Saturday, February 20, 2016

What to plant now for an early spring garden

Egyptian walking onion in late winter

Now is a great time to sow seeds in the garden for early spring greens.  Greens like mustard, lettuce, spinach, chard, and corn salad to name just  a few thrive in cool spring days. Look for varieties that say “cold hardy”, “early winter”, “overwintering”, “winter-hardy”, “cold tolerant”, “bred for winter production” on the seed packet.  

Starting in mid-January, our daylight hours go above 10 hours a day.  This is nature's signal for seeds to start sprouting.  All you are waiting on for outdoor sowing is the temps to warm up!  Well, that time is here.  Start sowing these cold hardy crop seeds for the earliest spring garden salads!

To speed up germination, you can lay clear plastic on your garden bed to warm up the ground temperatures before you plant.

Here are some varieties that are good to sow right now in our Zone 7 garden.  There are many more than what I have listed.  It is a great time to be a gardener with all the new and revived varieties available today.

*Corn salad/Mache/Vit
*Claytonia
*Cultivated dandelion-Clio- and Catalogna-Italian varieties, Garnet Stem
*Sprouting broccoli (will come back in the spring, too)  Sprouting broccoli- a year round fav
*Kale (may survive all winter into spring).  Starbor
*Lettuce (can germinate at temps as low as 40 degrees F).  Winter density, Rouge d’Hiver, No Name Red Leaf, Arctic King, Continuity, Salad Bowl, Mottistone.   Everything you need to know about growing lettuce
Jerusalem artichoke tubers
*Mustard greens
*Mesclun mix
*Minutina
*Parsnips
*Winter greens mix

Austrian overwintering peas in late winter

For the earliest salads, plant overwintering varieties in late summer Time to plant for fall and winter harvests! and perennials anytime from spring through fall Perennial veggies in the Midwest garden

If this is your first time gardening, here are tips to get started  Easy kitchen garden

Happy spring gardening!

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