With the winter bidding adieu, gardeners are all enthusiastic about starting with spring vegetables. It is important to start planting in time, to enjoy the complete harvest season.
Some of the popular early spring vegetables include broccoli, peas, lettuce, spinach, carrots, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and beets.
Peas are among the earliest to be planted. They can be planted as seeds even with snow on the ground. The best time would be almost eight weeks before the expected last frost. The seeds can be planted 2-4 inches apart.
The bush variety produces earlier than the vines but for a shorter period. Being legumes, they fix their own nitrogen so they need no fertilizer. Popular varieties include Wando, Burpeena Early, RSVPea, Oregon Sugar pod, etc.
Spinach grown from seeds produce leaves longer as they start flowering late. A little compost before planting spinach does it a lot of good if followed by a slow release compost or fertilizer a couple of weeks after planting.
The seeds need to go into the earth about 4-6 weeks before the last frost. Seeds need only a light layer of potting earth over them and should be kept moist till they germinate.
Lettuce is an easy vegetable to grow but needs soil with pH 6.5 or more. Head lettuce is more difficult to grow as compared to leaf lettuce. Leaf lettuce is planted as seeds almost 6 weeks before last frost.
Sprinkle seeds on a loose soil and cover lightly with potting soil. Keep seeds moist. Start harvesting as soon as there are enough leaves.
Remove the plant completely when leaves reach 4-6 inches. Head lettuce need to be planted indoors 6 weeks before last frost and then transferred to the bed as seedling about 9-12 inches apart. Popular varieties include Buttercrunch, Burpee Bibb, Vivian and Iceberg.
Beets need to go in 4 weeks before last frost. Beet greens can be used as salad and the beets need to come out when they are about 2” across in about 45 to 60 days.
Carrots are difficult to grow and seeds are the best option. They prefer sandy and light soil. Plant them about 4 weeks before last frost.