Sunday, February 17, 2019

Spring edible garden

Early spring lettuce
Sunday, February 17, 2019

Spring is just around the corner.  Daffodils, hyacinths, and crocus are sticking their green heads up, ready to put on a dazzling spring display.  Garlic, overwintering onions, kale, lettuce, and carrots are putting on new leaves.  Perennial veggies like sorrel and dandelions are showing their greenery.  Spring is a time that cool loving veggies shine with lush growth and sweet taste.

 Crops fall into 2 categories-cold season crops and warm season crops.  Cold season crops are those that prefer when temperatures are cool.  When warm temperatures hit (80’s), the warm weather signals there time in the garden is done.  Cold crops “bolt” when it gets hot, which is simply sending up a flower stalk to make seeds and continue the cycle of life.  It is that bolting time of year.....

Now is a great time to start seeds for cold season crops indoors or outdoors.  It is optimal if starting seeds outdoors to provide some type of cover to help warm the temperature of the soil and give the seeds a jump start.  Otherwise, they take longer to sprout.  Planting under cover also protects them from hungry birds.  Indoor Seed Starting Calendar  Outdoor seed starting tips  Outdoor seed sowing seed starting times

I use mini greenhouses I purchased on Amazon that I can put my pots under.  I can remove when the weather gets more predictable.  It also gives me the flexibility to move the pots later on to cooler spots to extend the production of cool weather loving veggies.  

over-plant and over-seed my pots outdoors.  I thin the extra plants by carefully removing them and placing them either in another pot or in the garden bed when they need to be thinned or when the conditions are right to transplant into the garden. 

Big box stores and some nurseries are getting their seeds and bedding plants in now.  They may have plants out that may not be able to survive outdoors without some protection.  Read the label on the plant or look up on-line to see how many weeks before the last frost the variety can be planted without cover safely.

Here is a listing of cool loving crops that shine in the spring garden.

Cold crops and growing tips
Arugula, Corn salad, Sorrel Growing fabulous lettuce and greens
Broccoli and Cauliflower Broccoli and cauliflower growing tips
Brussels Sprouts, same family as broccoli and cauliflower  
Cultivated Dandelions  Grow Cultivated Dandelions
Mustard and Mustard Greens, same conditions as lettuce and greens 

Most Mediterranean herbs are perennials and can be planted in the spring garden.  You can plant oregano, thyme, lavender, sorrel, winter savory, chives, tarragon and sage once and have them year after year.  This is how I started edible gardening.  They are care free and super easy.  Plus, spices are expensive in the store so you get a huge return on investment.  Start a kitchen herb garden!

Herbs for Spring Planting
Lemon balm

Herbs that are frost sensitive are cumin, lemon balm, rosemary, stevia, turmeric, bay laurel and basil.  Wait until frost and freeze risk is over before planting outdoors.

Don't be afraid to interplant your veggies with your flowers.  Flowers not only look great, but they also attract pollinators, increasing your yields, and insects that take care of the dreaded veggie eating insects.  Many flowers are actually edible!  It is a win-win all the way around.  Flowers that are edible

For my spring herb garden, most herbs are already established.  For herbs, I will need to replant cilantro and dill.  

The veggies that overwintered are: sorrel, celery, parsley, lettuce, sprouting broccoli, carrots, Egyptian walking onions, garlic, arugula, chard, cultivated dandelions, kale, and lettuce.  I'll add spinach, peas, cabbage, and more lettuce for my spring veggie garden.

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