 3/4″ inch for harvesting green onions, and about 2″ apart for larger fall harvest bulbs. Seed Link : White Bunching Onion Seed
Happy Planting! – Jim & Mary. If you would like to receive our DIY, Gardening and Recipe articles each week, you can sign up to follow the blog via email in the right hand column above, “Like” us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter. This article may contain affiliate links.