EARLY SPRING VEGETABLES
Normally by March, many gardeners are beginning to plan for the planting season.
Though technically it’s still Winter, there are a number of vegetables that can be started in March and can withstand an overnight light freeze or frost.
Onions are usually a favorite in many gardens and one of the most resilient vegetables when it comes to surviving any late Winter weather. Onion bulbs can be planted as soon as the soil has been prepared and in a “seedbed” state. When planting, I suggest placing the bulbs about 4″ apart, as they will need this room for expansion as they grow. Though they do well in cold weather, they thrive on the hot Summer days ahead and should be harvested no later than August 1st.
Potatoes are another garden favorite that can be planted early and withstand a light freeze or frost.They are best to be planted as cuts from “Seed Potatoes.” Seed Potatoes are potatoes that have been stored over the Winter specifically for the purpose of planting. It is at this time, that they are typically found to have reached the point of beginning to form “eyes,” or small voluntary shoots growing from the potato. Before planting, these potatoes should be cut into 2 -3 pieces, each piece having one or two “eyes.” It is these pieces, with the eyes, that are to be planted. I recommend planting the pieces about 12″-15″ apart. This will allow for ample growing room, as each piece planted should produce an average of 6-8 potatoes.
Broccoli and Cabbage are also early Spring favorites. Normally, these varieties are started from seed in greenhouses and offered in individual pots making their success rate of survival much higher. Gardeners refer to these as “sets.” Sets, as described above, are found at most garden centers and seed supply stores in early Spring. When planting these sets, I recommend spacing of 12″ – 18″ for the Broccoli and 18″ – 24″ for the Cabbage, as the plants will require this much area to reach full maturity.
Early vegetables that can be planted from seed are: Kale, Leaf Lettuce, Spinach, Radishes, and Peas. All are resilient to frost, however, I do suggest covering these particular varieties when a freeze is predicted, with the exception of Kale. Kale is exceptionally hearty and normally withstands freezing temperatures.
Once the freeze and frost season has passed, gardeners are usually quick to plant the rest of the garden to take advantage of a full growing season. Though it may be rare, there are times when an unexpected late frost or freeze can threaten the garden. Times like these require the additional effort of covering the small plants overnight for protection. It is important to remember that when covering the vulnerable plants, that the material used does not touch the plants if possible. This can make the process a little more challenging, however, using row covers make the task much easier and cuts the time spent in half.
The most practical and cost effective row covers on the market today are offered by Garden Commander garden products. These row covers also serve many other purposes, most importantly, protection from destructive wildlife, especially deer. Garden Commander products are offered online, and can be shipped anywhere in the U.S.A.
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